There’s a reason Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers and formally of the Chicago Bulls is chasing his 12th NBA title. Jackson has perfected the art of putting things in the minds of referees and opposing players which benefit his team.
Any time the Lakers or Bulls were to come up on the short end of fouls being called Jackson would start crying and he would make sure to do it publicly. I remember him crying when Michael Jordan went to the hoop late in the game and a foul wasn’t called.
Let Kobe Bryant not get the benefit of the doubt and trips to the free throw line down the stretch of a playoff game and you didn’t even have to guess what Jackson was going to be talking about in the post game news conference.
Although I applaud Reid for crying to the league office, I think crying publicly is much more effective.
He’s got to make sure every referee who works an Eagles down the stretch or in the playoffs, is predisposed to think about the penalties that haven’t been called because of hits to on Birds quarterback Michael Vick.
I know this will anger the referees, but it will also put the pressure on them to protect Vick as much as he protects every other quarterback. I think he has a great argument and he should make it loud and clear.
When Vick takes off and outruns a linebacker or fakes him out of his socks, NFL referees see a player with running back ability gaining valuable yardage on the opposing defense. They look on with admiration, but they also keep the penalty flags in their pants, when defensive players hit Vick late or near his head.
I’ve always felt that running quarterbacks are looked upon like they can take care of themselves to the referees don’t feel they need to protect them. I think Andy Reid and Vick are playing mental games with the referees in much the same way Phil Jackson of NBA fame has done over the years.
Again, taking a fine by going after the referees even harder would be wise on Reid’s part. He’s got to continue making a fuss about this because he needs to make sure that he becomes a story which the networks pick up on.
Penalties can easily make the difference in close games and you know how hard it is to stop Vick. If a team is hesitant to attack him because of worries about penalties, that will make him even harder to deal with.
If you can’t stop Vick, you can’t stop the Eagles. Teams like the Giants and the Bears who have an advantage upfront on their defense against our offensive line, must be kept off balance by the fear of getting a roughing penalty or two. They had no fear of that in the first game versus the Eagles, but Reid must make sure it’s in the back of their minds in the second game.
As for the quarterback himself, Vick needs to shut up and be the good guy. Reid should be the bad guy.
A roughing call here or there down the stretch and in the playoffs could be the difference between lifting up the Lombardi Trophy or spending another off season talking about what went wrong. Reid should pay the fine with a smile knowing that it could help him and the city of Philadelphia get this monkey off our backs.
If Reid isn’t sure how to pull this off, tell him to get on the phone with Jackson and he’ll spell it out for him.