Picture this. You're in your easy-chair, your body is draped from head-to-toe in black and gold and you have nacho cheese dripping off of your chin. That's when you hear it for the first time. You think your hammer, anvil and stirrup are trying to deceive you as these sounds vibrate off of your ear drums, "Now at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers...Michael Vick".
Discussion on the sports radio station, 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, included speculation being brought about that there may be Steeler interest in the infamous quarterback to don the black and gold as a back-up to Ben Roethlisberger.
The reason for the alarm surrounds concern over the health of Steeler backup quarterback, Bruce Gradkowski. Reports out of Pittsburgh say that Gradkowski has not thrown since the spring due to a sore shoulder. Gradkowski mentioned in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the injury was nothing serious and he may be back throwing in practice in a couple of weeks, but that he wasn't sure. The Steelers started training camp last week with the veteran QB on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
It seems that Bruce's return is definitely up-in-the-air and adding a veteran arm would definitely be a wise decision based on the lack of depth and experience remaining behind Rothlisberger at the quarterback position. The passers competing for a spot on the roster have a combined zero regular-season snaps.
Landry Jones is hoping to enter his third season holding a clipboard in Pittsburgh. A standout at Oklahoma, the fourth-round pick in 2013 has not thrived against third and fourth-string defenses in exhibition games and may not be long for the Steel City.
Tajh Boyd, a Jets sixth-round selection in 2014, is now auditioning for his third team already. Boyd had success in college, but his stats may have been inflated by throwing to the likes of Deandre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. Boyd has reportedly been throwing well in camp, but has had trouble handling the ball.
Tyler Murphy originally joined the team as a receiver, but the undrafted signal-caller from Boston College is a quarterback in camp and a long-shot to make the squad.
If the unthinkable were to happen to Ben Rothlisberger, would you really want any of these guys taking regular season snaps?
This leads us back to Gradkowski and Vick.
Maybe keeping Bruce out of practice is a way for both parties to just be cautious. But shoulder pain hinders a passer from throwing the ball with maximum efficacy and if this injury is more than Gradkowski is admitting, a Plan-B would be imperative.
The best available quarterback who is waiting by the phone is Michael Vick. We all know his story. From being the most talented and electrifying athlete in the game to the 21-month federal prison term he served for dog-fighting to the return to the league in 2009, Vick has had ups-and-downs of epic proportions. He is in no way the quarterback he once was and had a spotty 2014, however his best game came in a win over the Steelers last November and Vick still may have something to offer in a reserve role.
Would the Steelers want him? Would Steeler Nation welcome him?
In 2009, Mike Tomlin expressed interest in bringing his fellow Virginian into the Steeler fold. Tomlin hails from Hampton and Vick from Newport News. The Steeler coach has admitted that he has always had a soft spot for players from back home.
Would the Steelers want Vick? We know that Tomlin does, however the Rooneys nixed the talk of Vick that year and Vick went on to sign with the Eagles.
Vick in 2009 would have been a bad idea. Coming off of a Super Bowl win, Vick's inclusion would have been a major distraction to their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Vick was hell bent on starting and the competition would have been possibly counter-productive.
Six years later, the landscape has definitely changed. Rothlisberger is firmly entrenched as the starter and Vick's presence would not be threatening to him. Also, Vick has done a lot of things as penance for his crimes. Vick is trying to rebuild public perception of him by working with pro-animal groups to stop dog fighting. The 35 year-old Vick is selling himself as a changed man and having his experience may be a positive for an NFL team at this point.
So is Mike Vick an option? Should the Steelers think about bringing Vick in?
Steeler Nation may differ on the team taking on Vick. Some just want to win and would not care about his past. But a certain subset of Steeler fans have never forgotten about the dogfighting and would never welcome his presence.
The most pressing question is, would Vick help the Steelers win a 7th Lombardi trophy, or be just another dog-and-pony show (no pun intended...sort of)?