It was Christmas Eve 2006, and Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Jim Mora had seen enough. His Falcons had lost, at home, to the Carolina Panthers, 10-3.
His franchise player, Michael Vick, did pass the 1,000 yard rushing mark during the game, but there was nothing else noteworthy about his performance.
He had been unable to move the offense. With 3:40 left to play they got the ball back and Vick led them to the Panthers 34 yard line. On 4th and four he dropped back to pass, found a man, but didn’t elevate the pass, and it was slapped to the ground. They got the ball back with 14 seconds left and Vick promptly threw an interception. He finished the game 9-20 for 109 yards and two interceptions and Mora, whose job was on the line, had seen enough of his “star” quarterback.
He gathered his staff in his office and shut the door. “I think we have to do something about Vick,” he said tossing a ball in the air.
“Do you want to bench him?’ asked Quarterback coach Bill Musgrave.
Mora shook his head. “No, if we do that we are just going to create a quarterback controversy, I was thinking of something more drastic.”
“You can’t mean cutting him?” asked offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
“I was thinking something a little more permanent,” Mora said. “What do you think about killing him?”
The two other coaches looked at each other stunned. “You can’t mean it Jim?” Knapp said. “You can’t kill a man over a football game.”
“Why not?” Mora asked putting down the football, leaning forward, and crossing his hands. “We own him, we have a contract saying it. He’s our property and we can do whatever we want with him.”
Musgrave rubbed his chin. “It’s crazy Jim, but it just might be brilliant too.”
“How do we do it?” Knapp asked.
“He’s in the hot tub now,” Mora whispered. “Maybe Bill could sneak in, grab a hold of his feet and hold them until he drowns.”
“All right,” Musgrave said. “But remember, we’re all in this together.” The other men agreed.
Mora and Knapp waited in the office, then they heard a splash, and could hear Musgrave yelling and grunting, and then heard a huge splash, and the sound of wet feet on the floor. Musgrave entered the office and tried shutting the door but Vick was right behind him. “What the hell you trying to do, kill me?” he screamed.
“Relax Michael,” Mora said. “We were just testing your reflexes, it’s an ancient Chinese method of gauging strength and agility and you passed.”
“Danm fool was trying to kill me!” Vick said.
“Ridiculous,” Mora said. “You’re our entire franchise Michael, we’ve known you since you were a little rookie pup, you think we would be so heartless that we would kill you after one bad outing?”
“I suppose not,” Vick said. “But no more of these Chinese tests, just keep your hands to yourselves before my agent brings you all up on charges.”
Vick stormed out of the office. “He’s stronger than he looks,” Musgrave said. “He almost kicked my teeth out. Well, at least that’s over with.”
“Nothings over,” Mora said. “Enjoy the holidays men, I’ll see you the 26th.”
After practice on the 26th the coach hatched another plan. They would get Vick alone in the Mora’s office, lift him over their heads, and slam him to the ground.
“Isn’t that kind of what happens to him every game?’ Musgrave asked.
“Yeah, but never by three middle aged men,” Mora said.
Mora called Vick into his office to say he wanted to apologize again about the near drowning incident when Knapp grabbed him around the waist and Musgrave tried to get a hold of his feet and lift him. Vick kicked Musgrave in the face knocking out three teeth and then slammed Knapp against a wall causing him to slump down and turned with a cocked fist to Mora.
‘Excellent Michael,” Mora said as his two coaches lay lifeless on the floor. “This kind of intensity, this fighting for your life, this is what you need to bring to the field. You fight like this every Sunday next year no one will be able to deny you an MVP award.”
“You people keep your paws off me!” Vick said and stormed from the room.
Musgrave gathered his teeth from the floor. “This is only a set back,” Mora said.
“Forget it Jim, I’m out,” Musgrave said. “And I am pretty sure that I heard Greg’s spine snap so I ’m going to take him to the emergency room.”
“Fine,” Mora said. “You want something done, you get it done yourself.” He then sat behind his desk as Musgrave struggled to carry Knapp out of the office.
The next day, after practice, Mora told Vick he needed to speak with him. He apologized for his assistants’ actions, and said they would both be fired. Then they spent the next two hours drawing up plays for an offense that would feature the quarterback’s skills.
By the time they were done the locker room was cleared out. “Why don’t you grab a shower,” Mora said.
Vick left the office, stripped, and grabbed his shower essentials. Mora watched him, then reached into his bottom drawer and pulled out an electrical cord. He then went to the quarterback’s locker and took the huge boom box that had annoyed Mora all year. He plugged in the extension cord, and slowly crept to the shower. When he got near he plugged in the boom box and The Baha Men began to play.
“What’cha doing with my music?” a naked, lathered Vick said as Mora appeared at the shower opening.
Mora smiled. “I can’t tolerate losers Mike, nothing personal, but if you don’t win, I’m not wasting my time training you, feeding you, or providing for you.”
“Wait!” a panicked Vick said. “How about keeping me around for breeding purposes. I’m a great specimen. I could give you hundreds of winners.”
“Losers don’t breed winners Michael, sorry.”
“But wait I got a rape stick at home…” and then he screamed. Mora had tossed the radio in, electrocuting the star quarterback.
As he lay dead in the shower Mora placed a call to Musgrave who returned. They wrapped Vick in towels and put him in the trunk of Mora’s car.
They drove to Mora’s house and dug a hole in the back yard. There was another skeleton already there.
“Who is that?” Musgrave asked.
“Bobby Herbert,” Mora said. “Now keep digging, and remember, we did nothing wrong, he was just a piece of property that didn’t work, like a vacuum cleaner, he’s wasn’t anything useful, like a dog.”
A sweating Musgrave nodded in agreement.