Episode Fifteen: The QB Guru
Under the Hippocratic Oath, MDs follow three simple words -- do no harm. But Eagles offensive coordinator and long-time quarterbacks specialist, Marty Mornhinweg, puts his patients through as much pain as he possibly can to cure them. With rigorous drills and repetition as his medicine, supreme discipline, steadfast film study, and super-human conditioning are what he’s always prescribed to. And with a client roster that includes the likes of Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Brett Favre -- who he helped win a Super Bowl and league MVP -- Mornhinweg’s earned a reputation throughout the NFL as a sort of guru when it comes to the position.
His most recent project -- Michael Vick.
Once a four-year starter at the University of Montana, where he set 15 passing records as a quarterback himself, Mornhinweg has always had a very clear image of what an NFL signal-caller should be -- a dart-throwing, dead-eye, pocket passer, with the ability to make disciplined decisions under pressure. It should be noted that Mornhinweg graduated from Montana with a degree in health and physical education, so he’s not a doctor by any means. But at his core, he’s a man who cares, who seeks to challenge every player who crosses his path to always strive to be their best.
When Vick first came to him in 2009, the once-run-first player required complete reconstructive surgery of his game to change his habits. Vick was more than willing to do whatever Dr. Mornhinweg asked of him. No pain he could inflict on his new quarterback in training camp, practice or on the sidelines could ever compare to what Vick had already endured. So, when Kevin Kolb went down Week 1 of this season, with Mornhinweg by his side, Vick got his chance and led the NFC’s top-ranked offense to an NFC East title.
Even with everything Mornhinweg did to heal Vick, it wasn’t enough to get the Eagles past the Packers on Wild Card Weekend. However, it’s hard to find any harm done in the Eagles’ loss after such an incredible ride in 2010. And as “The NFL Season: A Biography presented by SAP” continues along its journey to Super Bowl XLV, we look back on a doctor-patient relationship that had the Eagles running better and revitalized the career of a fallen star.