If Michael Vick’s career as a professional football player could be compared to anything in the world, it has to be a merry-go-round.
No mater what the situation or debate is, whether on or off the field, all one has to do is hop on the ride and go around, and around, and around.
No other player gets as much attention on highlight films than Vick. And since his position is quarterback, he has a chance to do something magical every time he gets the ball.Blessed with a cannon like John Elway and running moves like Barry Sanders, Vick gives the Falcons a weapon only the United States military force can match.
In 2002, Vick became the Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback in just his second year in the league. He took the Falcons on an improbable playoff run, which eventually made history for the franchise.
In a late November match up in Minnesota, Vick and the Falcons faced overtime when the Vikings tied the game late in the fourth quarter. After a punt by Minnesota, Atlanta took over on its own 46-yard line. On just the second offensive play for the Falcons, Vick took the snap, swept to his left and saw a sliver of opening between the Vikings defenders.
It was all he needed.
Vick raced off and left defenders tackling air. He slid between two diving Viking defenders who could only knock each other down and took off 15 more yards into the end zone for a score. He set the NFL record for rushing by a quarterback in a single game with his 173-yard, 10-carry performance. Vick accounted for 346 of Atlanta’s 379-yards and the victory gave the Falcons eight straight wins.
On the last day of the ’02 regular season, the Falcons snuck into the playoffs as the final seed in the NFC. Their first match up was with the heavily favored Green Bay Packers at historic Lambeau Field. The Falcons crushed the Packers 27-7 and handed Green Bay their first playoff defeat at Lambeau Field in the history of their franchise. Although the Falcons were knocked out of the playoffs the very next week, Vick made his first Pro Bowl and set the league on fire with his style of quarterbacking.
The following year, however, was a disaster for Vick. In a meaningless preseason playoff game against the Ravens, Vick broke his fibula when he was tackled from behind and his cleat got stuck in the newly redone Georgia Dome turf. Vick was only supposed to miss six weeks, but he never fully healed until four games left in the regular season. By that time, the Falcons were long out of the playoff hunt.
The injury led to the first of many criticisms of Vick. He runs too much. He’s not a prototypical quarterback. He’ll never make it in the NFL with his style of play. He’s a glorified running back in the roll of a quarterback.
While the criticism rolled in, there were still many people who knew what they saw out of Vick in ‘02. He shouldn’t be graded like a typical quarterback. Look at his win percentage. He doesn’t have enough wide receivers.
Around, and around, and around the debates go.
By ‘04, Vick was primed to end the controversy once and for all. He didn’t, however, and even though he and Warrick Dunn gave the Falcons the number one rushing offense in the NFL, his passing numbers were less than average. The Falcons made it all the way to the NFC Championship game and Vick headed back to the Pro Bowl, but skepticism still remained if the former No. 1 selection out of Virginia Tech would ever lead a franchise to a Super Bowl.
His ’05 numbers improved some, but that’s because he was forced to stay in the pocket due to more injuries. Even though he headed back to the Pro Bowl for the third time in his career, Vick has still never played a full 16-game schedule, injury free.
In ’06 he set an NFL mark for rushing yards by a quarterback, gaining 1,039 yards and chasing the Bears’ Bobby Douglas out of the record books. Yet Atlanta suffered another non-playoff year and Vick openly didn’t defend his coaches. This led to more criticisms that he’s not a natural leader and that he threw his coaches under the bus.
In January of ’07, he was also involved in a Miami airport security incident in which he had a trick water bottle with a secret compartment built in. Security claimed that the bottle smelled of marijuana and even had a dark residue on the bottom. Vick was exonerated of any wrong doing, but the incident nevertheless gives his doubters more ammo. He was also involved in a suit where a young woman claimed Vick gave her an STD and used the alias “Ron Mexico” to buy medication.
In even more damming news for Vick and his off field issues, in March a home he owned in Surry County, Virginia was raided after one of his cousin’s was arrested for illegal contraband and weapons. At the home, investigators found up 70 malnourished – and some physically abused – dogs, which begged question of if illegal dog fighting was being conducted on the grounds.
Since then, Vick was indicted on multipe charges of animal abuse and illegal gambling. His future in the NFL is now in doubt due to his prison sentence and possible suspension.
It turns out his million dollar talent was led by a ten cent head.
Atlanta Falcons Official Player Bio: Michael Vick
The official website of the Atlanta Falcons provides in-depth career notes, stats and a small personal section on their star quarterback.
The official website of Michael Vick brings you game photos, a multimedia gallery as well as a message board forum for fans and the latest Vick news.
NFL.com: Michael Vick
Small bio on Vick, but the true value of this site from NFL.com is the amount of stats they provide on M7.
Latest on Vick
Vick will be allowed to keep his roster bonus money of $20 million. The Falcons were in the process of trying to recoup that money, but U.S. District Judge David Doty of Minneapolis ruled on February 4 that recovery of the bonus money by the Falcons would violate the NFL collective bargaining agreement.
News and Commentary
The rise and fall of Michael Vick
Excellent article written by AJC columnist Steve Hummer about the rise and fall of Michael Vick's career.
Vick to plead guilty, faces prison time
In August of 2007, Michael Vick plead guilty in charges of dog fighting and illegal gambling.
Prosecutors detail dogfights at Vick's property
Federal prosecutors provide grusome details of dog fighting on one of Michael Vick's properties.
In game of life, Vick blitzed by trouble
Things of certainly been rocky for Michael Vick. Alan Judd details all of his troubles in this article by the AJC.
A quarterback in trouble
SI.com's Don Banks dives deeper into Vick's troubled 2007 offseason.
Interesting article from the news tribune.com on how the Falcons QB cannot be measured in traditional ways since his winning percentage is up around .660, but his passing stats are dreadful.
Vick breaks fibula, expected to miss at least six weeks
In a ’03 preseason match up with the Baltimore Ravens, Vick breaks his fibula and the hearts of Falcons fans as the season eventually ends in a dreadful thud for Atlanta.
No passing fancy
Should we care that Falcons QB Michael Vick isn’t a pocket passer? That question is raised and discussed by Robert Weintraub of the Slate.com.
Vick, Falcons make history with 27-7 upset of Packers
In one of Vick’s greatest and most accomplished games, he led the Falcons into a cold and snowy Lambeau Field to something no other team had ever done before: beat the Green Bay Packers at home in the playoffs.
SI.com columnist Michael Sliver reports that even at practice Michael Vick makes jaws drop.
Ron Mexico Says
On malnourished dogs being found on his property:
"I'm never there."
On his participation in dog fighting:
"I hope that every young kid out there who's watching this interview right now or who's been following the case can use me as an example to use some better judgment and make better decisions."
On being criticized:
“It's good to have critics because that's what motivates you and helps you take your game to another level, ... They talked about Michael Jordan and said he didn't have a jump shot. They say the same thing about me — I can't throw the football and all that. Say whatever you want about me. It makes me strive harder.”
On being a pocket passer:
"I don't care about being a pocket passer. I don't care what people say about me. I'm trying to be Michael Vick, the quarterback that God made me to be, and that's it."
On his talents:
"I don’t think the NFL has ever seen the likes of me, a quarterback who moves the way I do and throws the way I do. I’m not saying that with arrogance or anything. That is just how I feel."