TIME OUT! Here's to Michael Vick
November 17, 2010
I'm a sucker for a good comeback story.
There is no better in recent memory than Michael Vick. After spending 23 months in federal prison for financing a dog fighting ring, Vick was released in the summer of 2009 and signed to a - in his experience - small contract by the Philadelphia Eagles. At first, PETA and animal lovers boycotted the Eagles, had signs all around the city condemning Vick, and pretty much made his life miserable. Now, while I by no means condone what he did, I realize that he was certainly - and perhaps somewhat unfairly - made an example of. And apparently to some, serving two years at Leavenworth, losing all of your money, the respect the world had for you isn't enough - he must suffer forever! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that what he did wasn't horrible, but I think he served his time, and he deserves this second chance. After all, it's not like he was involved in a double-murder, pled his way out, paid off the victims' Families, and is now the hero of the Baltimore Ravens. Just trying to put it in perspective.
Quick Vick/Eagles recap: this offseason, the Eagles traded away starting quarterback Donovan McNabb, and anointed Kevin Kolb heir apparent. Oh, but in the first game of the season Kolb suffered a concussion and Vick came in and blew everyone away. A few hiccups along the way, including a rib injury that kept him out for three games, but in his four full games and two half games this season, he played better than he ever had in Atlanta. I was one of his biggest critics while he played for the Falcons - I thought he was overrated, arrogant and, frankly, not a very good quarterback. A great athlete, yes, but not a good quarterback.
But fast forward to 2009-2010. I felt throughout his trial and subsequent time in prison that Vick was made a martyr, and to me that is just not right. I cheered for him to come out of prison, to sign with an NFL team and to make an impact on the field and in the community. In 2009 he didn't get much playing time - he was 6-13 for 86 yards, and one passing touchdown, and rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns. But it seems like 2009 was more a year for Vick to find himself - he volunteered his time to the Human Society discussing dog-fighting, his past and the ways he is working to give back to the community. It was Vick's chance to show everyone that he repented for his crime, and that he was working toward our forgiveness.
I, for one, forgave him long ago. Everyone deserves a second chance, and Michael Vick served his time and has worked his butt off the past two years to earn that chance.
On the Nov. 15 night game against the Redskins, Vick was at his best - actually, the best of anyone in the NFL in 2010: 20-of-28 for 333 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. For good measure, he ran eight times for 80 yards and two more touchdowns. In the first half he was 14-of-18 for 264 yards and three touchdowns and had a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Want more' He opened the game with an 88-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson - on the very first play of the game.
Vick became the first player in NFL history with at least 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game. He hasn't thrown an interception or lost a fumble this season.
Vick was out of this world Nov. 15. What he is able to do from the quarterback position this season is nothing we've ever seen before. Sure, Steve Young had great legs, and McNabb did too. But no one has ever been as all-around athletically gifted at the quarterback position. During his years in Atlanta, Vick always counted on his legs, but it was his arm that let him down. This season, he's finally been able to put the two together and its nothing less than jaw-dropping to watch.
He is, bar none, the most dynamic player in the league right now, and it's paying off for his team - the Eagles are 4-0 when Vick starts and finishes the game.
I, for one, am hoping he continues to play like this, and that he continues to be an example of overcoming bad decisions and paying for your crimes.