With Michael Vick’s retirement party taking place Saturday night, and his former team playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday, I figured this would be the perfect time to revisit his six-year career with the Atlanta Falcons.
Drafted No. 1 overall out of Virginia Tech in the 2001 NFL Draft, Vick didn’t quite make an immediate impact under center with the Falcons in ’01. Starting just two games as a rookie, Vick went 1-1 and appeared in eight games total that season.
The following year, as a second-year QB, Vick broke onto the scene in his 15 regular season starts. Going 8-6-1 that year, he tossed for over 2,900 yards, 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions, while also accumulating 777 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. The 2002 season was when the entire league got introduced to Vick, one of the greatest running threats to ever play the QB position.
Over his six seasons with the team, Vick completed just 53.8% of his pass attempts and never once threw for more than 3,000 yards or 20 touchdowns in any one season (he did manage 20 TDs in ’06, but never more than 20). But in six seasons, Vick tallied 3,859 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. He stole the show as the ultimate play-maker and made highlight reel run after highlight reel run.
Unfortunately, he never got the Falcons past the NFC Championship and into the Super Bowl. Which is what Matt Ryan finally did for the city of Atlanta this season.
Due to his off-field issues with the dog-fighting scandal, his Falcons career was cut short and though he did make a return once his prison term had been served, he wasn’t on the field during the prime of his career. He’ll never reach the Hall of Fame, but if he had stayed out of trouble off the field who knows what he could have done.
Perhaps a Super Bowl championship this weekend would give the city of Atlanta much-needed closure on the rough end to the Vick-era?
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