In quenching a thirst for football knowledge, you often comb through various websites, finding different stories. Some are more interesting than others. Some of them stick with you and some of them don’t. One thing that seems to stick is that just about everything written concerning Michael Vick seems to be hyperbole.
Hyperbole in the sense that Vick seems to be viewed almost exclusively as historically great or historically bad. He is either supremely gifted and revolutionary, or he is overrated and lucky. There is just no way he can be both and really he can’t be deemed either one. At least not yet.
“Jim Mora (Sr.) had it right. Michael Vick is a coach killer. The Eagles made a mistake signing him long-term. I can tell you right now — he was a machine the first half of 2010, and then he … started turning the ball over. You cannot win a Super Bowl with a guy that is that inconsistent. They said he was hurt. I’m not sure they didn’t bench him after he started 3-8 going back to last year (counting Vick’s two season-ending losses a year ago). If I’m Andy Reid, I’m looking hard at Matt Flynn right now.”
It’s almost impossible to even know where to begin with this. I’ve written critical assessments of Vick , but have never said that Vick is a bad quarterback or a bad football player. Vince Young and Matt Flynn? Really?
So seeing that and being dumbfounded by the absurdity of it brought to mind articles from the past. Vick is just never rationally defined by the national media.
First was during Vick’s stretch of turnover-free football during the 2010 season. K.C. Joyner wrote that Vick was great, but lucky. He then proceeded to write about Vick’s having shown the worst decision-making ability of any quarterback in the league.
Then, on the other side of the coin is the fact that ESPN: the Magazine devoted an entire issue to Vick and his impact on football. They also included a capsule of each team’s V-Factor player, the V standing for Vick. He had led the team to a 10-6 season with a first-round playoff exit.
Then there was an article written by Trent Dilfer about how Vick had mastered the art of quarterbacking and rendered opposing defenses meaningless. This after one great game against Dallas, which followed a six-game stretch where he threw nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.
It also preceded a two-game stretch where he completed just 51.4 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and three interceptions. There is just no middle ground when it comes to covering Vick. As far as Vick’s revolution of the game, this year’s playoff quarterbacks told a different story.
That is the national media, but there is also the issue of the fans. If you do anything other than praise Vick, you are labeled a hater. If you love him, people will rail against you with stats and stories about his failings. It’s actually very similar to the way Tim Tebow is handled, except Vick is significantly more worthy of the debate.
Vick is a phenomenal athlete. He is also one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He is both overrated and underrated, but he can’t really be both. His story has not finished being written yet. He will end up being one or the other, though.
With a full offseason to prepare as a starter and learn from this past season’s mistakes, Vick should be in the running for an MVP season. If he plays to his potential and ranks alongside Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, the Eagles will be one of the NFL’s most dangerous teams.
Also, with a full offseason of Tebow sitting atop the lightning-rod perch, Vick will not be under as much pressure to do so. Vick was the hottest football topic for a full year, but as soon as Tebow took over as Denver’s starter, he took Vick’s place. If Vick can deliver a Super Bowl next year, he will take the throne right back.
Vick has fallen so far in some eyes that Flynn and Young are being viewed as his equals. This is nowhere close to the truth, and no matter what he does next year, Vick is far superior to those two players.
Vick is a made-for-TV player, with his dazzling mobility and electrifying arm, but he should benefit greatly from lowered expectations and significantly less attention. There will be no mention of the “Dream Team” next year, so Vick will get to prepare and play in peace.
If the Eagles do reach the promised land, it won’t be because Vick overtook Montana or Elway or Unitas or Marino as the greatest quarterback of all time, but because he got the most out of his ability and worked to improve on his weaknesses.
Before you judge Vick, give him the opportunity to show you exactly what he is. If he can cut down on the turnovers, he will prove that he is almost as great as his supporters feel he is.