Ever since seeing Vick outrun an outrunnable Florida State team in the 1999 Sugar Bowl, it has been mind-blowing to see him increase in performance. With Vick’s recent game versus the New York Giants, where Vick employed the ideal combination of his running and throwing abilities according to what was required in the game, we were finally able to see him become his ultimate potential.
No matter the quarterback, there are those games when the other team is attacking exceptionally well with its pass rush, hitting and pressuring the quarterback. During those games it doesn’t matter if Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Warren Moon, or Randall Cunningham is the quarterback. The perfect example of this scenario was the miracle Super Bowl victory in 2008 by the New York Giants over the New England Patriots. The Giants sacked Brady five times that game, and made a habit of making sure Brady was on his backside at the end of as many plays as possible.
This year’s Giants are not so different from that 2008 team and they came to inflict the same type of punishment on “The New Michael Vick.” The strategy worked for 2-3 quarters of this game versus the Eagles and Vick, but then Vick pulled out his not so secret weapon. I haven’t seen many running backs that can run the ball like Michael Vick, much less any quarterbacks. In this game Vick used his legs in ideal fashion to defeat the attacking Giants defense and put his team in position to win. That particular performance seemed to be a sign of Vick becoming his ultimate potential.
In the past Vick may have completely abandoned either his throwing, or running ability, in order to appease whomever was chirping in his ear about how they feel his talent should be used or modified – Vick had many of the wrong people chirping in his ear in previous years, and it’s good to see the relief on his face now that those people aren’t tying down his sail and making it into a tent.
Michael Vick is his own eagle now. He’s taken immense instruction from staring at the prison wall; staring in the mirror; talking to Tony Dungy, and emulating the work habits of Donovan McNabb. Through all of that, Vick is becoming his potential. That’s always a good thing to see with people.
Vick could always throw the ball, but the problem was that he just threw the ball. There is a difference between a peddler and a professional, and there is the same difference between a quarterback who studies his craft versus one who doesn’t. Vick studies now. You can tell that he is vested in his craft. He is not just throwing the ball anymore, but instead placing the ball in the best places with victory in mind; sometimes that means chucking the ball out of bounds, but rarely does it mean just throwin’ the ball. But like no other, ever, Michael Vick can also take the ball, tuck it under his arm, and take off like some combination of a sprinter and a ballerina.
While Vick begins to master the vision of “Fran Tarkenton as the Bionic Man”,
Brady is only a state away in New England performing a new century version of Joe Montana. Today’s players are more technically gifted than the players of yesterday due to the study, training, and equipment that continually develops along with them. While Joe Montana bounced naturally in the pocket behind his lineman, Brady bounces with a trained confidence, as if having done some basketball cross training. But at the end of the day, the silky smooth placement of the ball in spots around the field is a gift of both Montana and Brady. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
But when some big dude like Julius Peppers comes truckin’ around the corner, staring at my MVP’s spine with malicious intent, I would much prefer my MVP to say, “Beep! Beep!” and take off on a 65-yard touchdown run, making me spill my popcorn and slap five with everybody in the room.
Child Please. Michael Vick for MVP.