The Perfect Weapon – Michael Vick
As teams around the league are asked of their interest level in soon to be released quarterback and inmate Michael Vick, most teams show definite separation from the subject. Many organizations were quoted as saying that the acquisition of Michael Vick is “highly doubtful” and that they are “not interested.” But why? Sure his image was ruined, boycotted, and defaced, but his athletic ability was unquestionable.
The obvious reason for turning the cheek on Michael Vick is his current prison sentence and the bad name associated with him. With the Vick name comes boycott; PETA comes to mind. So why is this a major problem? The NFL is nevertheless a business and will always be treated as so. If you don’t make the fans happy and make them want to buy apparel, attend games, and cheer on their team, you will ultimately land unsuccessful. Can his image be repaired? If you remember prior to the dog fighting scandal, Michael Vick was a household name, icon, and jersey seller. He was seen in Nike and Powerade commercials showcasing his iconic and athletic “super image.” Michael Vick jerseys were once a hot commodity among Falcon fans, NFL fans, and street walkers. The Michael Vick jersey was worn as a sense of fact in some areas. Who says a repaired image cannot return such glory to the Vick name? When Michael Vick played football, he simply put fans in seats and eyes on television sets. What more could you ask for as an owner?
One thing you could ask for in a player is talent. Michael Vick’s prior marketability did not come without talent. With his blazing speed and first-class agility, Vick ran the ball like a tailback. In his last season prior to suspension, Michael Vick rushed for over one thousand yards as a quarterback on only one hundred three carries. In case your math stayed in your SAT study guide, Vick averaged a little under eight and a half yards per carry: double the yardage that a good running back averages. So why did he not play running back? Other than the fact he may be slightly undersized, he had an arm too.
Michael Vick was known for his rocket arm. Vick’s arm is described as having the ability to effortlessly flick the ball sixty yards downfield without the use of legwork. Name me a running back in the NFL that can throw the ball sixty yards to begin with. Although his completion percentages were low, Vick seemed to have decent passing numbers with his no name, finger-less receivers. Vick always threw more touchdowns than interceptions, and already threw for twenty touchdowns the same year he rushed for one thousand yards. From what it seemed, Michael Vick possessed all the talent to make him the most lethal weapon of all time, but he seemed to have a tragic flaw. Vick lacked the decision-making skills. So what could you do with a player like this?
Although I do believe Michael Vick could start as the quarterback for many teams, he could provide the x-factor in today’s new style of play: the “Wildcat.” What kind of player would you want as the signal caller in the Wildcat formation? Ideally, you would like someone who is fast and nimble for the ability to run, but can also pass the ball in the option. Eerily enough, Michael Vick seems to fit the description perfectly. Ronnie Brown ran the “Wildcat” offense effectively in the 2008 season, enough to earn him a bid to the pro bowl. If Ronnie Brown is considered fast, what do you consider Vick’s speed who ran the forty yard dash in a reportedly faster time than Brown? In any case, Vick’s speed indicated enough presence as a runner. But what makes the “Wildcat” so dangerous? The option to throw the ball puts a stop on over pursue from the defenders. You cannot overload the run when a receiver is open down field. However, is Ronnie Brown that big of a threat by the air? Although I cannot specifically comment on Brown’s throwing ability, Vick’s former position as a quarterback certain warrants sustain in his case as a good passer. So with the two extraordinary abilities of Michael Vick mashed into the “Wildcat” formation, you have a defensive nightmare.
Along with preparing a regular defensive scheme for the regular offense, you must continue with the scary idea of having a physical “freak” running the “Wildcat.” Although some teams may be better off with Michael Vick as their starting quarterback, almost all teams could easily implement a “Wildcat” package featuring the skills of Vick. Although Vick may carry a media circus with him to wherever he goes, his value in the new “Wildcat” sub package scheme spreading throughout the NFL is undeniable.
However, there are some possible problems. Vick carries with him an “untrade-friendly” high contract and bad name baggage. Ideally, a team would like to pick up Vick by free-agency if released to a low contract. But what about the hippies carrying the anti-Vick signs outside the practice field that would soon follow? Although Vick will forever be known as the dog fighter that was thrown in jail, he could try to help salvage his image by actions following his release. If he is able to rid his bad image, you nevertheless have to continue with his mentality. It might already run in the family: do you ingemination the Marcus Vick (Michael’s younger brother) incidences? Off the field, Marcus Vick was involved in two criminal convictions in 2004 alone. During the 2005 season he played at Virginia Tech, Marcus Vick was highly criticized for displaying the middle finger to a crowd and deliberately stomping the leg of an opponent. After being dismissed from Virginia Tech due to “a cumulative effect of legal infractions and unsportsmanlike play” (Hokie Sports), Vick had a fleeting stint with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent. After the non-existent career of Marcus Vick in the NFL, he continued to spiral down a path of legal trouble including brandishing firearms, molestation of a minor, countless speeding tickets, and a DUI. Do the brothers proportion a mentality? Perhaps they have similar characteristics, but for the assistance of the doubt, each person has his or her own independent identity. However, Vick does have his own line of some legal troubles including two incidents involving Marijuana. Two men were arrested in Virginia for distributing Marijuana with a truck that was registered to Michael Vick. A more interesting story however was the water-bottle compartment scandal. In the security check of an airport, Michael Vick’s water bottle was taken from him by airport security that had a secret compartment in it. Originally, security reported that there was marijuana-like substance inside the compartment, but it was later cleared after tests revealed that there were no illegal substances inside the water bottle. Vick claimed that the bottle was used to keep up jewelry. What kind of jewelry did Vick own, jewelry that resembles marijuana? Although these seem to be minor character flaws, Vick was also fined $10,000 and ordered to donate $10,000 to charity for giving the middle finger to an unimpressed, booing Atlanta Falcon crowd after losing a game at the Georgia Dome. What’s with the Vicks and their middle fingers? Altogether, the Vick family does not seem to mesh too well with authority.
Is Vick worth the risk? Is he worth the baggage, the boycott, and the media circus? I do not think the high-profile Cowboys could provide to take a stab at Vick with the current media circus surrounding them, but many under-the-radar teams could spice up their image with some Vick on their list. Although the Dolphins liked to run the “Wildcat,” I do not see Parcells having any of that. The Vikings however seem to be an interesting match. Adrian Peterson has recently garnered the confront of the franchise, and I do not think Vick could deter the new Viking image. In any case, many see Tarvaris Jackson as a “poor man’s” Michael Vick, so why not just get the real deal? Wherever Michael Vick could fit, I do not see him having anymore behavioral problems, at the minimum not after what he went by with the dog-fighting scandal. However, I was wrong about the Cowboy experiment with Adam Jones, he ended up being released after only one season in which he was suspended. But to Adam Jones’ defense, the bodyguard argument was very minor and the incident that removed Adam Jones from the Cowboys happened prior to his signing with Dallas. Your history does come back to bite you in the behind. What it comes down to, if your team hides in the shadows of the media identify-light, you have some quarterback inconsistency, and you want to add another size to spice up your offense, Vick might be right for you.