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A Tdwii Observation: For Vick & The Falcons, The Relationship Comes Full Circle


TheDirtyWordII
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What one has to realize as it relates to the 2012 Atlanta Falcons is that the team itself has moved on from Michael Vick. This process occurred a long time ago in terms of NFL years. In a league where each game means so much, , the Falcons have played 87 regular season games since Michael Vick last suited up for the them. But in Atlanta, the fanbase – the city, his legacy can still be felt.

In 2010, when Michael Vick re-emerged as a dynamic playmaking force…even as the Falcons were on their way to a 13-3 season, the dread of a revitalized Vick and the Eagles ending what was thought to be a dream season was palpable. As it turned out, we were worried about the wrong QB. Aaron Rodgers turned out to be the 2010 seasons boogeyman. But nevertheless, at the time, many thought that Vick had finally ascended to the level of elite QB many of us all thought he could be. 2010 proved to be the high water mark in Vick’s career. Yesterday, might well have been the low water point…well, aside from you know what.

But what happened yesterday was telling and not altogether unfamiliar. While the Philadelphia defense was being torn to bits by a precise, methodical yet explosive offense…the feared offense that many thought the Eagles to be was nowhere to be found. And at the helm was a QB so pre-occupied with not turning the ball over that he failed to mount much of anything that resembled offensive aggressiveness. Sure, for the second game this season – Vick didn’t commit a turnover. He didn’t commit much of anything. Harkening back to the 2006 season, Vick’s last in Atlanta – his last 9 games produced the following stat line…

50.4% Completion Rate

5.95 YPA

10/8 TD:INT ratio

2-6 record

While no one in their right mind thought Vick was playing his last game in a Falcon uniform at the time, what was clear back then, and what seems clear now is that Vick’s time as a viable starting QB had run its course. He’d been figured out so to speak.

His career renaissance though was inspiring. And it provided hope that his handling of adversity off the field had translated to his ability to produce prolifically on the field. But yesterday, any glimmer of hope that Vick was, or could be the answer for the Philadelphia Eagles flew out the window. And the team to deliver the final body blow? The one he delivered several to with his misdeeds.

As a fan…I, and I think most of Atlanta has forgiven Michael Vick for what transpired some 5+ years ago. What with the Falcons being able to replace Vick with Matt Ryan in such an expedient fashion, not only was the long term damage to the franchise minimized – many of us now see the events of 2007 as somewhat of a blessing in disguise. But it was the irony of this Sunday that was impossible to ignore. A team that hitched its wagon to the once bright star that used to be Michael Vick being exposed by the team that learned that hard lesson a long time ago. While Vick’s legacy in Philadelphia won’t wind up nearly as tainted as the one he left in Atlanta, the chapter of Vick’s book that said he could be a viable starting QB for a viable NFL contender for the most part evaporated yesterday. Vick realizes it himself. His press conference was of the resigned variety. While not as theatrical as the ones provided by Cam Newton, another wondrously gifted QB who is struggling to deal with the adjustments the NFL can make to physical talent, Vick has no answers.

No doubt, one of the other 30 NFL franchises will see fit to buy into Michael Vick once more. Perhaps a franchise also on the way down with an unsettled QB situation that won’t have access to a Top 5 pick (can you say J-E-T-S?). For Falcons fans though, whatever remaining questions of ‘what if’ were finally answered and put to bed once and for all. Emphatically. And to be quite frank, it felt good to be the team that put the exclamation point on the answer.

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You're only as good as your last game ... so to speak. IF Vick gets to play this coming Sunday, he'll face one of the worst defenses in the league and it could give him a much needed confidence boost.

Doesn't matter...Vick is capable of playing well in specific situations. But in terms of being the bedrock by which a contending team builds off of, his days of being counted on as this are over.

Also, if I'm Andy Reid and contemplating a QB switch, why not build Nick Foles confidence against the worst defense the NFL has seen perhaps ever, rather than the guy who you know everything you need to know about.

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Your analysis was as eloquent as it was right on the mark. Vick's departure did indeed set the stage for the most positive and enjoyable five years of pro football this town has ever seen. As for your forgiveness of Vick's criminal conduct and his despicable treatment of his team's owner, teammates and fans, I admire that empathy you're able to feel for him, but I just can't go that far myself. He had been regarded as the messiah of a franchise that had been mostly a pathetic punching bag for the rest of the NFL since its inception. And Vick took that huge contract, the loyalty and support of his teammates and the unabashed love and adoration of the fans here and spit on it. What he did to this town and this team was the equivalent of body-slamming a person that has just been beaten by an angry mob and left for dead. But even so, that was not even close to the amoral acts he committed against the helpless dogs he abused, then killed, with unfeeling callousness. I don't forgive Vick, nor do I think he's any different from the self-obsessed, moral bankruptcy he was five years ago. I celebrated the day Arthur Blank said he would not be back as an Atlanta Falcon under any circumstances. I would still be glad of Blank's decision even if the Falcons had lost 50 games in a row after he left. Michael Vick is a wart on the face of humanity and I feel nothing but grim satisfaction to see him become a despised failure as the Philly starting QB.

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TDWIII,

I always love reading your blogs on the messageboard here - and, as always - this was well-written.

But as a long-time Falcons fan, I'm over all the Falcons/Vick stuff - hopefully, after this game, this has been put to bed once and for all. "The Vick-lovers" who have been calling sports-talk radio for the last 5 years have nothing more to say.

I loved Vick when he was here in ATL, but he is gone, I'm glad he is gone and we have the better QB - and its not even close.

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TDWIII,

I always love reading your blogs on the messageboard here - and, as always - this was well-written.

But as a long-time Falcons fan, I'm over all the Falcons/Vick stuff - hopefully, after this game, this has been put to bed once and for all. "The Vick-lovers" who have been calling sports-talk radio for the last 5 years have nothing more to say.

I loved Vick when he was here in ATL, but he is gone, I'm glad he is gone and we have the better QB - and its not even close.

Ultimately, I do agree with you. I think most have turned the page on Vick and only a select few have not.

With that said, the book about the history of the Atlanta Falcons simply can't be written without a big chapter being devoted to Vick. In terms of the historical fabric of this franchise, Vick's imprint will remain.

What struck me yesterday though was the fact that in 2007, most thought Vick dealt the Falcons a death sentence in terms of the state of the franchise. And 5 years later what essentially happened was the Falcons flipped the switch on his career. Irony indeed.

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