Hard to believe we won't be watching Vick this fall
Posted: Tuesday August 21, 2007 1:11PM; Updated: Tuesday August 21, 2007 1:12PM
I woke up this morning, having had my fill yesterday of seven hours of the Michael Vick coverage, and I thought: How strange is this fall going to be without Vick?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not sad that he's going to get what's coming to him, because what he did to those dogs was despicable. But from a football standpoint, there's a part of me that wonders what this season is going to be like on Sunday nights without Vick to criticize, celebrate, debate over and ooh-and-aah over?
Think back a minute. Think of how much time we've spent the last six seasons discussing the merits of Vick, ripping him for being a 53 percent passer one month, passing judgment that he's finally arrived as a complete quarterback the next month, talking about how he's a coach-killer the next month. He's been a weekly Desperate Housewives episode. Glamorous, exciting. Uplifting, a letdown. And now, justifiably, he's gone. My guess is for three seasons, but maybe forever.
As I thought back on his career, I remembered his best NFL game. Not statistically, but in impact. In his second season, Vick and the Falcons went to a snowy Lambeau Field to take on the Packers, who at the time were unbeatable in the snow and in the playoffs at home. Then Vick came to town. This is what I wrote after the game:
An hour after the biggest win of his football life, Michael Vick was outside Lambeau Field late Saturday night, dressed only in a blue suit and matching blue shirt. Snow swirled around his head, some flakes nesting in his close-cropped hair. Vick loved being outside at this moment, just soaking in the historic 27-7 Atlanta victory over Green Bay. He didn't look cold. Just cool.
"This game defines why the Falcons drafted me," the 22 year-old quarterback said happily. "I can't help it. I'm just so proud of myself."
Vick had plenty of help from his friends in handing Green Bay its first home playoff loss in the 82-year history of the franchise. Running back Warrick Dunn had 104 rushing and receiving yards combined, and backup T.J. Duckett broke loose several times, including a six-yard touchdown run up the middle. The offense controlled the clock for 36 minutes and did not commit a turnover. The defense forced five turnovers, including three by Brett Favre, who threw his second interception of the day and fumbled once while desperately trying to rally the Packers from a 24-0 halftime deficit. Linebacker Mark Simoneau blocked a punt deep in Green Bay territory, and linebacker Artie Ulmer recovered the ball and rolled one yard for a touchdown.
Vick's numbers weren't spectacular: 13-of-25 passing for 117 yards and one touchdown, plus 10 rushes for 64 yards. But this game was not about stats, it was about Vick's commanding presence. He did what he wanted when he wanted, most spectacularly late in the first half, on a third-and-three play at the Packers' 39. Vick rolled to the left and was about to be sacked for a huge loss, but he escaped the clutches of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila near the sideline, reversed field and left four more Green Bay players in his wake for an 11-yard gain.