Michael Vick: Gone with the Wind

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IAugust 24, 2008

In ninth-grade English last year there was a poem we studied whose theme went something like this: When you die, the world moves on.  Sure, people will miss you, but you're still gone.  The world doesn't stop, your death doesn't disturb the universe.

While former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick may not have actually died, he may as well have.

Vick used to be on top of the world.  He was taken with the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.  And for good reason—he could do it all—run, pass, whatever.  It didn't matter what opposing defenses did to try to stop him—he couldn't be contained.  The NFL rarely saw the combination of passing skill and foot speed that Vick had.   

In just his second season he amassed almost 3,000 passing yards and 16 touchdowns in addition to gaining 777 rushing yards and scoring 8 touchdowns.

Vick was also one of the most clutch players you ever saw.  His diverse skills made him impossible to stop, and that didn't change just because the clock showed 30 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.  If the Falcons had the ball, you as one of the opposing team's fans knew it was already over.  All you could do was hope he'd screw up.  Somehow.

But he rarely did.  Vick became my least favorite NFL player.  I was a hardcore Panthers fan.  He was the Falcons', once the Panthers' most bitter division rival, best player.  It seemed every time we played the Falcons, Vick would pull something out of his backside and win the game at the last second.  I can't tell you how much I hated my team having to deal with Vick twice every year because I always assumed that those two games would be automatic losses.  Vick was that good.  It's a wonder he didn't lead the Falcons to more than two playoff appearances, one an exit in the divisional round, the other an elimination in the conference championship game.       

Now Vick is a thing of the past.  He was sentenced to 23 months in prison for dogfighting-related charges in December 2007.  Since then there hasn't been anything in the media about him, and maybe the only person who has heard from him is Falcons owner Arthur Blank, with whom Vick exchanges letters. 

Since PETA has been done calling for Vick's head for awhile and he's been out of the NFL since the Falcons' first preseason game of 2007, he's been forgotten.  I don't even know how I remembered Vick.  I hadn't thought about him since Sportscenter wouldn't shut up about his dogfighting scandal.  He's gone away with the wind.