Michael Vick is one of my idols. Yeah, you read that right. What this new version of Vick, Vick 2.0, can do on the football field is truly amazing. His ability to throw with such velocity and accuracy is only made more amazing by his unsurpassable scrambling skills, unmatched by any quarterback playing the game today. As much as people want to say he is really a runner that can throw the ball, there is no taking away from him the fact that his passing yards per game, completion percentage and low interception ratio, are in the upper echelon of quarterbacks playing the game.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning may be better pure pocket passers, but have you ever seen them try to run when their options are taken away? Not a pretty sight to see. But with Vick, a collapsing pocket can just as quickly turn into a 40-yard scramble of beauty.
Anyone that witnessed what Vick did to lead the Eagles back from a 21 point deficit with about eight minutes left in the game against the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon, knows what I am talking about. Vick put on a show that no one in the league can match in terms of dual capabilities, throwing and passing.
Third and 10 backed up on his own end of the field and all his receivers covered.
Vick took off and ran for about 30 yards.
One of the funniest moments to me was when Vick and the Eagles were on the Giants 10 yard line, facing third down, and one of the announcers, Joe Buck or Troy Aikman, says that the blitzes the Giants are lining up for will make it very difficult for Vick to run in this situation.
Well, Vick takes the snap and runs a quarterback draw for a touchdown.
That is the magic of Vick. He makes it so hard on defenses, because he truly is a dual threat. In most situations, with even the best NFL quarterbacks, in a passing situation a team only has to worry about the pass. With Vick, the threat of his taking off has to be accounted for. And yet he can quite easily beat you with his arm as well, something he has clearly worked on in Part 2 of his career, post-prison.
And that brings me to the real reason I say Vick is one of my idols. You see putting him on that list has very little to do with his football skills. He is there because he reminds us all about the ideal of second chances and the promise of redemption. No one will ever forget what Michael Vick went to prison for. It was a horrible crime. And because of what he did there are still a lot of people who don’t think he should ever be allowed to make millions playing football, or that he should ever be applauded for his skills on the field.
But I see it the other way. If we can’t root for Vick then who can we root for? If Vick isn’t worthy of a second chance then who is?
Vick paid a high price for what he did and he is still paying it. But he did pay for it. He did lose millions of dollars. He did do time in prison. He did have to give up his life-long career and start over.
And I say, if he did all that, all that our society asked him to do, and he stayed strong and did the work to get back to where he was professionally, no, to get even beyond where he was, then it seems to me that that is the very best example of redemption there can be.
Vick’s story is a lesson to us all that people can be forgiven. His is a story that proves that America’s promise, that says if you pay your debt then you will be given a fair chance at proving your worth, is more than just lip service. His story is inspiring because Vick proved that you can come back from the worst. And can there be anything more inspiring than that?
I know there are a lot of people who will never forgive Vick, people who think what he did is unforgivable. But Vick also knows there is little he can do about those people. All he can do is continue to try to atone even beyond his prison time and loss of all that he had before. And all he can do is be the very best quarterback he can be. His on-the-field exploits will not soothe those who think he doesn’t deserve forgiveness, but he can continue to show the rest of us that it is indeed possible to overcome the worst mistakes and the biggest setbacks.
So I look forward to Vick continuing to dazzle on the field. There are a lot of us who get strength in our own way from what he is proving is possible, not only in us, but in the ability of the American people to give everyone a second chance.
And that is why I am one of his biggest fans, out of this world football skills and a great life lesson all rolled into one exciting package.