From Top Dog To The Dog House

TRIGGER WARNING : THIS ARTICLE MENTIONS ANIMAL ABUSE!

Michael Vick has been a household name since he appeared on the Virginia Tech football field in 1999. His name has been brought up in the media countless times over the years, unfortunately not always in a positive light. He is the perfect example of the old saying; “the bigger they are the harder they fall”, and in 2007 Michael Vick fell very, very hard. 

Michael Dwayne Vick was born on June 26, 1980 in Newport News, Virginia to Brenda Vick and Michael Boddie. As a freshman at Homer L. Ferguson High School Vick became a local hero after he threw for over 400 yards in one game. In 1996 Ferguson High School was shut down and Vick was transferred to Warwick High where his athletic abilities continued to shine. For three years he was starting quarterback for the Warwick football team where he passed for an accumulated 4,846 yard and scored a total of 43 touchdowns. As a senior Vick had to make the tough decision of attending Syracuse University or Virginia Tech. In 1999 Vick made the decision to stay local and announced that he had committed to VT.  

In his first game appearance with Virginia Tech, Vick scored three rushing touchdowns in just over one quarter of play (against James Madison University). He made a super-duper flip touchdown thing into the end zone injuring his ankle which forced him to sit out of the next game. He led the Hookies to a national title game against Florida State and helped them accomplish an 11-0 record all in the same season. Vick left VT during his sophomore year to enter the 2001 NFL draft, stating that his family was still living in poverty and he wanted the opportunity to get them out of that situation. 

At his Pro Day workout, Vick ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds; his time has even been recorded as low as 4.25, which is the fastest-ever for an NFL quarterback. Shit, I would take me about 20 minutes to run that, I joke, I joke. Although In middle school when we had to run the mile in gym, I used up almost the entire 40-minute class time. Some people run and some people power walk, I personally excel at power walking (but I digress per usual). The Atlanta Falcons used their first pick to select Michael Vick in the 2001 draft, becoming the first black quarterback to be selected with a top pick. Good on ya Mike!

On September 9, 2001 Vick made his NFL appearance against the San Francisco 49ers and the rest was history. Many commentators would go on to say they were fascinated by Vick’s speed and ability to dodge getting sacked. He had accuracy and he was fast, what more could you want out of a quarterback? From 2001 to 2006 Michael Vick played phenomenally and even became the first quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season (I can’t mention all of the highlights of his career during this time or we will be here until 2065). He had an insane fan base, men wanted to be him and the ladies wanted to be with him (I mean he was kind of a whole snack) ….for now.

I hate to go into detail about this whole situation because it is very cruel but it must be done in the name of journalism! In April 2007 police conducted a search of Michael Vick’s Surry County, Virginia property. During this search over 70 dogs (mainly pit-bull terriers) showing signs of injury and other evidence of illegal dog fighting were found. In July 2007 Michael Vick and three other men were indicted on federal charges of dog fighting. Authorities stated that for 6 years the men operated a dog fighting program known as “Bad Newz Kennels”. On August 20, 2007 just hours after pleading guilty to all charges Roger Goodell announced that Michael Vick would be suspended from the NFL indefinitely. I was 18 when all this happened and I will tell you that the shock that went through the NFL fan base was electric. The investigation into the alleged dog fighting had gone on for a while but I think nobody thought anything would come of it. It was just going to be a blip on the media radar and Vick was going to be back on the field tearing it up in no time. 

On December 10, 2007 Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in a federal prison. On November 25, 2008 Vick also pleaded guilty to all state charges and received a 3-year suspended sentence on top of a restitution payment totaling $3,636.97. In early June 2009 the Atlanta Falcons released Vick as an unrestricted free agent. Michael Vick also lost all of his endorsement deals throughout the whole ordeal. Vick ended up serving a total of 21 months in prison and upon his release was mentored by former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy. Many people following this case doubted that Michael Vick would ever make a return to the NFL. They were all sorely mistaken when an angel named Andy Reid decided to take a huge chance on the disgraced quarterback. 

On August 13, 2009 Michael Vick signed a 1-year contract worth 1.6 million dollars with the Philadelphia Eagles. As the first-born child of a Dallas Cowboys fan (Shout out to my Pops) as well as being a diehard fan myself, I would rather stab myself repeatedly with a scolding hot kabob skewer than cheer for the Eagles. But I wanted to see Vick thrive, I really did. Now I don’t know if this is true or not but former Eagles star quarterback Donovan McNabb said he pushed for Andy Reid to sign Vick. McNabb would later go to the Washington football team that shall not be named where his career died.   

Vick played the rest of his first season back in the NFL as McNabb’s backup. Although he got a personal victory when he got the chance to play against his former team the Atlanta Falcons in week 13, during this game Vick had both a passing and rushing touchdown recording his first scores since 2006. On January 9, 2010 while playing against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC wildcard game, Vick threw the longest touchdown pass of his career to rookie Jeremy Maclin for a 76-yard touchdown. Despite that amazing play the Eagles lost the game 34–14, you guys really thought I was going to leave that part out!? During the 2010 after losing McNabb Kevin Kolb became the Eagles starting quarterback which meant Vick would see yet more time as a backup.  

On September 21, 2010 Michael Vick was named the Eagles starting quarterback after Kolb suffered a severe concussion, one of many that would cloud his NFL career. Him and Troy Aikman, I swear if you flick those dudes on the forehead, they will become concussed. The only difference is by the time Kolb played the NFL took concussion protocol more seriously than when Aikman played. Aikman probably went back into a game after his brain got scrambled numerous times but damnit yet again I digress (I guess just like to hear myself talk; I really am my father’s daughter)! However, during a game against the Washington team that shall not be named in week 4 Vick suffered a rib injury and was made backup to K.K once again. On November 14th Vick was back on the field again the above-mentioned team and during that game he passed for a total of 333 yards and 4 touchdowns.  

Vick needs to thank his lucky stars that Reid (that mean is a sweet baby angel) was willing to take him under his wing because he had a phenomenal come back run with the Eagles. On 24, 2014 Michael Vick signed with the New York Jets after they released mister butt fumble himself, Mark Sanchez. During his 1 year with the Jets Vick became the first quarterback in the NFL to reach 6,000 rushing yards. Quarterbacks usually rush when they have to, I think Vick did it because he enjoyed the chase. On August 25, 2015 Vick would make his way to the Pittsburgh Steelers where he would sit as the third string QB. He didn’t even get to wear his signature number 7 on his jersey as that number was already taken by starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  

On February 23, 2016 Michael Vick announced that he would be retiring from the NFL and after signing a one game contract with the Atlanta Falcons, he officially retired with the team that started it all on June 12, 2017. Since his retirement Vick has gone on to actually become an animal rights activist and now speaks out against animal cruelty. He also has 2 dogs of his own and authorities state that both dogs are very happy and healthy. Because of his history he is subject to numerous random visits to his home by police to check on the welfare of his pets. All the dogs involved with the “Bad Newz Kennel” dog fighting ring were adopted in to loving families and were very well cared for until they passed away. I am assuming most have passed since all this went down but I could be wrong.

Michael Vick’s name either brings joy or rage to people’s minds, he will forever have lovers and haters. What he has done will play on his mind for the rest of his life and that is something that he will have to learn to deal with himself. I want to make sure you all understand that I DO NOT support what Vick did in any way, shape, or form. But I do have respect for the guy, he eventually admitted his wrong doings, did his time, and in the end learned from it all. I am married to an Eagles fan (unfortunately) and I know first-hand that he was glad Reid saw the potential in Vick after his digressions and he was very happy with the time he spent in Philly. I suppose the moral of this story is don’t take anything for granted because at the drop of a dime it can all be ripped away from you. We all make mistakes; it is a fact of life but those mistakes do not define you, what you learn from them do. What you take from the new found knowledge of you mistake is what shapes you into the person you are. One more thing, when you fall always get back up and push on. Life is roller-coaster; you can be on top one minute and on the bottom the next. But you know what these two things have in common? They always come back up after going down. 

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2 Comments

  1. Boy…what an awesome article. Informative and well written. Vick was indeed a good quarterback, but unfortunately he made some bad choices and/or his family members involved him in some awful things and eventually he paid the price.
    Enjoyed your article.

    Liked by 1 person

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