Always An Excuse: The Career Of Mike Vick
Mike Vick is the most uniquely gifted athlete I have ever watched. The speed, the arm strength, the ability to improvise. His gifts have jumped off the television screen since his time at Virgina Tech. His teams are always exciting to watch, a high wire act of improbability and aggressive, fun football.
But from the his two fumble performance in the Sugar Bowl against Florida State to his two interception disaster yesterday against Arizona, there's always an excuse for why the guy with the most talent constantly comes up smaller than we think he should.
We forgave him for the turnovers in college because his team asked him to do so much. We forgave him for his lack of effort in Atlanta because, well, he was young and stupid. We moved past the fact that his lack of dedication and legal issues tore down the foundation of the Atlanta Falcons because they were able to hit on a head coach-quarterback combination within a short time. We give him a pass for only having two playoff wins as a 31-year old quarterback because his Atlanta teams didn't have weapons and because he was incarcerated for two years. We forgive his lackluster career completion percentage because he didn't have the proper coaching until he got to Philadelphia. We like to gloss over the fact that his career winning percentage (.559) -- games started in both the regular and postseason -- is less than such legends as Jim McMahon, Dave Krieg, Brad Johnson, and yes, even Tony Romo.
Vick is on the wrong side of thirty and probably a few years away from having his gifted physical skills start to diminish, yet it seems like we keep waiting for him to figure it out. His performance yesterday -- despite not having his fastest wide receiver and/or another excuse -- was dreadful. In a game his team needed to keep their hopes alive in the NFC playoff race, Vick threw up a 16-for-34, 128 yards, 2 interception line. He had another pick negated by a penalty, and yet another reversed on an Andy Reid challenge (something he actually does right these days). His 32.5 passer rating was a joke, and 47.1 completion percentage is what we come to expect out of Tim Tebow. Pick a number and odds are it will look ugly.
Outside of a dazzling ten game run to begin his career as an Eagle starter, Vick has a career mark of 43-38-1. We have had more than a decade -- another sign the clock is ticking on his chances to be a consistent star -- for Vick to be a great, transcendent player. It's almost time for NFL fans to give that dream up.
The conversation is rightfully about Andy Reid right now. He has failed at the ultimate goal for nearly thirteen seasons. His team is unprepared, undisciplined, and unwatchable in 2011. His job should be on the line after the off-season spending spree that the front office went on this past summer. Perhaps his biggest problem, though? The fact that he and the team handed over the offense to a quarterback that, excuses or not, hasn't won a thing in a decade.