The Year? 2000, The Place? The Superdome, New Orleans Louisiana , The Event? The BCS National College Football Championship, The Teams? The # 1 ranked Florida State Seminoles vs the # 2 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. Ask any “REAL” College football fan what they remember most about that game 90% of them will mention one name. No, not the Heisman Trophy Winner Chris Weinke, or the nations best and most popular wide receiver at the time Peter Warrick, and no not one of the four consensus first team All- Americans or eight first team All-ACC members, Oh yea, the Seminoles were easily the most talented team in the nation that year and not to mention they were led by the Legendary Coach Bobby Bowden. Still after all of that none of those big names stole the show on College Footballs biggest stage January 4, 2000. It was a 6 Foot 215 lb young man from Newport News Virginia that put on an electric performance from the Quarter Back position against the nations fastest most athletic defense arguably of all time. His name? Michael Vick.
That night in a heartbreaking loss Vick became the talk of the sports world, a house hold name and grabbed the attention of NFL coaches and owners around the league. This was something we had never seen before, we have seen athletic quarterbacks through time, those like Donovan Mcnabb, Tommy Frazier, both those guys were great College quarterbacks but those guys were not Michael Vick. Mike was on another level, the power in his arm with just a flick of the wrist was rare, his ability to elude defenders in the pocket with his eyes down field and hit an open receiver had us scratching our heads, and his explosion had never been seen before from anyone especially from the quarterback position, Vick literally left linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties watching while he took off for 60,70,80 yard touchdown runs. Leaving opposing coaches as well as his own shaking there heads in disbelief. Sports analysts around the world questioned if he would be able to play in the NFL because of the overall speed of defensive players at that level and if he could make all of the NFL throws. At that time it was one of the hottest topics in sports. In the 2001 NFL Draft those questions Michael Vick was drafted #1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons.
From the moment he took over at QB for the lowly Falcons something was different. Teams and fans began to take notice. The combination of unmatched running skills and a rifle of an arm is something defenses had never seen. One of the many games where this was evident was in his 2nd year against the Minnesota Vikings where he ran of 173 yards on 10 carries, 173 yds passing, he accounted for 346 of Atlanta’s 379 total yards. He capped that performance with a 46 yd touchdown run to win the game in overtime 30-24. His early career was full of performances similar to that. In that same season he led the Falcons to the playoffs where they upset (traditional QB) Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers 27-7 at Lambeau Field. In 2005 Vick led his team to the NFC Championship game where they were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10. His time in Atlanta has to be considered a success. Unfortunately his time with the Falcons ended when he got into off-field trouble.
Vick returned to the NFL in 2010 to play with the Eagles. The game where he showed that he was back and better than ever was in a Monday night game against the Washington Redskins which they won 59-28 where he became the first player in NFL history with at least 300 pass yds, 50 rush yds, 4 pass Tds, and 2 rush Tds with no interceptions or fumbles in 1 game. Vick went on to have success as an Eagle despite dealing with injuries.
The Falcons drafting of Vick was monumental, that day changed the football world for years to come, ever since then and due to the success of Vick, NFL Owners have looked for quarterbacks with similar characteristics. NFL coaches have now put in place offensive systems to utilize an athletic quarterback, those teams are some of the top teams in the NFL. Before Vick came into the league athletic quarterbacks were never considered “Draft Gems” the typical pocket QB always had top consideration but now its all changed because of one man. Yes, Vick has had his struggles with durabiltiy but thats due to the beating he took in the normal old NFL offenses when he first came in the league, imagine Vick 10 years younger playing for a Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh, or even Chip Kelly its really scary to think about a young Vick in an offense catered to him, Vick led the Falcons over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in an NFC playoff game, before that game nobody gave Vick a chance, but just like he stole the show in 2000 he stole it again in Green Bay and made everyone a believer, only this time his team was on the winning end. This is just a small article on how this man changed the game and opened the doors for many quarterbacks in the league today, he may not have been the best QB ever but he is without a question the man who revolutionized the QB position! Michael Vick definitely broke “The Mold”.