Let’s revisit that historic comeback at the New Meadowlands. Until the Giants sleep-walked through those final eight minutes, Vick was mediocre at best. If the Giants had actually played for 60 minutes, that game would have gone down as an awful loss to a division rival rather than a rally for the ages. Vick has at times looked decisive and accurate with the ball, but at others he’s looked rushed, unsure, and been flat out ineffective. The Giants showed that Vick had weaknesses and could be beat up.
That led in to the disastrous loss against the Minnesota Vikings, where the Eagles blew their shot at the two seed in the playoffs and the first round bye that goes with it. Vick was harassed all night, showing an inability to react to the blitz , holding the ball too long or failing to go through his progressions and allowing the pressure to disrupt the timing of the play or to break it down entirely. The old Vick seemed to reappear when the new Vick was questioned after the game about whether he needs to do a better job making reads and responding to the blitz:
“I don’t have to do nothing.”
Despite the Giants and Vikings demonstrating that Vick was beatable, Vick didn’t feel like he needed to turn up his game or learn from his struggles. And that attitude was carried into the playoff game against the Packers, a matchup that loomed large for both the Eagles as a team and Vick as a supposedly new and improved quarterback.
Against Green Bay, Vick again performed hot and cold, at times making plays while continuing to struggle with his progressions in the face of pressure. The failed pass to the end zone that resulted in a game-ending interception was pretty much a defining moment for Vick and the Eagles. He had a chance to spike the ball with about 40 seconds left, giving the Eagles time to make a few plays and find the end zone. Instead, he called a play on his own, an “all go” where all receivers streak. It was a knee-jerk, unnecessarily all-or-nothing play that failed horribly. Even one of his most vocal supporters, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, couldn’t understand the thought process behind it.
“I just felt, the last couple of plays, we just kind of rushed it,” Jackson said. “We didn’t really have to rush it. We had 40 seconds, or whatever. We could have downed the ball and regrouped and just come back and not rushed it.”
Vick disagreed, defiantly standing by his decision.
“I can honestly say, if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably do the same thing,” Vick said.
Vick’s defiance was clear just this past week with him being linked to more than one Super Bowl-themed party. Yes, more than one. First it was the ultra-high security affair promising “The Michael Vick Experience”, and then a supposedly Vegas-style soiree that pretty much all of the pandering media types have chosen to ignore. And of course after the outcry over the stupidity of Vick’s decision to be involved with these affairs, the spin doctoring came out in force, floating the unlikely story that Vick not only wasn’t planning on going to these parties but had only limited knowledge of them even being thrown. Anyone who believes that has their head stuck so far in the sand regarding Vick that it wouldn’t matter what the guy did.
And then there’s the off field concerns that will follow Vick for not only the rest of his career but the remainder of his life. With his dogfighting operation, Vick engaged in actions that are so heinous and evil that they are nearly impossible to comprehend, going way beyond the simple act of making animals fight each other. He intentionally tortured them, electrocuting, drowning, hanging, and even slamming to the ground repeatedly those who failed to fight effectively.
Let’s be clear, he wasn’t making mistakes — the catch-all buzz word for those who get caught. Mistakes are ‘accidentally’ omitting income from your tax return or leaving the toilet seat up. Donte Stallworth deciding to drive drunk was a mistake, albeit a tragically immense one. Yes, he took a man’s life and he should be punished for it, but his actions had no premeditated or malicious intent. It was a terribly stupid mistake that he has to live the rest of his life, but the only way to compare it to what Vick was doing would be if Donte tied sharp objects to the front of the car and intentionally drove around looking for people to hit, Grand Theft Auto-style.
Committing unncessary acts of torture over many, many years is not a mistake and no matter how many “I’m sorrys” we get, nothing can change the fact that somewhere within Vick’s mind lives a cruel, vicious monster that could emerge again at any time. The only mistake he made was getting caught.
And Vick’s defiant nature wasn’t just limited to the football field. This is a guy who, in the midst of capturing the imagination of the football following world and beyond, publicly whined that he couldn’t have a dog as part of his sentence.
Want to know why you can’t have a dog, Mike?
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