For the past several decades, dual-threat quarterbacks have thrilled NFL audiences with their strong arms and scrambling feet.
Of course, there have been many more such quarterbacks before and since, but it can be argued that none of them brought the position to the forefront like Michael Vick.
After a breathtaking college career at Virginia Tech, Vick was the first pick in the 2001 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
Although just six feet tall and barely 210 pounds, Vick could hurl a football with a flick of his wrist and take off running in the blink of an eye.
Just when defenses thought they had him contained, Vick would slip their grasp.
That’s when the fun began.
Vick didn’t just scramble, he was like a highly-paid running back who could pick up huge chunks of yardage without breaking a sweat.
In 2006, he became the first NFL quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season while also adding over 2,400 yards through the air.
#NFL Career Rushing Yards by QB in #NFL History#Falcons Michael Vick – 6,109#Panthers Cam Newton – 5,628#Eagles Randall Cunningham – 4,928#Broncos Russell Wilson – 4,802#Ravens Lamar Jackson – 4,308 pic.twitter.com/tVEVL3AeQn
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) November 9, 2022
Unfortunately, the following season, Vick was suspended indefinitely by the NFL when he was charged and jailed for his role in a dog fighting operation.
After being released from prison nearly two years later, Vick was offered a second chance to further his legacy and restore his public image.
By the time he retired after the 2015 season, Vick had become the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards by a quarterback while also passing for over 22,000 career yards.
This is the story of Michael Vick.
The Dynamo from Newport News
Michael Dwayne Vick was born on June 26, 1980, in Newport News, Virginia.
June 26, 1980 — Former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was born. pic.twitter.com/VJrgIVK0Zn
— MoorInfo (@MoorInformation) June 26, 2020
Vick’s parents, Michael Boddie and Brenda Vick were unmarried at the time of Michael’s birth.
They officially married when Michael Jr. was in elementary school and he and his brother, Marcus, and sisters Christina and Courtney, kept their mother’s maiden name.
The Vick family lived in a rough area of Newport News and Michael did his best to stay away from the violence by fishing and playing sports at a local Boys and Girls Club.
“Sports kept me off the streets,” said Vick. “It kept me from getting into what was going on, the bad stuff. Lots of guys I knew have had bad problems. But if I had to, I would go fishing even if the fish weren’t biting. Just to get out of there.”
It was while playing youth sports that Vick’s peers first noticed his talent.
“My first memory was in rec league,” said local athlete Ronald Curry. “I came to see him play. I think he was playing for the Boys and Girls Club. I played for the Hampton Tornadoes. He was on one of the teams that was younger. We heard about him back then, when I think he was 11 or 12 years old, and he was a great talent.”
Athletic talent was engrained in Vick and his extended family.
Michael’s older cousin, Aaron Brooks, was a stellar athlete who played football in Newport News and collegiately at Virginia before an eight-year NFL career.
— THE 757 FOOTBALL FAMILY (@the757ff) April 14, 2022
By the time he reached Ferguson High School, Vick wanted to be just like his cousin.
Thankfully, as a freshman, Vick met Coach Tommy Reamon who had previously tutored Brooks.
“Michael wanted to follow in Aaron’s footsteps,” said Reamon. “He was a ninth grader the first time I saw him, and I watched him zip the ball with that quick release, and I said, ‘Wow.’ The next thing I said was, ‘O.K., I know what to do with this.'”
Vick dazzled on the field and displayed natural talent while once passing for over 400 yards in a single game.
After his first year at Ferguson, the school closed and both Vick and Reamon relocated to Warwick High School.
Vick Learns the QB Position
Before playing for Warwick as a sophomore, Vick and Reamon got a lay of the land and realized that Michael needed to put some muscle on his bones.
Reamon scouted the Warwick team and saw that the offensive line was rather porous, leading the coach to get Vick into weight training.
To further prepare his young pupil, Reamon took him to summer camps where Vick learned proper throwing techniques and footwork.
He also encouraged Vick to scramble when necessary while teaching Vick how to best release from the pocket.
I took this picture in 1996 when Michael Vick was a little known quarterback from the Tidewater area. Warwick HS. He met me at Hampton high school with Ronald Curry who was all everything at the time. Vick only had 2 offers then Syracuse and Virginia Tech. Also forgot his jersey. pic.twitter.com/nIxy4cig6I
— Tom Lemming (@LemmingReport) November 29, 2022
Then, sensing that Vick was a star on the rise, Reamon taught Vick the finer points of communicating with the public.
“You must learn to read, write and talk,” lectured Reamon. “As a quarterback in America, you must know how to communicate.”
The work paid off as Vick had to carry a heavy load for the Raiders.
Warwick was not a very good team and few people watched the games.
At the time, opponents saw Vick’s ability but didn’t foresee him becoming an NFL talent.
”I don’t know if you could project him being a pro quarterback at that time,” Hampton coach Mike Smith said. ”I don’t think we ever knew how fast he was in high school because he didn’t run so much, and it’s probably good we didn’t find out. He always had that beautiful release, though.”
Vick was also greatly overshadowed by Curry, who was fast becoming one of the most highly sought-after prep recruits in the nation.
”Ask somebody back then, it was all about Curry,” Phoebus High School Coach Bill Dee said. ”Michael was a diamond in the rough. But I don’t think they knew exactly how much.”
Vick Comes into his Own
Even though Vick played on a less talented team, his battles with Curry were often viewed by a packed house.
“Honestly, the games were good,” remarked Curry in 2017. “I played on a loaded team that had a lot of good players. His team was kind of middle of the pack, and he made that team better just by his play.”
Vick started for the Raiders for three years and guided the program to an overall record of 20-13 during that time.
One was arguably the greatest high school athlete Virginia ever produced.
The other was Michael Vick.
— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) March 23, 2023
However, he attracted the attention of college recruiters by passing for 4,849 yards and 43 touchdowns and rushing for 1,048 yards and 18 scores.
During his senior year alone in 1997, Vick accounted for 1,668 passing yards and had 10 passing and 10 running touchdowns.
One game, in particular, saw him run for six scores and add three more through the air.
“I got to see him play a couple times in high school and was blown away,” said future Virginia Tech teammate Corey Moore. “His cousin, Dwight, was on the team with us. All he kept talking about was his little cousin and how he was doing damage, making highlight-reel plays in high school. Back then you didn’t have YouTube. I wanted to see for myself. And seeing him play in person was unbelievable.”
Vick Becomes a Hokie
As college recruiters came out of the woodwork to see Vick, Reamon helped his quarterback by making sure college coaches understood the big picture.
Reamon did not want Vick and Curry to be on the same college team as it would take away from the talents of both kids.
“Our strategy all along was, ‘Make a decision: Vick or Curry?'” said Reamon.
Vick met with Coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and also visited East Carolina and Syracuse.
He couldn’t help envisioning himself as a member of the Orangemen, who at the time had Donovan McNabb at quarterback.
With his college visits complete, Vick ultimately decided to stay close to home and he became a Virginia Tech Hokie.
Vick Learns the College Game
Vick arrived in Blacksburg, Virginia in the fall of 1998 ready to compete for a starting position.
He attended team meetings and began learning Beamer’s playbook, which may as well have been in Latin.
Barely a few weeks into his college tenure and Vick confided to his friend and fellow quarterback, Dave Meyer, that he was going to ask Beamer to switch him to receiver.
“He’d come out to practice, and his eyes would be big and wild and full of stars,” said Meyer. “He was just awed by everything. Michael didn’t even recognize how good he was. He didn’t understand that he had the tools to do whatever he wanted.”
Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle tried to lessen Vick’s anxiety.
“You’re a freshman,” Vick recalls Bustle saying. “You’re 18 years old, and you just got here. Why do you expect to do so much?”
Before the ‘98 season began, the coaching staff decided to redshirt Vick so he could take time to learn the offense.
While practicing with the team during the season, Vick often played the part of opposing quarterbacks on the scout team so the Tech defense could get an idea of what to expect.
Michael Vick was a cheat code at Virginia Tech pic.twitter.com/ezox3QIWO2
— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) April 23, 2023
It became clear to Vick’s teammates that the players he was attempting to imitate were no match for his ability.
“Going against him on the scout team, I remembered the Syracuse week and him being Donovan McNabb,” said Moore. “It was like, ‘Oh my God, McNabb was good, but he wasn’t that good. Michael was making some of us look pretty stupid missing tackles.”
Vick Becomes the Starter
After a year of sitting on the bench and learning the Hokie offense, Vick learned two things.
One, he was a better ball player because of his redshirt year.
“Before I took my first snap, I wanted to be in control of the offense, know where the players were, how to read defenses. These are all things I learned when I sat out,” Vick told Sports Illustrated.
Two, Vick realized he had to speak louder at the line of scrimmage.
“In college, I learned pretty fast that you can’t be a leader on the field and do a baby count,” said Vick. “At first I was just calling signals in my regular voice—you know, like you and I are talking. But everybody’s saying, ‘I can’t hear you,’ and the coaches are screaming. Believe me, I shout it out now; I let it go.”
Beamer was already salivating at the opportunity to name Vick his starter in 1999 and the quarterback didn’t disappoint.
In his first collegiate start against James Madison, Vick had three rushing touchdowns in less than two quarters including a somersault to score his third touchdown.
Vick and the Hokies continued blowing out opponents until a contest against West Virginia on November 6.
— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) June 5, 2023
With the Hokies losing in the final minutes, Vick showed he was capable of playing in close games.
With calm and poise, he drove Tech 58 yards downfield to set up a game-winning field goal.
By the end of the regular season, the Hokies were undefeated and ranked second in the country.
In his first year as a starter, Vick passed for 2,065 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions, and rushed for 682 yards and nine touchdowns.
He led the nation in passing efficiency, was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Big East Rookie of the Year, first-team All-American, won an ESPN ESPY award for the best college player, and the first Archie Griffin Award as college football’s MVP.
Vick then came in third in Heisman Trophy balloting, tying a record for the highest vote for a freshman.
Vick’s spectacular year led Virginia Tech to a scintillating matchup against top-ranked Florida State in the Sugar Bowl to determine the national championship.
Initially, Tech kept pace in the first quarter when Vick connected with Andre Davis for 49 yards and a touchdown to cut into the Seminoles’ lead, 14-7.
Florida State then scored two more touchdowns and suddenly the Hokies were losing, 28-7.
At that point, Vick challenged his teammates.
“We went down 28-7 and I gathered everyone around and said, ‘Yo, it ain’t going down like this. Somebody’s got to step up. I guess it’s going to be me,’” said Vick.
He then led Tech to an epic comeback that saw Vick score on a three-yard run and then set up a field goal and two more touchdowns.
By the end of the third quarter, the Hokies had taken the lead, 29-28.
The Noles were too strong for Michael Vick and the Hokies in the 1999 season. pic.twitter.com/gRnbTicUNF
— Miles Commodore (@miles_commodore) May 23, 2022
Along the way, Vick’s running and ability to stop on a dime literally chased two Seminoles players from the contest.
“True story. Our starting linebacker and our starting defensive end both tore ACLs chasing Michael Vick,” said former Florida State corner Mario Edwards. “It’s nearly impossible to tackle him one-on-one, he’s fast, he’s strong, he’s explosive and he loves the game of football.”
The Seminoles proved too much, however, and scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win the national title, 46-29.
Virginia Tech may have lost a chance for a national title, but a star was born that year.
Vick’s play was talked about and analyzed throughout the country by every sports-talking head on television and radio.
— Elly De La Gone (@EllyDeLaGone) February 1, 2020
Beamer couldn’t contain his glee at having the hottest athlete in college football and boasted about how Vick was already helping the Hokies’ future.
“What that did for your recruiting, kids started saying, ‘This place is good enough for Michael Vick, then I need to look into going to Virginia Tech.’ He was just probably the best that’s ever been as an athletic quarterback,” said Beamer.
Major League Baseball execs were so impressed by Vick’s play in 1999 that the Colorado Rockies came out of nowhere and selected Vick in the 30th round of the MLB Draft.
It didn’t matter that Vick hadn’t played the sport since he was 14.
“I talked to a guy with the Rockies and I was like, ‘Man, what made you decide to draft me?'” said Vick. “He said, ‘You have a great arm and we think you can pitch. But we also think you can play centerfield.’ I wasn’t sure whether to tell him that I couldn’t hit for anything.”
Remarkably, there was already discussion in the spring of 2000 about whether Vick should leave for the NFL after his sophomore year.
When asked, Vick didn’t deny the possibility.
“Maybe so,” said Vick with a smile. “I’ve talked to Coach Bustle about it, and let me be honest about this: If somebody makes me that kind of offer [as a top 10 pick], I’d have to go.”
Even Vick’s teammates knew he had pro material.
“People ask me all the time, ‘What is Vick going to do?'” said teammate Nick Sorensen. “They can’t be stupid. I look at them and laugh. ‘What is Mike going to do?’ I say. ‘I don’t know. But think about it a minute: He’s already the best player in college football. He’ll make millions as a pro. What would you do?'”
Sure enough, Vick played up to expectations in 2000.
In a game against Boston College on September 30, Vick rushed for 210 yards in a 48-34 win.
Against Syracuse a month later, Vick led the Hokies to a 22-14 comeback for the team’s first victory at Syracuse since 1986.
Injuries forced him to miss parts of three games including Tech’s 41-21 loss to the Miami Hurricanes, which proved to be the Hokies’ only loss of the year.
After a 10-1 regular season, Tech played Clemson in the Gator Bowl.
Vick was named the contest’s MVP after netting 224 yards of total offense with a throwing touchdown, interception, and rushing score in the team’s 41-20 victory.
For the season, Vick had 1,234 passing yards, eight touchdowns, six interceptions, 617 rushing yards, and eight more scores.
He finished sixth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.
Michael Vick is on the @cfbhall ballot for the first time this year 👀
3,229 career pass yards
1,299 rush yards
– 11-1 record as a redshirt freshman
– Finished 3rd in Heisman voting
– Led Virginia Tech to the 2000 National Championship
– No. 1 overall pick in the… pic.twitter.com/lK3t8Zr1kZ
— Next Up with Adam Breneman (@NextUpWithAdam) July 12, 2023
As the season came to a close, the local and national media hounded Vick on whether or not he would jump to the NFL.
Because of his injuries, Vick’s 2000 numbers weren’t as good as his 1999 stats.
That didn’t seem to matter as a number of pro scouts and general managers liked his strong arm and sub 4.3, 40-yard dash speed.
After weeks of speculation, Vick announced that he was leaving school to enter the 2001 NFL Draft.
His intent was to get his family out of the projects of Newport News and into a better living environment.
Vick ended his college career with 3,299 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 11 picks, 1,299 rushing yards, and 17 scores.
He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Atlanta Picks Vick First Overall
Any issues about Vick that the media discussed before the 2001 NFL Draft was quickly put to rest during the event.
The Atlanta Falcons traded up from their number-five spot to the San Diego Chargers’ first spot.
With that pick, Atlanta chose Vick, making him the first African-American to ever be drafted first overall.
— Today In GA History (@2DayInGAHistory) April 22, 2023
Falcons head coach Dan Reeves wanted to ease Vick into his NFL career and started the rookie for only two games.
It also didn’t help that Vick was slow to learn Reeves’ offense.
“There was so much verbiage, and instead of studying routes or coverages, I came to practice just worried about getting the names of the plays out. As the backup (to Chris Chandler) I’d get eight reps, and I’d hold up practice because I screwed up six of them,” said Vick.
Vick becomes the Starter
Before the 2002 season, Reeves announced that Vick would start after an offseason where the quarterback did what it took to learn the playbook.
“I always knew I had the physical ability to perform, but my confidence wasn’t where it needed to be. I knew that I had to work the entire off-season to prepare,” said Vick. “I studied my playbook every day, even if it meant locking myself in my bedroom when Mom came to visit. I watched all my plays from last year. It’s what I had to do.”
Initially, Vick resembled a player still learning the ropes when Atlanta began the year with an uninspiring 1-3 record.
By Week 6, however, Vick and the Falcons began turning the season around.
In the midst of winning seven of their next eight games, Vick played against his cousin, Brooks, who was the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.
Vick got the best of his cousin in Week 8 (when he led a comeback victory in the final minutes) and beat Brooks again in Week 11.
In a game against Minnesota on December 1, the Vikings and Falcons went into overtime.
When Atlanta got the ball in the extra period, Vick took the snap on second and nine at the Vikings’ 46-yard line.
He was flushed from the pocket and wove through several Minnesota defenders until he reached the end zone for the game-winning score.
On this date 19 years ago, Michael Vick walks it off with a 46 yard TD against Minnesota pic.twitter.com/LaXfHgrbyX
— Francisco (@Rojas_Media_) December 1, 2021
His 173 rushing yards for the day set a then-NFL record for most yards rushing by a quarterback in a single game.
Atlanta would end the ‘02 season 9-6-1 and qualify for the playoffs.
In the Wild Card round versus Brett Favre and Green Bay, the Falcons surprised the Packers when they easily beat the home team, 27-7.
“You made history today, and you did it at 22 years old,” said Atlanta owner Arthur Blank to Vick after the game. “Stop and think about that.”
Vick passed for 117 yards and a score and rushed for 64 yards during the game.
The following week, Atlanta’s season ended when they were defeated by Philadelphia, 20-6.
After the season, Vick headed to his first Pro Bowl on the strength of his 2,936 yards, 16 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 777 rushing yards, eight additional scores, and an NFL-best 6.9 yards per rushing attempt.
One of the NFL’s Young Stars
Before the 2003 season began, Madden 2004 was released with Vick displayed on the cover.
People who played the popular video game noted that the digitized version of Vick was almost impossible to stop.
Michael Vick turns 40 today.
If you had him in Madden 2004, you weren't playing fair 😅
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 26, 2020
As if on cue, Vick broke his right fibula during the ‘03 preseason and missed all but five games.
That only added to the “Madden Curse” legend of players suffering injuries after appearing on the cover.
Without Vick, the Falcons dipped to 5-11 and Reeves lost his job after a 3-10 start.
In 2004, Jim Mora became the franchise’s new head coach and Vick returned to form.
He passed for 2,313 yards, 14 touchdowns, 12 picks, added 902 rushing yards and three more scores, and led the NFL again in average yards per carry with 7.5.
“Sometimes, I swear I think my body moves on its own, and I amaze myself,” said Vick.
During the year, Vick set an NFL record against Denver in Week 8 when he became the first quarterback to rush for over 100 yards and pass for over 250 yards in a single game.
Weeks later, Vick ran for a game-tying 12-yard touchdown against Carolina in Week 15, eventually leading to an overtime victory.
Michael Vick in Atlanta…Respect ✊🏿pic.twitter.com/zsMpZMH8Sh
— sportsthread (@sportsthread) August 21, 2016
Atlanta’s 11-5 record helped them reach the postseason and Vick nearly beat the St. Louis Rams single-handedly when he ran for 119 yards in a 41-17 win.
His rushing total set a new NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in the postseason.
Even though the Falcons lost in the NFC Championship the following week against Philly, Vick was one of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks.
He returned to the Pro Bowl and Blank ponied up by giving his quarterback a whopping 10-year, $130 million extension after the season.
In 2005, Atlanta missed the playoffs, but Vick went to his third Pro Bowl after passing for over 2,400 yards and rushing for nearly 600 more.
Vick Sets an NFL Rushing Record
Already an impressive athletic specimen, Vick set his standard even higher in 2006.
The Falcons struggled to a 7-9 record but Vick did everything in his power to try and salvage the season.
He passed for over 2,400 yards for the second year in a row, along with 20 passing scores, but his ground game was next level.
Michael Vick's 2006 season was unlike any other season we've seen in the past 11 years pic.twitter.com/sOHgRB91bn
— PFF (@PFF) June 12, 2017
By the time the dust settled on the ‘06 season, Vick rushed for 1,039 yards, two touchdowns, and an NFL and career-best 8.4 average yards per carry.
His rushing yards total made Vick the first quarterback in NFL history to run for over 1,000 yards in a season.
Vick is Suspended by the NFL and Serves Jail Time
Just when it looked like Vick was capable of taking Atlanta to a Super Bowl, the wheels came off.
During the summer of 2007, media reports surfaced that Vick had knowingly financed and helped run a dogfighting operation known as “Bad Newz Kennels.”
Investigators found that Vick had helped run the operation for six years and may have even had a hand in executing dogs that didn’t perform well.
More than 70 dogs were found on property owned by Vick in Virginia and many were pit bulls that showed significant signs of injury.
It is the end of an era … the last of the surviving dogs from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring has passed… thank you to all the organizations and people who loved them and gave them a chance…to be dogs 🐶 please teach kindness so this never happens again… pic.twitter.com/HnV31uXvM0
— lizardgurl (@unicorndreams99) December 21, 2021
When the NFL learned about the investigation, Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Vick indefinitely without pay.
He also told the media that the opportunity for Vick’s return to the league depended on how well he cooperated with authorities.
The public outcry was even worse as fans picketed Falcons headquarters and animal rights activists called for Vick to serve jail time.
Companies that endorsed the quarterback began dropping like flies as Vick became public enemy number one.
Blank and the Falcons sued to recoup Vick’s most recent signing bonus and an arbitrator ruled that he had to return just under $20 million to Atlanta.
While awaiting his sentencing, Vick tested positive for marijuana, further complicating his case.
This is Frodo. He was the last of 48 survivors rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation in 2007. He passed away over the weekend at the age of 15, surrounded by so much love. He and the rest of his very brave friends helped change animal welfare forever. 15/10 for all pic.twitter.com/9EDrRs2x7N
— WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) December 21, 2021
Eventually, Vick was found guilty of his part in the operation and sentenced to 23 months in federal prison (although he only served 21).
“I wish I had a father figure or somebody in my life (today), ‘Yo, man, you can really screw all this up,’” Vick said in 2023 when reflecting on his 2007 arrest. “Ain’t nobody came and said, ‘Bro, you can screw all this up.”’
Atlanta Releases Vick
Vick’s time in jail was marked by those who believed he deserved a second chance and those who believed he should never play another down of football.
In 2008, Vick’s financial losses were so great that he filed for bankruptcy.
That same year, the Falcons selected Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan in the draft, effectively ending Vick’s time in Atlanta.
In June 2009, the Falcons released Vick and he became a free agent.
“The whole time like I was gone I thought they was gonna wait on me,” Vick said in 2023 of the Falcons. “But that was wishful thinking … I really thought … I step back in, be the starter, and we just move on like nothing ever happened. But that’s not reality. And I was hoping for something that just couldn’t happen.”
A Second Chance
At the time, Vick was receiving mentorship and counsel from NFL coach Tony Dungy and the coach reported to teams that he believed Vick was rehabilitated.
Several franchises who would have signed him in a heartbeat were scared away by their fans who protested against Vick.
In mid-August 2009, Coach Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles ignored the backlash and signed Vick to a modest $1.6 million deal to back up Donovan McNabb.
— Eagles Nation (@PHLEaglesNation) April 5, 2023
While the Eagles went 11-5 and lost in the Wild Card round, Vick appeared in 12 games, starting only once.
In Week 13, the Eagles traveled to Atlanta, and Falcons fans acted genuinely happy to have their former star in the building.
Although he had limited playing time that day, Vick still ran for a score and threw for a touchdown.
Comeback Player of the Year
Before the 2010 season, McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins, and fourth-year player Kevin Kolb was elevated to take his place.
During a Week 1 game against the Packers, however, Kolb was knocked out of the contest and Vick took over.
He responded with 175 passing and 103 rushing yards, although Philly came up short.
Vick then started 12 games and provided several vintage moments.
In Week 9, Vick beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in a tight game, 26-24.
A week later, the quarterback dismantled the Redskins on Monday Night Football with 333 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, 80 rushing yards, and two more touchdowns in a 59-28 beatdown.
Eagles vs. Redskins tonight.
Remember Michael Vick's 2010 MNF game vs. Washington?
4 passing TD
2 rushing TD
80 rushing yards
333 passing yards
0 turnovers pic.twitter.com/Cu2P1eXFqc
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 4, 2018
Once again, Vick set an NFL record during the game when he ran for two scores and passed for three more during the first half alone.
In Week 13, the New York Giants were having their way with Vick until he turned things around.
Down 24-10 at the end of three quarters, Vick led Philly to 28 points in the fourth quarter for a 38-31 comeback win.
The comeback was due to Vick’s 242 yards and three touchdowns passing, 130 rushing yards, and a running score.
Philly ended the season 10-6 and Vick’s triumphant return to starter included 3,018 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, six picks, 676 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, and an NFL-leading 6.8 average yards per carry.
He was voted the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year and returned to the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2005.
Philly Extends Vick
Based on Vick’s results from 2010, the Eagles signed him to a six-year extension worth $100 million and $40 million guaranteed before the 2011 season.
“I’m very happy we were able to reach an agreement with Michael on this long-term contract,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “It’s a product of all the hard work Michael has done to better himself over the last couple of years, both on and off the field.”
Vick responded to the vote of confidence by passing for a career-best 3,303 yards along with 18 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 589 rushing yards, and a score.
In 2012, he started 10 games after sustaining an injury and was replaced by rookie Nick Foles.
One year later, Reid was gone, and new coach Chip Kelly named Vick the starter.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 20, 2013
He beat Washington in the season’s first week, then threw for a career-best 426 yards against San Diego in a loss.
After that, Vick suffered from injuries and inconsistencies, leading to six total starts and just over 1,200 passing yards.
With Foles’ ascendency as the Eagles starter, Philly released Vick after 2013 and he signed with the New York Jets in 2014.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 21, 2014
He appeared in 10 games and started three for the Jets that year and became the first quarterback to rush for 6,000 career yards in a Week 10 victory over Pittsburgh.
A free agent again in 2015, Vick signed with the Steelers despite backlash from fans.
During the year, he started three times and passed for totals of 371 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception while adding 99 yards on the ground.
Vick was released after 2015 and was not signed by a franchise in 2016.
In early February 2017, he officially retired from the NFL.
In his career, Vick passed for 22,464 yards, 133 touchdowns, and 88 picks, and ran for 6,109 yards and 36 scores.
Vick’s rushing yards set a then-record for most career rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history.
There have been three quarterbacks in the NFL with 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
Falcons Michael Vick
Ravens Lamar Jackson
Bears Justin Fields pic.twitter.com/6hdnqXowhI
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) December 19, 2022
He was a four-time Pro Bowler, Bert Bell Award winner, and Comeback Player of the Year, and led the league five times in average yards per rushing attempt.
Life in Retirement
Since leaving the game, the stain of Vick’s conviction has never left him.
He has been contrite about his experience with Bad Newz Kennels and even advocated for animal rights.
In 2017, Vick wrote an open letter to Falcons fans to say thanks and express his guilt over his departure from the Falcons and what it meant to the city.
“I wanted to write to the city as a whole,” Vick wrote, “and to the people in it — to remember, I guess, and to say thanks. And maybe also just to sort of reflect. Because without Atlanta … man, without Atlanta, I’m nothing. Without Atlanta, I might not even be here to write this today.”
Vick also mentioned how his jail time hurt the franchise, only to be rescued with the drafting of Matt Ryan.
“People have to understand: I felt like it was my fault, like it was my responsibility, that the Falcons franchise had been set back,” Vick continued. “And if Matt had been a bust … then my guilt over the harm I’d caused the city would have only grown worse. But Matt being such a success — that’s been a joy for me. For me, that’s been relief. It’s been peace of mind.”
Although he was finished playing football in the NFL, Vick found work in the American Flag Football League in 2017 and worked as a coaching intern for Andy Reid, also in 2017.
In 2018, Vick was named a team consultant for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football.
Former Falcons QB Michael Vick will remain with the Alliance of American Football's Atlanta Legends as an advisor in new league's inaugural season. #fooball https://t.co/z32fH46EKd pic.twitter.com/2PcaqalzGi
— Jack Clue (@jackclue3) February 8, 2019
Vick is currently married to his wife, Kijafa, and the couple have three children, daughters London and Jada, and a son, Michael Jr.
The family also includes Vick’s son, Mitez, from a previous relationship.