Vick Makes His Return to Atlanta

Posted: September 16, 2011 by RenzReport in NFL

This Sunday, Michael Vick makes his long awaited return to Atlanta as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.

This match-up promises to be as appealing as Bret Favre’s return to Green Bay in 2009.

This Sunday night match-up will include an Atlanta Falcons franchise that traded for the no. 1 pick in 2001 to draft Vick, who became the first African-American quarterback selected with the no. 1 pick.  Within a span of 6 season with the Falcons, Vick made 3 Pro Bowl appearances and lead the Falcons to the playoffs twice.

With the Falcons, one can remember how exciting of a player Vick was.  From the his scrambling abilities, to the infamous Nike commercials and making the cover of Madden 2004, Vick changed the culture of the game and in a city with the 2nd highest black population in the country.  The fans and surrounding neighborhoods rallied behind their super-star athlete who even had his own signature shoe and was a top jersey seller in the league.  He was the face of not only that Falcon organization, but of that city.   That’s why it was all a sudden disappointment when the dog fighting allegations came forth in 2007 causing Vick to miss the entire season, which later he spent 19-months of a 23-month sentence behind bars and missed the entire 2008 season as well.

From a financial perspective, the Falcons invested millions in Vick.  His rookie contract was a 6 year – $62 million dollar deal.  After playing out 4 seasons, the Falcons organization extended the deal, making Vick the then highest paid player in the league with a new 9 year – $130 million dollar deal, with $37 million in  guarantees.  Unfortunately, Vick only played out 2 season on that deal and the contract was terminated when he broke the NFL player conduct policy with his dog fighting conviction.

By now we know Vick’s success story back to the top which afforded him a new 5 years – $80 million dollar contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Even in the recent success of the Falcons playing behind the new face of the organization, quarterback Matt Ryan, whom was drafted by Falcons with #3 pick in 2008, still plays in the shadow of Vick.  Never will that city rally behind Ryan as they did Vick until he brings a Super Bowl to the city of Atlanta.

This years team has high expectations after the disappointing loss in the playoffs last year to the eventual Super Bowl champions, Green Bay Packers.

But is that fair to Ryan?  In his three seasons as the Falcons starting quarterback, Ryan has had a higher winning percentage than Vick in his first 3 years.  But one has to think, has the recent success of the Falcons been due to the Vick situation?  That’s a another story in itself.

Nonetheless, this will all come to the forefront when Vick lines up against his former team.  A team whom Vick is in debt to as he is required to pay back $20 million of the $37 million he received in bonuses from the Falcons.  So still, 5 years after their break-up, Vick and the Falcons still have ties.

From an organization perspective, the Falcons wish him the best so that he can live out the contract and pay off all his debts within the next 3 seasons of his new deal, but until then, the Falcon players seek to get a much-needed win in fear of starting the season 0-2.

So tune in early to the NBC broadcast to witness the opening introductions.  It’s expected to be a mixture of boo’s and cheers, but I expect more cheers as the ATL faithful will come out and welcome back their own!

  1. LBC says:

    Good post, I look forward to the 3 hours pre-game show discussing Vick in Atlanta. I agree with you though Ryan unless he brings a ring to ATL people will always wonder where they could have been if Vick chose a different path. Who has the bigger game though Ryan or Vick?

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