It’s not an exaggeration to say that Michael Vick revolutionized how the quarterback position is played today. Before Vick, it was rare to see quarterbacks be so effective with their legs.
Players like Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young, and Randall Cunningham had great careers as dual-threat quarterbacks, but they didn’t possess Vick’s combination of arm strength and pure athleticism. With the flick of a wrist, he could chuck the ball down the field 60 yards. On the ground, he could embarrass your best defenders and more than likely be the fastest person on the field at any given moment. The man was so damn good as a runner, NFL writers brought up the fact that he could be the first quarterback to ever rush for 1,000 yards in a season. That’s not normal!
Most running backs in the NFL don’t reach 1,000 yards, and their damn job is to tote the rock. So yeah, the man was a problem on the ground. Coming into the NFL as youngin’, Vick’s job was to save the sad struggling franchise known as the Atlanta Falcons. When he was drafted in 2001 he mainly sat behind the aging Chris Chandler, but in 2002 the Falcons turned the reins over to Vick and the team didn’t look back.
They started the season slowly going 1-3, but caught fire through an undefeated seven weeks bringing them into a Week 13 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings, unlike the Falcons, had some semblance of success as a franchise, but in the 2002 season, they stunk up the joint. Their offense was lethal because of Randy Moss, but on defense, they could barely stop anything. So when the Falcons have a quarterback that I just spent some time hyping up, I’m sure you can imagine the result.
In a tightly contested overtime game, Vick set the then NFL record of most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game with 173 yards. He was deadly on the ground, but was also a little careless with the ball. When running, he often treated it like it was a loaf of bread, which caused obvious problems. And in this game that issue led to two fumbles, and he threw an interception too.
While Vick had his turnover issues, his talent was undeniable and the Falcons relied on him offensively to win games. So with the score tied at 24 in OT, and the Falcons past midfield Vick rolled out to his left, and the next thing you know two Vikings defenders ended up tackling each other. Which, I’m pretty sure they are supposed to tackle the runner? Anyways, to understand more about this moment in history, make sure to peep the video above.