Vick played in the NFL for four different teams from 2001 to 2015 after nearly winning the Heisman Trophy with the Virginia Tech Hokies in 1999. Vick started his career with the Atlanta Falcons when they took him at the No. 1 overall spot in the 2001 draft.
After serving time in prison for dog fighting charges after the 2006 season, Vick came back and played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2009 to 2013 before serving as a backup for the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Former Falcons, Eagles QB Michael Vick was ahead of his time
While there were mobile QBs in the NFL before Michael Vick, Vick was the first one to have an offense properly utilize his mobility.
He expressed how thankful he was for former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Reeves on the Pat McAfee Show. At the end of the clip, Vick explains why he thinks he would’ve broken records and won Super Bowls in the modern NFL.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 8, 2024
Reeves had plays that were designed just for Vick as opposed to forcing Vick to pass and only use his feet as a last resort. The modern NFL has several offenses in which a QB’s feet are essential to the operation of the offense.
When Vick was in his prime as an NFL QB, the idea of the run, pass option (RPO) had not made its way to the NFL. Mobile QBs like Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson and even Patrick Mahomes have made a living off of utilizing the RPO. When the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl with Mahomes at the helm, they led the league in RPOs run that year.
Mahomes is a mobile QB, but his mobility is nothing compared to Michael Vick, who ran a 4.33 40-yard dash. Vick was still able to win games with his legs, but his ability to gain yards through the air could’ve been much greater had his team utilized RPOs.
RPOs have the ability to cause the defense to freeze as there are several things the quarterback could do with the ball on any given play. The sheer idea of the RPO causes passing lanes for mobile QBs to open up.
KC led the NFL in most RPO (Run Pass Option) plays last year.
Watch Mahommes read 41. flow with the sweep and throw it behind him in the void. If 41 had dropped into coverage, Mahommes would have handed off to the runner.
Looks like more RPOs in 2020. pic.twitter.com/lGlKqXXpwY
— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) September 11, 2020
There goes that pesky college offense infiltrating the NFL. Smart to go for playside RPO here. pic.twitter.com/H5CaHwMOnB
— Diante Lee (@DianteLeeFB) October 1, 2017
KC led the NFL is the most RPO attempts in 2019. (Run Pass Option). Here Mahomes reads the BSLB (no one blocks him). If he drops in coverage, QB hands off to the RB on the OUTSIDE ZONE play. If BSLB flows (just a bit), he throws to the TE in the LBers voided zone pic.twitter.com/zVB86FxZGv
— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) February 3, 2020
Former Falcons, Eagles QB Michael Vick did break records in his era
Michael Vick set many records during his career when playing with the Falcons and the Eagles, some of which still stand today. Vick held the record for most rushing yards in a season by a QB before it was broken by Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson in 2019.
Vick still owns the record for most rushing yards by a QB in a career with 6,109 rushing yards on 873 attempts. His seven yards per carry still stands as a record for QBs as well.
Jackson will likely break Vick’s record as he is less than 1,000 yards away and has only been in the NFL for six years. Jackson’s six yards per carry may not eclipse Vick’s current record.
Vick’s only career NFC Championship Game was against his future team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the 2004-2005 season. Vick and the Falcons lost 27-10 to the Eagles and Vick would never make it that far into the postseason again.
Vick was also playing in an era that was significantly less protective of the QB as well as the wide receivers on the receiving end of the ball. Legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos safety John Lynch, who played in the same era as Vick, doesn’t think his style of play would be allowed in today’s NFL.
Think these hits would be penalties in today’s NFL? John Lynch agrees pic.twitter.com/EOCbH8YJVN
— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) August 27, 2018
Tackling is officially a personal foul in the NFL now. Called on 58 for “body weight on the QB”. What do you guys think??? pic.twitter.com/XBDtHHciJF
— Chris Reed (@ChrisReed_NFL) August 31, 2018
The body weight rule is absolutely insane and the NFL rules committee must be stopped. pic.twitter.com/x8b8SXS6kx
— Christian Williams (@CWilliamsNFL) November 5, 2023
In addition to not being able to go high on quarterbacks in the NFL, players are also not allowed to go low. The rule was implemented to protect quarterbacks’ knees.
— Chris Reed (@ChrisReed_NFL) September 13, 2018
Had Vick played 15-20 years later would have been able to play in a league that is rife with offenses catering to his playstyle. He also would have been in a league that is much more protective of him and the players with which he is playing.
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