Vick goes the longest yard

Michael Moses

As you probably have heard, Vick had arguably the greatest game for a quarterback in NFL history this past Monday night against Washington.

He has the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award engraved already, and hate it or love it, Michael Vick is the NFL MVP thus far.

His stat line made fantasy footballers drool: 333 passing yards to go along with four touchdowns, adding 80 yards rushing and two scores. And that was basically in three quarters of play.

I think we can all agree that Andy Reid made the right decision by naming Vick the starter over Kevin Kolb after his former starter’s concussion. In his four complete games as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback, Vick is a perfect 4-0, while averaging 282 yards passing, 55 yards rushing and 3.5 touchdowns per game. In the Eagles’ three losses this season, Vick played less than three quarters total.

Look at the ratings for NFL quarterbacks. You won’t find Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or even Philip Rivers — who’s having one hell of a season — at No. 1. That belongs to Mr. Vick.

His quarterback rating of 115.1 leads the NFL. This is the same guy we used to say, “How good would he be if he put it all together?” Ladies and gentlemen, that time is here.

There is no question Michael Vick is the most valuable player in the NFL. If you take him off the field, the Eagles are a completely different team. There’s no absolute scare behind Kolb. Kolb doesn’t have a missile launcher on his left shoulder. He doesn’t threaten the defense with a possible 88-yard bomb, while at the same time potentially running that distance. More importantly, there are no 10-yard pick-ups as an option B. The thing is, there is no other quarterback in the game that has that power.

And to think the world was writing him off.

“Prison did not make him a better quarterback, but it made him a better person. It taught him humility, patience, discipline and the importance of respecting and utilizing his talents instead of wasting and squandering them,” ESPN’s Jim Rome said. “Nobody has done more with a second opportunity than Michael Vick.”

Just 18 months ago, Vick was incarcerated for his role in an illegal dog-fighting ring. Spending 23 months away from football, no one knew how Vick would return and how much of that talent would still remain. One thing is for certain: Nobody thought he would come back even better than before.

With all of the divas in the NFL — the Ochocincos, the TOs, the Favres — none of them came close to Vick’s level of disgust by fans. Even players such as Ray Lewis, Donte’ Stallworth and “Pacman” Jones, all of whom had major run-ins with the law (including murder), were not at the level of Vick. He’s not hated by just PETA; he’s hated by everyday people across the globe.

People continue to hate Vick for what he had done, as they very well should. But none of the players previously mentioned have responded with such on and off the field behavior as Vick has. Players such as Lewis, Stallworth and Jones didn’t spend close to the amount of time away from the game as Vick did, which brings up the question: If Michael Vick hadn’t have gone to prison, would he be where he is today? Would he be even better than his Monday Night Football performance, or would he still be in Atlanta, slinging interceptions and running as if his dogs were chasing him?

We will never know, and it’s better that we don’t. He’s chucked up his deuces and moved on to something better. It took nine years, a jail sentence, a concussion, a coach’s decision and one dramatic comeback to bring Michael Vick where he is now: the 2010 NFL MVP frontrunner.

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].