Revolutionary quarterback calls it a career

Michael Vick has announced his retirement from the NFL at the age of 36.

February 3rd, 2017 marked the end of the career of one of the most revolutionary quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. Michael Vick announced his retirement after 13 NFL seasons.

The 36-year-old decided to call it quits after he remained unsigned through the 2016-2017 season. Before the year started, he had expressed his desire to play one more season, but his opportunity never came. He stated that one of the main reasons for his retirement is that the Minnesota Vikings didn’t call him after their starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, tore his ACL in training camp.

Vick will go down as one of the most electrifying, yet polarizing players in the history of the National Football League.  He entered the league in 2001 after two highlight-filled years at Virginia Tech and was drafted with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.

The athletic lefty was known for his blazing speed and is viewed as the fasted quarterback in NFL history. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at his official pro-day before the draft, but had been clocked as fast as 4.25 seconds in practice. To put this into perspective, the fastest 40 time in NFL Draft Combine history is 4.24 seconds, set by running back Chris Johnson.

Vick became the Falcons full-time starting quarterback in 2002 and rewarded them with just under 3,000 yards passing and another 777 yards on the ground that year. His best year with Atlanta came in 2006 when he passed for 2,474 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also set the record that year for most rushing yards in a single season by a quarterback with 1,039. He led the Falcons to two playoff appearances and made three Pro Bowls in his time with Atlanta.

His career took a turn for the worst in 2007 when he was arrested and sentenced to 23 months of jail time for running a dog fighting ring on his property. While he was in jail, Atlanta drafted his successor in Matt Ryan and proceeded to cut Vick.

He was released from federal prison in May of 2009 after 18 months and ordered to spend the last couple months of his sentence confined to his home.

Several months later, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Vick in a move that was widely protested by animal rights’ activists. They brought him in to compete for the third-string job behind incumbent starter, Donovan McNabb and backup, Kevin Kolb. In week 13 of the 2009 season, he scored his first touchdowns since 2006. He passed for one and rushed for another against his former team, the Falcons, in an Eagles win.

Vick became the starter several weeks into the 2010 season and went on a season long tear. He passed for 21 touchdowns and ran for 9 more, both career highs. Arguably the best game of his career came on November 14, 2010 against the Washington Redskins, when he scored six total touchdowns (four passing and two rushing). He led Philadelphia to a playoff berth and won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

He remained the Eagles’ starting quarterback through the 2013 season.

He was relegated to backup roles his last two seasons in the league with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.

His career stats include 22,464 passing yards with 133 passing touchdowns, and 6,109 rushing yards with 36 rushing touchdowns. He holds the record for must rushing yards in a career by a quarterback.

His lasting legacy is a complex one. He is regarded around the league as a once-in-a-lifetime talent who changed the way the quarterback position is played. He ushered in the era of mobile quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Marcus Mariota just to name a few. However, his career resume will always be tainted with his dog fighting scandal.

Vick is also known by video game fans as the most dominant player in the history of Madden. He graced the cover of Madden 2004 and was virtually impossible to stop in that game. I remember routinely beating my friends in a game of Madden while playing as Vick’s Falcons. My friends commonly referred to him as a “cheat-code.”

He’s going out without much adulation and fanfare. His season-long retirement tour never materialized, but he claims to be at peace with his decision to retire.

Vick attended a Falcons’ ceremony during week 17 of the 2016-2017 season to celebrate the last ever regular season game being played at the Georgia Dome. He received a thunderous ovation at the event.

Referring to the end of his career, he told Josina Anderson, “In this moment right now, I’m willing to say, yeah, I’m officially retired, I think it’s time. I think going through the 2016 season without playing and being able to be a spectator and watch the game and enjoy it from afar and root for a lot of the players and coaches I once played for, I think kind of summed it all up for me. So now I think I’m officially ready, I’m ready to move on to different things in my life and different facets of my life.”

Regarding his Hall of Fame chances, I think they are bleak. His stats don’t compare to other Hall of Fame quarterbacks, many of which have more than double the amount of passing yards and touchdowns he has. I believe voters will also elect to keep him out based on his legal troubles.

Elder freshman Thomas Vinel offered a similar prediction. When asked if Vick was a Hall of Famer, he said “No. I think that his personal issues and conduct off the field will be the main reason he is kept out. I also think his stats don’t live up to Hall of Fame expectations.”

No one can deny Michael Vick’s raw talent and playmaking ability. He had a knack for making something out of nothing and was constantly the most entertaining player to watch in the NFL on a weekly basis. He had an incredible career and it would’ve been even better if he didn’t spend two years of his prime in a jail cell. All in all, Vick changed the game and left his permanent mark on the National Football League.