As Football Begins Anew Is Michael Vick A Tragic Figure

Updated: August 7, 2006



In an interview

with Bill Rhoden this past week

Atlanta QB Michael Vick

sounded Forlorn

That at all of 26 he was already contemplating the end of his Football career just as statistics would indicate a Starting NFL Quarterback is entering his Prime. In the Box it is easy to write in terms of Symbolism and Great Drama because here if not on your typical sports page that is what it is.

Hamlet comes to Mind

the brooding Prince of Denmark

with everything before Him

yet sensing Doom

Michael Vick was dubbed by many the Greatest Athlete to ever play Football. And his highest ever $ 120Million contract with the Atlanta Falcons reflects as much. Can you make $ 120Million and be a Tragic Figure ?

As with Hamlet

an invention of

Shakespeare’s mind

( and some history )

Tragedy is in the mind of its Beholder. And as with Hamlet this Tragedy if it is takes place is on another Stage where entertainment is performed The Gridiron. While Michael Vick captured the nation’s attention while in college at Virginia Tech as the Wonder Boy, his style of Quarterbacking was called “revolutionary.”

And it was

There may have been Pretenders before ( Fran Tarkenton long ago ) but no one in history was so adept at both passing and running the Football at Quarterback. Vick as much is not more of a Threat running the Ball as passing it. And Vick had the size, stamina and determination to pull it off.

The Expected happened

Michael Vick was # 1 Choice

in the NFL Draft in 2001

More than just his own Godlike skills Vick was going to be the Prototype for the Quarterback of the Future. That is why he was Revolutionary. Football as we knew it was going to be torn apart and remade. As a new Generation of Quarterbacks in the image of Vick took over in college and the Pros.

It was an entrancing concept

( we even bought in for awhile )

What happens to Defenses, the players and their coaches, when you face a team and you have no idea whether the Quarterback will pass or run the Ball himself. If it worked it would force Defenses to be redesigned in the Hope of effectively countering the Dual Threat. And most often Failing.

Like many Good Theories

they don’t really work

that’s why Michael Vick

may be a Tragic Figure

Hamlet in our Book

While Vick ws Invincible in his 2 seasons with Virginia Tech before turning Pro, he has found a different World in the NFL where only the best of the best are Drafted at every position including Defense by every team and where all these guys play for very real. Every Sunday they go for the Jugular.

Looking at Sport Illustrated’s NFL injuries page for Vick is instructive. His major injury which has colored his entire career since was his Broken Leg at the start of the 2003 season. But since 2001 he has also suffered 1) back, 2) shoulder, 3) thumb, 4) hand, 5) ankle, 6) hamstring, 7) knee and 8) rib injuries.

And Vick is one of the most finely tuned athletes

in the game of Football

The problem is the inherent limitations for a Quarterback who attempts to be TWO key players in one body or if you prefer fielding a 12 player Offense against an 11 man Defense. Trying to be Superman as a Human.

Michael Vick gets Beat Up

every Game

And no one on the playing field is more vulnerable than a Quarterback who frequently runs with the Ball. It would be bad enough if it were all “fair” but in reality 1) late hits, and 2) aggressive tackles make it Worse for Vick.

The fact is

The Highly Mobile Quarterback

is not going to

Revolutionize Football

Michael Vick for all his talent, success and excitement is proving the Point. From the individual Quarterback’s perspective as well as the team and the coaches’ that kind of play is as High Risk Strategy.

TOO HIGH a risk to be a practical way to run a team for the long haul especially in the NFL if not college.

Vick is now a victim of Fate.

He can and will cut down on his running most likely but if he stops running the Ball frequently he is not Michael Vick anymore. And he has no way to turn himself into a more “traditional” Quarterback which he has never been, and now be as effective. On top of that with the bruising punishment he takes game after game at all of 26 he is looking at his “mortality.” There is no way for him to continue to be as quick and evasive as he was in his younger years.

Worst of All

Vick is one more season ending broken leg or arm away from becoming a truly Tragic Figure. Were that to happen there is no doubt Atlanta would decide to build the future of the Falcons around another Quarterback.

Vick would be relegated to either an occasional starter and backup or more likely he would find a new home with a lowly NFL team desperate for a Quarterback any Quarterback to give them Hope.

Whether Vick defies the Odds and goes on to the best years of his still young career, wins SuperBowls for Atlanta and avoids injuries while continuing to pass and run the Ball bringing the Falcons new Glories ……..

More than anything else

Vick may have provided young Black Quarterbacks and even younger Black kids considering Quarterback as their position an Invaluable Lesson. Young African Americans don’t have to should not strive to be something White Quarterbacks can never be in order to succeed in college or the pros.

African American Quarterbacks

don’t have to be Super Men

they just have to be

or not to be


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