Analysis: It’s Time To Let Michael Vick Go

By Jeff Schultz
Updated: January 19, 2007

ATLANTA — Say goodbye.

Forget about the unparalleled athletic ability. Forget about the Green Bay game and the Minnesota game and all of the other games we’ve imagined in Fantasyland. Forget the gut shot the team is going to feel when the salary cap is obliterated. Forget marketing ventures, jersey sales and ticket sales.

The diminishing potential of Michael Vick tomorrow is no longer worth the reality of Michael Vick today.

Say goodbye.


Arthur Blank talks about a “Falcon filter” that his players must pass through. Well, Mr. Blank, filter this: Your quarterback is no more ready to lead a football team to a Super Bowl than Jeff Spicoli was to lead the Ridgemont High debate team.

Vick has a $130 million contract. He has lucrative endorsement deals (pending) that alone could feed and clothe small countries. Yet, he tried to sneak a fake water bottle that appeared to have been used to conceal marijuana past airport security.

Let’s put the debate on pot usage aside for a minute. What, Michael Vick couldn’t afford another secret spy bottle and dime bag when he got back home? (Quoting Spicoli as he smacked his head with a shoe: “That was my skull! I’m so wasted!”)

It’s never pretty when arrogance and stupidity collide. With Vick, it has collided too often.

This isn’t about the revelation that one pro athlete possibly likes to get high. Here’s a news flash for you: A lot of people like to get high. Quarterbacks. Plumbers. Your precious angel who just got his college acceptance letter.

Rather, this is about all of the crucial things that Vick lacks after six NFL seasons, and 26 years on earth, and endless reminders about his visibility from the most image-conscious owner in sports: Maturity. Leadership. Common friggin’ sense.

There is a point at which you say, “Enough.” Vick just stumbled right past that point, while trying to get through Miami airport security on his way to a free Air Tran flight (a company that slaps him on billboards).

This comes after a 7-9 season, during which Vick seldom took any responsibility for the ills of the team. He took criticism so well that he gave the finger to home fans.

He ducked several opportunities to defend coach Jim Mora after the season-ending loss in Philadelphia — and whether you believe Mora deserved to be defended or not is beside the point. Leaders step to the forefront. Leaders take the hit.

The file has become too thick. Vick should be trying to impress a new coach, Bobby Petrino. Given the way the last two seasons unraveled, he should be more worried about how to evolve, not how to escape. Taken separately, incidents can be minimized. Collectively, they’re like falling bricks. Training camp this season opened with a Web site running a picture borrowed from the “MySpace” page of Vick’s girlfriend. It showed Vick sitting in a limo, holding what was alleged to be a joint. Vick said it was a small cigar. If he got the benefit of the doubt then, he doesn’t deserve it now.

A woman claimed Vick gave her a sexually transmitted disease. She sued. Vick claimed innocence, but he settled out of court. His legacy? A video game company, Midway Games, liked his clinic alias, “Ron Mexico,” so much that it has a left-handed quarterback playing for the “Washington Redhawks” named “Mike Mexico” on its football game.

There have been guilt by association incidents, most notably when a member of Vick’s traveling party was caught taking a watch from an airport security checkpoint.

Tired of it all? Imagine if you were writing the checks.

Charges have not been filed against Vick. It shouldn’t matter. Vick hasn’t grown up and there’s no reason to believe he ever will. He has had enough time.

When critics pointed to his stats, Vick used to point to his record as a starter. That was the correct thing to do. He was 23-12-1 through 2004.

This year when things fell apart, Vick pointed to his rushing record and increased touchdown passes. Excuse me? His record as a starter the last two years: 15-16.

Vick has talent. But that’s not what his position is about. Quarterback is about all of those intangibles that you can’t measure at the scouting combine.

If Vick has those intangibles, they’re hiding in a mysterious cloud of smoke.

I’m tired of waiting.

The Falcons should be tired of waiting.

Say goodbye.