The League

Richard Boadu & Claude Clayborne
6Magazine co-editors

Richard Boadu & Claude Clayborne

Publisher/Co-Editors of 6Magazine - a football and hip-hop culture digital magazine

A video game brought to life


By Aaron Stern

Until Monday night, Philip Rivers was this year's NFL MVP at the midway point of the season. He has single-handedly kept the Chargers alive despite roster tumult and a historically disastrous special teams unit. Mike Vick was in the conversation, but he was more of a Comeback Player of the Year candidate than an MVP.

Last night changes everything.

Mike Vick is becoming what Mike Vick was always supposed to be: A player unlike any other, past or present. He single-handedly wins games with his running, his throwing and - most importantly - because he paralyzes defenses by making them unsure if they should attack him or simply hope to contain him. How else do you get seven seconds to throw the ball in your opponent's red zone? (Well, Big Money Haynesworth could fall down and just decide not to get back up, but that's a whole other story...)

Defend Vick running or throwing? Neither of those options is appealing, but sitting back and doing nothing is the best way to get torched by Vick both on the ground and in the air. He runs like Reggie Bush and throws like Steve Young. At long last, just as he was billed way back when, Vick is that freakish combination of skill sets that was only possible when you designed your own player in Madden.

It didn't used to be this way. You picked your poison as a defensive coordinator, and the best bet was to keep Vick in the pocket: He wasn't going to beat you with his arm. Sure, he could throw a football through a brick wall, but that's not so important when you're trying to drop it between a linebacker and a safety on a 15-yard square-in.

Touch and accuracy weren't Vick's calling cards, not to mention that his passion and commitment weren't exactly admirable. Ask Jorrick Calvin how much Mike Vick cares now. The rookie recovered his own fumble on a third-quarter kick return - and promptly got ripped a new one by Vick, who screamed at Calvin, then shook his head as he trotted out to the huddle. Mind you, the Eagles were up by 24 points when this happened. That is not somebody just collecting a paycheck, that's somebody who wants to win - badly - and isn't tolerating anyone who isn't on the same page.

What's scary is that Vick still has room to improve as an accurate passer. And sure, last night was just his fifth start of the season. But if he keeps this up, he'll be much more than just a remarkable reclamation project. He could just yet turn himself into someone we talk about for years to come - and not just as a cautionary tale.

By Richard Boadu & Claude Clayborne  |  November 17, 2010; 8:23 AM ET  | Category:  Michael Vick , NFL , Philadelphia Eagles , Quarterbacks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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