I found myself having a conversation the other day about the most monumental sports tragedies of the current era. The deaths of Junior Seau and Steve McNair were brought up along with the murder charges brought against Aaron Hernandez. But as an avid admirer of all things Atlanta Falcons, the answer was clear — when Michael Vick was accused of dog fighting in April 2007.
The very second the news broke, it seemed as if every bit of optimism and excitement surrounding the future of the Falcons, and the NFL for that matter had instantly depleted. The most electrifying and marketable player in the NFL was now face-to-face with felony charges and the hope of ever seeing Vick in an Atlanta jersey again dwindled away almost instantly.
Just like that, one of the most iconic and beloved figures is sports became the culprit for hatred across the nation as the centerpiece of the Falcons’ franchise was sure to have played his last game as their star quarterback.
Vick went on to be convicted of his felony charges and paid his just due to society by way of 21 months in a federal prison. What little faith Falcons’ fans held onto about Vick returning as a Falcon was crushed as owner Arthur Blank made the decision that Vick’s second chance in the NFL wouldn’t be in Atlanta.
Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles too their chance on Vick and it panned out nicely for both sides. The Eagles got a quarterback who proved to the world he can still play at a Pro-Bowl level while Vick received another hefty paycheck.
Numerous injuries and another NFL team later; Vick is now a New York Jet. Unfortunately for Vick, the starting job is far from a guarantee as Geno Smith currently stands as the favorite for the job. The truth in this got me thinking about Vick’s future as a quarterback and if he will ever start another game.
If Smith wins the starting job by the time the Jets’ season opener rolls around, the answer is most likely not.
So if Vick’s days as a starter have come to a close, his eventual road to retirement now becomes much more realistic. This is where the Falcons come back into play. Vick currently has only a one-year deal with the Jets and next summer, he will again be a free agent.
At this point, Vick should understand his starting quarterback window has closed and if he has accepted his role as a backup quarterback, I think Atlanta would be a great place for Vick to finish the home stretch of his career.
Arthur Blank and Vick have had a storied relationship dating back to Vick’s days in Atlanta and even into his days as an Eagle. In addition to that, if there were ever a fan base that would welcome Michael heading into his 13th season, it’s the city that lived and breathed on every elusive scramble he broke for in the Georgia Dome.
Vick would be able to return to the city that truly loved him running the show for the Falcons offensively as well as being able to finish his days in the NFL right back where they began.
As for the Falcons’ starting quarterback, Matt Ryan, even he could learn a few things about the position from the older and more experienced Vick, who would be a definite upgrade as the Falcons’ backup quarterback. Plus, if Ryan continues to take hits the way he has the past couple seasons, it would save tons of wear and tear on Ryan if Vick could come in and make some defenders look silly just as he did for so many years.
I know the possibility of this actually turning into a reality is slim-to-none at best, but it could make a lot of sense for Vick as well as put a smile on the faces of Falcons’ fans across the country.