Monday, December 7, 2009
"We want Vick! We want Vick!''
Michael Vick, 45 minutes after one of the most memorable games of his star-crossed NFL career, was still so emotional about it that I could almost feel his goosebumps over the phone. The day started with him being booed by the Georgia Dome crowd, but when Andy Reid called a couple of plays catering to Vick's strengths -- and they worked -- the crowd switched. It was a Vick lovefest.
"We want Vick! We want Vick!'' came the chant from every corner of the Dome.
"Awesome, awesome,'' Vick said over the phone from Atlanta. "I had chills down my spine. I will never, ever forget this day. To have them say they want me to be a part of their team, their city ... I just appreciate it so much. I appreciate everything about today. This will always be my hometown-away-from-home ...''
In the 34-7 win over the Falcons (to be fair, playing without Matt Ryan, who got standing ovations of his own in this same Dome last year as Vick's heir), Vick finally got to throw the ball downfield. People credit Vick for his athleticism, and justifiably, but I say he's got one of the three best arms in football, and two years in federal custody didn't rob him of that.
In the Eagles' first 11 games, Vick had touched the ball 18 times and generated 74 unspectacular yards. But in the third quarter Sunday, on third-and-one from the Falcons' five, he wriggled through the line for a five-yard touchdown. And after the chant got loud early in the fourth quarter, Reid put him back in the game and Vick threw a bomb up the left seam. It was so perfectly thrown, bisecting double-coverage, that Reggie Brown got interfered with and still caught the 43-yard throw.
"We've had that play in the playbook all season, but we haven't called it,'' said Vick. "In practice, I overthrow it every week, but this time, the safety bit on it and he [Brown] went up and got it. Thrilling.''
I told Vick the FOX cameras caught him talking to Arthur Blank before the game, and I wondered what they said. "Family stuff,'' he said. "It was good.
We're going to have dinner in the offseason.''