By: Luke Feliciano ~Staff Writer~
“I changed the game.” Those were the words of former NFL quarterback Mike Vick as he stated his claim to be a future candidate into the Hall of Fame. Let’s take a moment here and hold our horses because the former Atlanta Falcons standout isn’t going to soar into Canton anytime soon. Instead, he’ll be grounded, and his wings should be clipped.
For some, there is a strong argument to eventually vote Vick into the Hall of Fame. Truthfully, Vick did change the game to some degree. Statistics aside, Vick was one of the first true dual-threat quarterbacks early in his career, a time when a majority of the league had strictly pocket-passing quarterbacks. If Vick didn’t pick you apart on the ground, he would torch you with a bullet for a lefty sling. Vick’s image graced the covers of Madden 2004, and his character was nearly unstoppable, being compared to Bo Jackson in Techmo Bowl.
Vick may have revolutionized the game with his elusiveness and innate ability to make something out of nothing, but how do his numbers stack up? Vick does hold a few NFL records from his time in the league, including the most career rushing yards by a quarterback (6,109) and the most single season rushing yards by a quarterback (1,039).
While Vick’s flashy style of play dazzled fans, his numbers simply don’t measure up to other Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks. In terms of pure passing, Vick ranks 89th in career passing yards (22,464). Additionally, he has 133 career passing touchdowns, which ranks him 97th overall in that category. Vick also has an 80.4 passer rating, which utilizes multiple statistics relevant to a quarterback, including passing attempts, touchdowns, completions, yards and interceptions. His career QBR sits at a ranking of 64. If the selection committee for the NFL Hall of Fame takes mostly statistics into account, Vick is nowhere near Hall of Fame status. Unfortunately for Vick, a self proclaimed defense won’t be enough to get him to Canton, nor should it.
The main reason behind my argument to not allow Vick into the Hall of Fame isn’t based on his play at all but rather his actions off the field. Vick’s costly mistake came in 2007 when he was convicted for being involved in a dog fighting operation that landed him in prison for 18 months. As a response to the charges filed against Vick, Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely and publicly stated that it was “not only illegal, but also cruel and reprehensible.”
Vick’s career began to fall down the spiral staircase after his conviction. He missed the entire 2007 and 2008 seasons before returning to the Falcons after his release from prison. The fact of the matter is that Vick never fully returned to form after his comeback. He had one good season after his conviction, the 2010 season with the Philadelphia Eagles, but, other than that, football fans only saw Vick show occasional flashes of his former self.
Michael Vick will never be and should not be let into the NFL Hall of Fame. Amidst a destructive and disturbing wave of NFL players being charged with serious acts of violence, it seems pretty clear-cut that the league does not tolerate this behavior. That same standard should apply to Vick, who made a very poor decision nearly a decade ago. The Hall of Fame is for players who not only excelled on the field but also displayed exemplary character off the field.
Michael Vick’s numbers simply do not stack up to the rest of the quarterbacks already in the Hall of Fame. As elusive as Vick was in his playing days, he simply won’t be able to slip by the criticism he’ll receive because of the rash decisions he made off the field. Simply put, Vick should never be admitted into the Hall of Fame, but if he ever is, it won’t be anytime soon.
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