There’s nothing that sports fans like more than a good comeback story, and nothing that the public enjoys more than a juicy scandal – and Michael Vick’s career trajectory includes a little bit of both. While the public may be preoccupied with some of the less than savory aspects of his history, he’s come storming back into the limelight lately for a reason more related to his athletic prowess than his off the field pursuits. Why, exactly? Well, in case you haven’t been keeping an eye on the goings on in the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out for a while recovering from a knee injury. When Big Ben was carted off with a sprained MCL, Vick stepped into the game – and back into the public eye.
All eyes are on Michael Vick during the upcoming Steelers games to see how he’ll do, but let’s just take a minute to remember who exactly Michael Vick is. If you take a look at some of the tape from his past NFL games, and even his college games, it quickly becomes evident that Vick is positively superhuman. He motors down the field effortlessly, he dodges and darts around opponents like he has springs in his feet, and he manages to pull through in high stakes situations. Here are 10 of his most legendary plays – get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor.
10. The 72 to Wheaton
Lest you think that all of Michael Vick’s greatest plays are a few years back, that he’s way beyond his prime, just take a look at the play that occurred in a recent game against the San Diego Chargers. Vick takes a few steps back, surveys the situation, and right when an opponent is rushing forward to sack him, he throws a gorgeous, gravity-defying spiral straight down the field into the hands of Markus Wheaton. I mean, sure, Wheaton ran to where he saw the ball was going, but take a look at the pass – it basically lands right in his hands once he positions himself, no scrambling ODB one-handed catches necessary. Oh, and did we mention it was a 72 yard toss, basically guaranteeing a leisurely jog to the end zone for Wheaton and a touchdown for the Steelers? Yeah. That happened.
9. The Comeback Over Giants
Every football fan loves seeing memorable plays – after all, there’s a reason that basically every sports network regularly provides clip lists of iconic plays, whether amazing or amazingly bad. However, there’s absolutely nothing more satisfying than a killer comeback – and Vick was at the helm of the ship when the Philadelphia Eagles took on the New York Giants in this memorable game. They were trailing the Giants by quite a large margin for basically the entire game, and had 10 to the Giants’ 31 with less than 10 minutes to go in the game. It’s all over, you can’t get over 20 points in 8 minutes, right? Wrong. Vick starts it off by tossing a killer touchdown pass, then snags endless yards himself, throwing incredible passes, and eventually ties things up with 1:31 to go. They win it with a touchdown that takes place literally within the game’s last few seconds. I mean, it was probably one of the most incredible fourth quarters in NFL history.
8. Superman against the Saints
In a game against the New Orleans Saints, Vick once again proved how evasive and incredible he is on the field. He takes off like a cannon with the ball, dodging Saints left and right, literally leaving a trail of fallen opponents behind him as he attempts to make it to the endzone for his touchdown. Vick zigs, Vick zags, and the only reason his run ends is because an opponent manages to shove him just enough that he’s out of bands, not even to tackle him. This play proves just how fast and nimble on his feet the NFL star is.
7. Two Sacks and a Touchdown
Okay, we’re just going to say it – we’re pretty sure that Michael Vick butters up his uniform before stepping on the field, because what other explanation is there for how often and incredibly he evades the other team’s clutches? In this play against the 49ers, Vick runs into a bit of trouble trying to throw the ball – namely, two separate players from the opposing team trying to sack him right after one another. For a normal quarterback, that might be a dealbreaker. For Vick? He evades the first guy, dodges past the second guy, and whips the ball down the field to his teammate, who snags a touchdown for the team. As you may have predicted, the crowd went absolutely nuts.
6. The slide and spin
Okay, this one is just bananas. There are countless NFL players who have some speedy motors in those legs, but Michael Vick takes things to an entirely new level. In this play, he fools the approaching opponent by faking a slide when he’s trying to power down the field with the ball. The guy trying to tackle him throws himself towards the ground, trying to tackle Vick and grab the ball where Vick’s trajectory appears to be doing. Ah – but, you see, Vick wasn’t actually sliding to the ground. Instead, he lets the guy crash to the ground beside him, does a complete 360 rotation, and then continues down the field like nothing happened.
5. The Six TD Comeback
In a 2010 game against the Washington Redskins, Michael Vick started things off with a jaw-dropping 88-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. Something like that is bound to be the most memorable moment in a game, right? Well… not always, not when Vick is in the zone and delivering his peak performance. Later on in the course of that game, Vick helped lead his team to a staggering six touchdowns, both by making incredible passes to his team mates and by just running the ball himself. It was pretty much like he had installed magnets in the ball – no matter the situation, no matter how badly he was scrambling to toss it before getting sacked, the ball pretty much always found one of his guys that game.
4. The 88 Yard TD Pass
When Vick was an Eagle, there was a particular play in a game against the Washington Redskins that was just unbelievable. Vick got into his QB stance, surveyed the field, and this time he didn’t try to dodge around everyone and run the ball – instead, he tossed a tight spiral down the field to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Yes, Jackson is talented, and had to hustle a few yards to get on the ball’s trajectory, but can we talk about the fact that it was an 88 yard pass? Jackson got the touchdown, because let’s be serious – Vick basically tossed it from one side of the field to the endzone with both accuracy and finesse.
3.The Overtime Touchdown
When Vick was with the Falcons, a particular match against the Minnesota Vikings ended up in overtime. Overtime can be incredibly difficult for players – not only are they all physically exhausted after playing four quarters of football, they also are incredibly stressed knowing that the slightest mistake could cost them the game. However, Vick doesn’t mess around – he trusts his talent, so when things got down to the line, he tucked that ball under his arm, took off down the field, and didn’t stop until he was in the endzone with a game-winning touchdown under his belt.
2. The 82 yard touchdown run
Before finding his current home with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Michael Vick played for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Jets. However, this play doesn’t come from his time in the NFL – it’s from back in his college days playing with Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech was up against Boston College in this game, and though Virginia was ahead by 15 points, Vick wasn’t content to slack off. Ball in hand, he manages to dodge and cut his way through basically the entire opposing offensive line before taking off, motoring down the sidelines before cutting across the field, dodging that final defender, and scoring a touchdown. That’s right – he took it 82 yards from snap to score. I mean, who does that?
1. The Front Flip
Okay, fair warning – if you watch this clip of Michael Vick from college, you’ll get stuck watching it over and over again endlessly, trying to figure out how on earth someone can make a play like that. All the way back in 1999, Vick was playing for Virginia Tech in a game against James Madison University. Virginia was nearly at the endzone, so close that Vick could taste it. He ran the ball, and when a James Madison player started looking like he might sack the budding star, Vick assessed the situation and reacted. Did he dodge to the left? To the right? No – he literally front flipped over the guy and into the endzone.