Last week we were treated to one of the most asinine assertions to come out of the mouth of a once, briefly, relevant National Football League player. While it’s fine for certain players to have a bit of an ego and make comments about how important that are to the sport, when certain other players try to overinflate their importance it can be a bit maddening. If a player the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Cam Netwon were to speak about being one of the most important players with their skill set in the history of the game it’s more acceptable than someone who’s not even starting for their team.
Michael Vick stated a week ago that he’s the man who “started it all” for running quarterbacks in the National Football League, one of the most absurd statements ever uttered by Vick. While I’ll give Vick credit for being the catalyst for the latest influx of mobile quarterbacks in the League, there is no way that he can truly substantiate his claim that he was the first running quarterback, he can’t even claim to be the best of his particular skill set. Personally, I would have to put Steve Young ahead of Vick on the all time list considering his Super Bowl success, a game that not only has Vick not won, he’s never even reached.
Manning, although he hasn’t, could claim to be the best drop back passer in the history of the league, his number certainly justify the statement, even if he’s not carrying a ton of Super Bowl rings. Tom Brady could make the claim to being one of the greatest late round draft choices in NFL history, his rings are hard to argue with, but to my knowledge he hasn’t done this as of yet. While he’s still early in his career Newton has the ability to claim he’s had the greatest rookie season of all time, and possibly greatest start to a career ever, outside of Super Bowl wins, something that could actually rank him higher than even Vick on “greatest mobile quarterback” of all time by the time he’s ready to retire. And even with Newton’s ego he hasn’t made these claims.
Michael Vick’s claim is even more absurd when you step back into the college ranks, while mobile quarterbacks are the norm in the NFL these days they’ve been around for quite some time in the ranks of the NCAA. If it weren’t for a young man named Charlie Ward at Florida State University there’s a chance that Michael Vick may never have gotten his chance at Virginia Tech. Ward was an absolute phenom, his ability to run the ball combined with his passing skills were unlike anything seen on a collegiate football field before, earning him a Heisman and a place as one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game of college football.
While I don’t think Vick’s place in NFL history is just a footnote, he was a pretty big deal in the League up until that whole dog fighting thing. Vick made teams actually gameplan specifically for him the way Lawrence Taylor did on the defensive side of the ball, that’s no small achievement and deserves the respect that comes with it, but his run in the position was too short lived to have the ego he’s sporting when he comments that he “started it all.” When you make a claim this big you better have the numbers to back it up, unfortunately Vick’s numbers just aren’t anywhere near as great as they should be to substantiate his claims. If you aren’t the first, or best, to do it in the college ranks, don’t claim to be such on the pro level. What’s that saying again, better to look a fool than to open your mouth a remove all doubt? While Vick has some rather nimble feet, he needs to be careful to keep them out of his mouth.