One of the most polaziring figures in the NFL in the last decade plus is without a doubt Michael Vick. The man went from one of the most interesting and best players in the league to one of the most hated players in league history. He changed the quarterback position and had his fair share of issues off the field.
Michael Vick grew up in an impoverished and violence ridden area in Newport News, Virginia and Vick credits sports with keeping him out of trouble. From the ripe old age of two, Vick’s father taught him football skills and he improved quickly over time. But when he first rose to prominence and made a name for himself, was his freshman year in high school. His high school career impressed scouts everywhere with his ability.
He decided to attend Virginia Tech and continued his dominance as a freshman. He led the Hokies to and undefeated season and a spot in the National Championship game. While his team lost, Vick himself received a ton of awards and notoriety and also finished third in Heisman voting as a freshman, which was almost unheard of.
After declaring for the 2001 NFL Draft, Vick had the interest of a number of NFL teams and when he ran a 4.3 40 yard dash (one of the best of all time for any player), he sat firmly atop the draft board for most teams. And at the 2001 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons made him the first overall selection.
The team didn’t rush him to play in his rookie year as he only started two games and appeared in only eight. In 2002, however, he had his coming out party. He made the pro bowl, led his team to the playoffs and sort of changed the way the quarterback position was seen; all as a second year player. The way Vick changed the QB position is because he was not only a precision passer, he was one of the best rushers in the league as a QB. Qbs had been runners before, but not like Vick.
Over the next few years, Vick conitued to dominate with his legs and his arm, becoming one of the best players in the NFL. Then, in 2007, his life would change forever. That is because he was implicated in a multi-state dog fighting ring that had been going on for five years.
It was reported he was not only a part of it, but was funding it, promoted it and it took place on his property. He had also killed dogs that had not performed well. As you would expect, this caused a MASSIVE uproar and instantly caused Vick to be one of the most hated athletes out there. He was eventually charged and served 21 months in prison.
After being released and reinstated into the league in 2009, he signed with the Eagles. And while he experienced some success, his reputation amongst the public was tarnished forever and he will likely never be forgiven by most for what he had done.