Four years ago almost to the day we signed Michael Vick. Where were you when you heard the news?
I was in Bozeman, Montana slicing limes and picking basil leaves off the stem to prepare for the busy night I was about to endure as a bartender at a local restaurant and bar. I was listening to the preseason game in the background when the words were said, "This just in, the Eagles have just signed Michael Vick" (or close enough). I dropped my knife and started jumping around. I was excited. Really excited. I'm not sure why. I like dogs and I've never been a huge fan of Michael Vick. In fact I was in Richmond when he was initially brought to the court room. My friends and I were debating going out and protesting and being part of the hoopla. Then we got baked. But I digress. I was excited in 2009 about the possibilities. I was excited that the Eagles did something, well, exciting.
However, not everyone reacted the same as me. I jumped on BGN after work to see what people were saying. Many were angry, many were confused, many were indifferent. I understood each reaction.
But there he was- signed to a 1 year deal and used as a gadget player. He ran wildcats and short pass plays on occasion for the majority of the season until week 13. He played against his old team, the Falcons. He lit it up. he looked sharp. He ran for a touchdown and threw for a touchdown. He then won the Ed block courage award. It was then I felt he really became a part of this team. Then came the playoffs when we brutally lost to the Cowboys (twice in a row). Vick played, and he threw a 76 yard bomb to Maclin. It was a tough game to watch, but the glimmer of hope shone brighter on the once electrifying QB.
Then the next season happened. Kolb went down. Vick became a super star. He was voted NFC Offensive player of the month, got "Madden-like" against the Redskins, and damn near won the league MVP, 2nd place in Madden cover votes (Payton Hillis? Seriously??).
So here we are now. It's 2013 and no one could have predicted the effect that the Vick signing would still have on us today. He beat out Kolb, he beat out Foles, and the Eagles have yet to find a better replacement. He had a bad few years, that's for sure. However, to see the coaches and his teammates talk about him the way that they do is fairly remarkable.
Not everybody loves MV7, but there's one thing that's for sure: he has lead this team and fan base on a roller coaster of emotions since the day he signed. With the NFL, I believe that is what makes a fan truly loyal. Sharing the spectrum of emotions.
I'm proud to see Michael Vick still garnering praise. It's not handed to him like it was in Atlanta. He has earned it. And he has certainly justified my excitement for his signing on that fateful day in Bozeman.