Much like James, Vick had the King Midas touch and relished being the gold standard by which players were judged. Also, much like James, Vick’s performance on the field was voided of accomplishment. Both players entered their prospective leagues with unbridled fanfare and hype.
James handled the hype with maturity well beyond his years. Conversely, Vick stumbled at every pass and would eventually find himself behind the Great Steel Gate.
Now entering his 11th season in the NFL, the quarterback, that was supposed to change the game, is still ring less.
The quarterback who was supposed to revolutionize the position, and to some extent has, still has yet to participate in a Super Bowl.
Time has been kind to Vick in a way it was not for James and maybe that is why he has never played in a Super Bowl, yet alone win one.
Vick was allowed to skate in Atlanta, until his lackadaisical attitude upset the wrong people and football was taken away from him. The Falcons never experienced back to back winning seasons during Vick’s tenure with the club.
The Falcons' quarterback would win his first playoff game in dramatic fashion, by going into Lambeau Field and slaying the then invincible Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
Sadly, it has been 11 years since that improbable victory and the quarterback has failed mightily in building on what should have been a major moment in his career and not the peak of his career. In fact, Vick has lost four of his six playoff contests including his last three playoff games. This was not the plan for the man many believed had the ability to redefine the quarterback position.
Yet, a prison sentence has absolved the former Virginia Tech Hokie from any real criticism for the last three seasons. However, those same failures that were rooted in Atlanta have branched out to Philly.
The 2010-2011 season was marred by unmet expectations and serves as a microcosm of Vick’s career. The Eagles had Super Bowl aspirations last season and No.7 came up short, regardless of the reason for his failure, he stilled failed. This has been the quarterback’s true calling card during his time in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons had Super Bowl dreams during Vick’s tenure, but lived through regular season nightmares.
The blame for 2012’s 8-8 record, while viewed as a universal disappointment, managed to miss the quarterback who might.
The malaise caused by the 2013 season and subsequent 4 -12 record was not Vick's fault, after all the quarterback was only responsible for seven of those losses. The 21 turnovers No. 7 accounted for were because of effort, not ineptitude.
With every "reason" it has become evident the missed games due to injuries, the interceptions, and the fumbles have become customary in the career of Michael Vick.
This is unacceptable, point blank period. Vick, like James, is a once in a generation athlete who has run out of excuses. The time is now for No.7 to maximize on the talent that he has so blatantly taken for granted. The quarterback is a cerebral player who has immense talent, unfortunately he has allowed the world to convince him his talent is enough.
James became a champion simply by wanting to succeed as bad as he wanted to breathe. The boy who became King sacrificed iconic stature in Cleveland to gain immortality in Miami. He perfected his craft by cultivating his mind through watching game film and dissecting the mind of Hakeem Olajuwon in the offseason.
James prepared his body by eliminating thresholds and pain limits he had grown comfortable reaching. Lastly, the forward gave his soul to the game and was rewarded with the ultimate success. The Heat icon is no longer just a great player, James is now a champion.
Vick must invest more because frankly, he owes more. The quarterback has cheated the game that has given him multiple 100 million dollar contracts. The signal caller has committed the egregious act of believing he no longer needed to perfect his craft, when in actuality he needed to strive harder for perfection than ever before.
The quarterback needs to watch more film.
The quarterback needs to spend more time working with receivers.
The NFL community has given Vick forgiveness in the same way it gave him super stardom. The truth is he earned forgiveness through culpability for his transgressions off the field. Who will pay reparations for his transgressions on the field? Time no longer will afford him the benefit of the doubt, the children who rooted for him are now the men who have accepted his failures and continue to expect them.
Is this how we want to remember Michael Vick?
Is he truly destined to become a caricature rather then a champion?
Only one man can answer that question with certainty, and the answer is long overdue. It is time for the Eagles’ quarterback to repay the mortals who gave him immortality.
The 2013-2014 season should have already began for Vick because the clock has stopped ticking.
The number one overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft and the first ever African-American quarterback to ever have that distinction, has gone from anticipated success to expected failure. In that expectance Vick has never been asked to return the riches of the throne that was given to him, unlike James.
However, Vick must desire to earn those riches and the Kingdom that has been given to him, the way James did. In life the phrase "worked hard" is always uttered by those who have fell short of their goals, while "hard work" is uttered by those who routinely exceed theirs.