Posts Tagged Quarterback

The Enigma of Michael Vick and Tim Tebow

M. Vick

Courtesy of USA Today

Michael Vick and Tim Tebow are the same but equally opposite.

I have always been fascinated with Vick and Tebow’s stories. Sure, Vick’s is coming to a close and it has had a lot more dramatic ups and downs, but there are certain similarities I just can’t seem to shake.

Vick came out of school as a once in a lifetime talent. He was lighting fast, had a massive arm and seemed to have all the right tools to win. He did have some off the field problems, but that isn’t unheard of. I mean, who wouldn’t have gotten into a little trouble when you’re treated like royalty as a kid in college. He was highly sought after when he came into the NFL, and even though he didn’t put up great numbers he was exciting and fans loved to watch him.

Then there’s Tebow. The born captain, who got his name for leading his team, a perennial powerhouse, to two championships. He was loud, strong and charismatic. You always hear about it, but he had the intangibles. The kind of things you can’t describe but make people winners. He never thought twice to stand up in front of his teammates, coaches and media and rally his troops. However, even though he had more success in college than Vick he was treated as a lost cause when he came to the NFL. Anyone who saw him during his workouts could see why. He had all the red flags you don’t want your quarterback to have, he takes too long to throw the ball and he has a serious lack of power and accuracy. But the Broncos picked him up and we know how that went.

Courtesy of AP

Courtesy of AP

Here’s what I found interesting about these two men. Being that they are both unorthodox left-handed quarterbacks that rely on their feet in different ways, Vick’s speed and Tebow’s power, they are at the same point but just at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Vick was always given praise coming into the NFL. His talents he acquired naturally and through hard work always outshone his other issues. As a young player he didn’t read defenses well, he couldn’t stand in the pocket, he didn’t lead his team. Of course he did have success winning so it didn’t matter, especially in sports. Vick’s spectacular downfall from superstar to criminal is something that can only be rivaled by Tiger Woods or Kobe Bryant. I know Vick did his time and is working hard for dog related organizations and charities, but the damage has been done. Or should I say was done.

When Vick came back to the NFL people hated him. Many wanted him locked away for good for what he was involved in. However, as bad as his crimes, in sports, especially in America, as long as you win things are forgiven. There are countless stories of people screwing up, but were successful at their profession so it made up for it. America loves tragic stories, but that doesn’t compare to how much we love comeback stories. Vick took a page out of Kobe’s book. For better or worse, once he outed McNabb from the Eagles he was that electrifying player we missed and no longer the convict.

Courtesy of AP

Courtesy of AP

Of course then there’s Tebow. Who was taken by a struggling team with a journeyman quarterback and was seen as a marketing move opposed to a professional one, much like the Jets trade. After getting a chance to show what he could do, because of the fans chanting his name whenever he was near the field, he became the starter in Denver. He wasn’t as electric as Vick, but he did what was most important, he won. He didn’t play well for 3 1/2 quarters but when the game was on the line he same how got the ball in the end zone. Tebow couldn’t really throw the ball or read defenses, but the Broncos for some reason or another just seemed to click when they needed too. When the Broncos beat the Steelers in the playoffs Tebow should have been solidified as the starting quarterback for at least the next year, most other franchises would have done it, let alone a struggling one. I understand why the Broncos did what they did in signing Manning and losing Tebow, but had it been Vick instead of Tebow, I believe Manning would be playing for the 49ers .

The media craze around both of these players has been legendary, obviously for different reasons. One is the ultra-talented fallen star redemption story and the other is the prodigal leader that always gets undercut. The media have hurt and helped both of them in very different ways. Vick was sky rocketed by the media coming out of college and was equally shot down after the scandals came out. Tebow was already shot down and seen as a bust before he stepped on the field and once he started winning no one could talk about anything else. Whether you loved him or hated him Tebow was a national conversation for months. Of course as time went on, Vick was brought back to the pinnacles of high achieving sports superstars and Tebow was sent to ride the bench and occasionally trip over a lineman’s foot if he got called in to run the wildcat.

But as fate would have it, Vick has been struggling all season and Tebow has been cast aside by a joke of a New York Jets team. It would seem fitting for a veteran and experienced Vick to head to the bright lights of NY and Tebow to head back to his home state to take a group of no names to prominence. No matter how their stories unfold, these two men no matter how different they are, seem to be equally the same.

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