I watched the Falcons/Jaguars game last night and, aside from Jacksonville rookie Matt Jones’ sensational one-handed diving catch, I saw something else of interest: the same old Michael Vick. Many feel Vick is nothing more than a SportsCenter highlight and a fantasy football tease, and from a purely statistical standpoint, that’s certainly a valid point. But when it comes to Vick, I’m not so sure that statistics tell the entire story.
Vick threw for 2,313 yards and 14 TDs vs. 12 interceptions while running for 902 yards and an additional three TDs in 15 games last year. Of course, everyone latches on to the impressive rushing totals, which is certainly understandable considering he ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing yards, ahead of running backs Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk, Julius Jones and Duce Staley. But when you add up Vick’s total production, you’re left with 3,215 yards and 17 TDs, hardly gaudy numbers compared to those put up by guys like Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb and Trent Green.
But when analyzing Vick, the only stat that really matters at this point in his career is 11, which is how many wins the Falcons had last season. Vick may not match the statistical output of Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper, but he’s not the same kind of quarterback. While opposing defenses only need to worry about Manning beating them with his arm, Vick’s athleticism gives defensive coordinators nightmares because, quite frankly, he’s the most dangerous guy on the field. Sure, he makes poor reads and, occasionally, even worse throws, but he can also turn a 10-yard loss into a 30-yard run, and that kind of playmaking ability can’t be ignored.
In this fantasy football era, fans have become obsessed with statistics, and since Vick hasn’t taken a giant statistical step forward in his NFL career, many of these fans are quick to label him as a failure. But the NFL is about winning, not about compiling stats, and considering the Falcons were one win from the Super Bowl last year, I’d say Vick is doing everything right, even is his numbers may suggest otherwise.