Tag:Michael Vick
Posted on: August 21, 2009 7:59 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2009 8:06 pm

your mom's madden ratings.

I suck at Madden. Maybe I'm not taking it seriously since it's I play at 3 AM with drinks involved. I don't know if I'm doing the slide protection thing right with the offensive line. I'm expecting a losing season online with Madden 10. Whatever, I'm still having fun with the game, maybe not as fun as my NFL2K5 days, but the Miami Dolphins Wildcat formations, anything involving Chris Johnson on the flat, and Michael Turner's stiff-arming bowling-ball running play has been worth the price of admission.

Vick and Favre got their contracts. Props to EA for getting them in the game with player photos and all. Favre is what he is. Rocking purple and horns and a definite upgrade from Tavares and Sage. He's slowed and aged, but capable of making the right plays. Favre isn't going to win the games in Minnesota, the Vikings are.

Vick's return is an interesting one. The overall rating is a 73. EA just brought everything down from the 08 Dogfighter days. I'll point out what he can't do in the game. 69 in deep accuracy, 69 in throw accuracy, and 65 in awareness. They also toned his stiff-arms and spins a few points. But look at this: 90 in speed (three points faster than Pat White), 94 in agility, 92 in acceleration, 95 in ball carrier vision and 93 in throw power. If you ask me that's a potential Tecmo Bo especially on the bootleg.

With my experience in football video games, scrambling quarterbacks are headaches to defend. IGN named Michael Vick as the greatest Quarterback in Madden history, but from my 2K days I managed to overcome Vick abuse by blitzing wisely. You know who really annoyed me? Steve McNair. The guy not only outran a blitz but his scramble passing was so nasty he was a bomb threat to the defense anytime he had a foot behind the line of scrimmage. You rush him, he throws. You nickel him, he goes.

In Madden 10, Vick's throw-on-run is 95. Enjoy.
Can he stiff-arm cornerbacks into obscurity? It's not only possible, it's recommended. You may not realize how potent he is in the game until you try using Vince Young (who I think is a 68 overall). Use Vince with caution, especially if you've had a few alcoholic beverages. For the love of God, NEVER THROW THE BALL with him. Take the sack if you have to. You don't want to know what's going to happen when that ball leaves his arm. It's either going to wrong colored uniform or sailing over the sidelines with Jeff Fisher as the intended receiver.

Madden is not football. It's an entirely different game where one man virtually out-coaches, out-throws, out-runs, and sometimes out-smarts the other in between canned commentary by Cris Collinsworth (I like to turn the commentary off and connect my iPod, it's for the best). Playmaker controls and hitsticks continue to blur the lines that distinguish animated athletes from comic book heroes. Madden is a mythology that boils the blood of both the nerd and the jock.

But what does it mean for the players who dedicate their minds, bodies, and spirits to work Sundays It's already begun to have an impact. T.J.  Houshmandzadeh is boycotting the game  over his 91 rating (tied with T.O. for the 10th best). DeAngelo Hall is using his rating drop (93 to 68) as motivation to improve the Redskins secondary.

Keeping in mind that it's only a video game, how much do Madden ratings really matter?

Posted on: August 2, 2009 4:50 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2009 4:57 pm

a jersey in a thrift store.

Once in awhile, there's a saturday morning where I wake up with t-shirt cravings. I don't know whether or not I'm feelin' the whole "other man's trash is my treasure" axiom, but I go out and just raid places for old threads.

I have shirts of everything.
Bands on my iPod. Bands I don't care to listen to.
Boybands, 80s bands, Hairbands, Hendrix, Marley, Doors, 2pac.
Metallica, Springsteen, RHCP, Stones.
Comic book heroes and villains I grew up admiring.
Comic books I've never read.
Charity functions I've never attended.
High School sporting teams I've never played or practiced with.
Middle school field trips I've been way too old to be a part of.
Even work uniforms. Real, I got friends giving me their work uniforms after they quit their jobs. I've rocked shirts of Blockbuster, Citibank, various restaurants, and retail chains without ever punching a time clock.

And I'm not here to tell you why, we'll save that for another entry if there's an interest.

It's a 1 PM Saturday morning and I find myself stumbling through the aisle of a thriftstore. Reading the front of every t-shirt like magazine covers. Some I snicker at and throw over my shoulder, and once in awhile I'll find a rare gem like one from a concert thrown by The Roots. But in my quest I found something. Something red with a little black mesh. As I drew it off the rack a white number 7. And there it was on the back with a capitalized dirty word, "VICK".

I wasn't surprised to see the price, the number 5 scribbled in sharpie on the inside tag. The image of someone taking this from their own closet, throwing it into a black hefty bag full of clothes to donate with the words "damn", "the", and "dog-killer" flowing through his train of thought. And I'm sure it wasn't the only case.

The shirt was a little big, and despite three minutes of hesitation, I ended up pulling the trigger on the deal. It felt awkward, almost like a sin. Like a joke that isn't read as one. I snapped a shot of it with my blackberry and sent it amongst my friends. Waiting for one of them to tell me I was going to far, I was going to hell, and I was to stay the hell away from their dogs.

I'll rewind the tape and let you all know where I was back in the summer of 2007. Pissed off. I loved Vick's game. I loved the quarterback that could scope the horizon for open receivers, shrug his shoulderpads at the spreading coverage, 86 the pocket, and get the yards himself. It was a bombshell to hear what he was doing to the dogkind. A good dog is a good friend. Sometimes they can be your only friend. Especially when you're on top of the world as a very marketable quarterback with Nike, Coca-Cola, and the city of Atlanta having your back. He betrayed man's best friend. I lost trust, I could no longer be a fan.

After I left, trying the jersey on felt awkward. A bad kind of awkward. Not quite like watching Chris Benoit wrestle or seeing O.J. do something funny in one of the Naked Gun films, but still uncomfortable. I just remember the first time I saw this rush against the Vikings. I'll never forget how I first felt about the DVD (Dunn, Vick, Duckett) offense coming up when we were still renting VHS cassettes. It was insanity. Almost like the way Bo Jackson ran the football in Tecmo Super Bowl on Nintendo. And any play that reminds me of Tecmo Bo, is a testament of talent.

I don't think I'll ever feel that way again.

Vick was tackled by the law. And the legal system made an example of his illegal interstate gambling gig that pitted dogs in deathmatches. And that's how I found the shirt in a thrift store. What I bought was more than just a disgraced jersey, it's a fallen ruin of a football empire that destroyed itself. Thankfully, Atlanta overcame the downfall. And they've put Vick behind them. They're doing a great thing over in Georgia with their faith in Matt Ryan.

Vick did the time, sat out more Sundays than he could count, and now he's conditionally reinstated by the NFL. Will he stand inside another pocket to pass? Does he still have the speed and the senses after missing the game for 2 years? Will the field at his feet feel the same? How will he react to the fans? Can a DVD-style offense flourish in the age of Blu-Ray and Netflix?

Personally, I'm under the impression that he might be able to tap into that "it" factor that once lead the Falcons to that NFC Championship duel against McNabb he had. I always felt he was fine when it came to being on-the-field, but at this moment we don't  even know if he's still going to call himself a Quarterback. We don't know if team owners can give him a comeback chance considering the merciless economy they've had to deal with. And most importantly, we don't know how the fans will react.

Is this a character that can one day redeem likeability?

What Vick is going for is NOT the American Dream. It's something that's harder to describe. Something I wish I could compare to a certain book  like The Great Gatsby and Paradise Lost but I can't. It doesn't grasp the concept. It's just going to be an interesting drama set in the midst of a sport that's all about getting hit, getting back up, and getting every extra inch.  We don't know what color his next uniform will be, or if they'll make one come October when the suspension goes. But if and when they do make a Vick jersey, will it sell for more than $50 at a sporting store or less than $5 at a thrift shop?
Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com