Vick’s return will illustrate division in Atlanta

This run against Chicago aside, Michael Vick largely has been a non-factor for Philadelphia.

Except for this 34-yard run against Chicago, Michael Vick has been a non-factor for Eagles.

As you might have read, Michael Vick expects, “to get a great reaction from the crowd. It’s going to be a standing ovation,” when he returns to Atlanta next Sunday with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Well, I will agree with him to this point. He will get a reaction.

When Vick was at the top of his game, he united this city more than any other athlete. But when he declined and then train-wrecked his career and the Falcons’ franchise with his off-field issues, he divided Atlanta. Those hard-core Vick fans who bought Falcons season tickets, more to see him than the team, have defended him throughout and blamed others for his faults, even when he admitted guilt. Others have refused to let go of their hatred, saying Vick should never have been allowed back in the NFL.

When Michael Vick comes back to Atlanta, I will . . .

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Neither group should surprise anybody. This is sports. Sports is emotional. Emotion often clouds judgment and objectivity.

A divide still exists and Sunday’s Falcons-Eagles game will illustrate that. Some will stand and cheer their hero’s return. Some will stand and hurl insults at the man they’ll never forgive. Others will ignore the whole thing and spend more time on the hot-dog-or-nachos debate.

Of all the “returns” sports has experienced, this will be one of the strangest. Vick has been a non-factor for the Eagles. Coach Andy Reid has struggled to work the “wildcat” offense into the game plan, and Vick has admitted he’s not thrilled with it anyway. He makes cameo appearances in games. He’s only 3-for-9 as a passer and has rushed for 65 yards, with 34 coming on one carry against Chicago two weeks ago.

When Vick returns to the Georgia Dome Sunday, he’ll mostly watch Donovan McNabb run the Philadelphia offense. He’s an afterthought for Reid. I’m guessing once the game begins, he’ll become an afterthought for most fans — at least until he makes an appearance. Then there will be noise. Lots of noise. We’ll hear and see the division.

How will you react? I realize any Michael Vick blog is combustible. But I’ve got a poll up asking which side of Vick fence you stand on (boo, cheer, don’t care), and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.

One final request: It’s OK to be passionate with your debate. But please keep commenting clean and free of obscenities and racial overtones, otherwise I will quickly close the forum. Thanks.

558 comments Add your comment

MiltonDawg

November 30th, 2009
7:14 am

This will be a hostile crowd in the Dome. I hope Vick comes out for 1 play and throws an INT or gets sack. Enough said!!

Who cares...

November 30th, 2009
7:15 am

…he is a has been who now sounds like the former Seminole who played here – he does not play and is still a wannabe.

Stay on topic and let m and saint simons know that the mudhole and the 30 – 24 score will be there for 362 more days!

JoeG

November 30th, 2009
7:16 am

It will be a big game regardless of Vick’s return. I think he should get the respect he deserves for the good things he did here and after that treat him as any other opponent. No reason to hold grudges for what has happened before. We are in a better place now, so we should just move on.

MiltonDawg

November 30th, 2009
7:17 am

JS- does we get a “super-sized” Tuesday countdown this week since there was none last week?
Watch the crowds this week be split down the middle. I guarantee you, you’ll see Falcon/Vick fans booing their own team because Vick is in town. Some people just can’t get over the past. Move on folks, he’ll be with another team next year anyways.

Nate

November 30th, 2009
7:22 am

I will boo. Not because he single-handedly caused the downward spiral of this franchise. But because this KID had the sportsworld in his hands and wasn’t bright enough to understand the to opportunity that he had to really becaome a great sports figure and ICON for the city of Atlanta. It’s funny how athletes and fans of said athletes complain and blame the media when they are “CAUGHT”, blame their upbringing when they are caught and STILL make excuses after they express remorse. Be it real or fake, the remorse that is.

FalconUGAFan

November 30th, 2009
7:22 am

We are playing the Eagles, nothing more. We cannot afford another loss.

Nick

November 30th, 2009
7:23 am

I wouldn’t exactly cheer but I’m happy when he does well (like that 34 yd run). I think his punishment and exile have been overdone and so I hope he has a chance to succeed in the NFL. Don’t know if he will succeed even if given the chance, but the extent to which he was blackballed on his return irked me and smacked of a hyper political correctness. But Vick’s a non-story this coming Sunday. Both teams will be playing with 100% focus on the game and no matter how you slice it, Vick is a distraction to the Eagles offense right now. One wild card: Do you take advantage of Vick’s desire to do well in ATL and throw him in there for more than a play or two?

Reality

November 30th, 2009
7:35 am

It’s HIS city..He loves us… Why would he “have a desire to do well” against his adoring fans?

Maddog

November 30th, 2009
7:35 am

“Vick’s return will illustrate division in Atlanta”

And, unfortunately, for the most part it will be along racial lines.

Jennifer

November 30th, 2009
7:38 am

I understand having no reaction at all, but cheering for him? Seriously?? Anyone who cheers for that sicko is just as morally bankrupt as he and all of his thug pals. Simply the fact that he’s arrogant (and remorseless) enough to say that he expects a standing ovation should be enough to keep your butts in your seats and your mouths shut. Don’t give him that satisfaction.

Tiger

November 30th, 2009
7:45 am

Much respect to the Eagles for realizing that there are second chances out there. I hope Vick runs a 98yard TD with 29seconds on the clock to beat the Falcons 21-14 on Sunday. The way Blank cut him loose after all of the money he made him just shows what he is really about. Go Eagles!

tom

November 30th, 2009
7:48 am

I could care less. Until he goes to a team and is there starting quarterback, no one will know if he can pull it together and be a superstar.

greg

November 30th, 2009
7:49 am

So yesterday….

MyView

November 30th, 2009
7:56 am

As an Atlanta sports fan I would never disrespect my home team by cheering for an opposing player in an Atlanta venue. I was a huge Vick fan when he played for the Falcons. He is no longer a Falcon, so I have no reason to cheer for him. I would only boo him if he got into the game and began to hurt the Falcons with his play. Not because of his personal issues.

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 30th, 2009
7:58 am

Atlanta is still Deion’s city, MV7, just ask him.

Ted Striker

November 30th, 2009
7:59 am

On Sunday we’ll learn something about the level of class of certain Atlanta fans in attendance.

As for myself, I hope Vick performs well in an Eagles loss, if he enters the game.

Bud Wiser

November 30th, 2009
7:59 am

“…He makes cameo appearances in games. He’s only 3-for-9 as a passer and has rushed for 65 yards, with 34 coming on one carry against Chicago two weeks ago.

And that, my friends is as brief and succinct analysis of his bi-polar career here in Atlanta as well. Like a hockey or a soccer match, many came to Falcons’ games just to perhaps see that one bright and shining moment that Vick built his glass house reputation on. Also, he was an icon to the black community, who as a rule are very reluctant to turn on one of their own.

I’ll be at the game.

Vick? I could care less.

Jerry

November 30th, 2009
8:00 am

Vick’s personal life, dog treatment, criminal endeavors, etc. are all off field. Vick let his team down. Football is a team sport. He let his team down. He does not deserve any loyalty by Atlanta fans. Those who cheer him are insulting his former teammates and Falcon fans.

C

November 30th, 2009
8:02 am

He dosen’t play for us anymore, so why would I cheer for him?
Go Falcons!

Peadawg

November 30th, 2009
8:04 am

“He dosen’t play for us anymore, so why would I cheer for him?
Go Falcons!”

Amen!

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 30th, 2009
8:07 am

It will be interesting to watch the non-sports media’s coverage of the return. I’ll bet the slant of some of the coverage will incite the bitterness we try to surpress but will draw ratings in the Fargo N.D’s of the world.

Sadly, it will end up being a poor reflection of us who live here.

Heckler

November 30th, 2009
8:08 am

uh, lets not lose sight about who we’re playing here. i’d be more concerned about the eagles. we just barely beat the bucs! vick is already an afterthought for me.

MyView

November 30th, 2009
8:14 am

Tiger…Do you truly think that the Falcons should have kept Vick on the roster. With his salary, that would handicapped the teams salary cap for a player who is unavailable due to something not football related. That would make the rest of the team and the city suffer. So why should Blank have kept him. I don’t understand why some people blame Blank for cutting Vick. Blank runs a billion dollar business. He has thousands of people to consider. One player cannot jeopardize that no matter how much money and notoriety he brought the Falcons. Keeping Vick would have been a terrible business decision that would have hurt the Franchise. If it were your team and your money, would you have kept Vick around. Good business decisions are made without emotion. They are made with the bottom line in mind.

F-105 Thunderchief

November 30th, 2009
8:20 am

I just want the Falcons to win. I don’t think they make the playoffs with all the injuries, but the faster they nail down win No. 9, the better. Burst the curse!

falcon

November 30th, 2009
8:20 am

How anyone can blame Arthur Blank for Mike Vick no longer being in Atlanta is beyond me. Mike Vick told the owner of the team that he was not involved in dog fighting. He lied to the man’s face. But despite that, Vick will be cheered in Atlanta. Much in the same way OJ Simpson was cheered when he was acquitted of murder. It will be interesting.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

November 30th, 2009
8:21 am

Blank does not run a billion dollar business. Both he and Bernie Marcus are retired from Home Depot.

cdog

November 30th, 2009
8:22 am

now would have been a great time to have michael vick after matt went down.well no one can see the future.redman did a good job but he must raise his game to the next level if he is starting this week. the falcons should beat the eagles but its going to take a team effort especially the secondary and the kicking game. we can’t go far with the current issues we have in the kicking game especially.it must be addressed this week.the secondary coach and Dbs must really raise their game this week and the rest of the season.as for everyone else, don’t get caught up with bashing vick. we have to beat the eagles and Mcnabb.

NCFalconFan

November 30th, 2009
8:27 am

I don’t care….JUST WIN!!!!!

The Boss

November 30th, 2009
8:33 am

We’re playing the EAGLES, not Vick. I could care less if Vick runs for 500 yards as long as the Falcons win! As for boos vs. cheers, given he doesn’t start I will do what I always do when a sub comes into a game. Nothing!

on the mountaintop

November 30th, 2009
8:37 am

Vick’s downfall ocurred off the field. His redemption should also be based on his reformed off-the-field behavior. The media should do more reporting on that aspect of Vick’s journey back.

Otherwise, Vick is just one more tragic case of the mentally-challenged athlete whose ego, attitude, class clown antics and egregious behavior we are expected to tolerate because of his athletic talent.

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
8:37 am

MiltonDawg — Sorry, was on the West Coast for a few days for Thanksgiving. Should I count down from 20 this week?

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
8:38 am

FalconUGAFan — Certainly right about the loss part, particularly this week against another NFC team.

MattyB

November 30th, 2009
8:39 am

I’ll have both a hot dog and nachos while watching Vick add 5 yds to his season totals and watching our birds beat those birds handedly.

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
8:39 am

Nick — Good comments, and good question about whether Eagles throw Vick in there because he’ll be pumped. Answer: I doubt they’ll stray much from what they normally do.

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
8:40 am

Reality — Never thought of it that way.

Ghost

November 30th, 2009
8:42 am

I’ll be wearing my Falcons Vick jersey to show I support his return to the NFL, but will still be pulling for the Falcons!

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
8:42 am

“Chef” — I know Deion said, “This is my house!” Did he claim the whole city, too? Or maybe it was just Fulton County.

Iceman

November 30th, 2009
8:42 am

He doubt he’ll even set foot on the field.

Go Falcons!

Iceman

November 30th, 2009
8:43 am

I doubt he’ll even set foot on the field.

Go Falcons!

George Holman

November 30th, 2009
8:45 am

Vick is returning to the scene of his highest and lowest as a professional. I think he is a tragic figure who deserves a second chance in another place. I will neither cheer nor boo. Let’s just wish him the best!

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
8:45 am

Falcons — Certainly agree with you about the people who inexplicably criticized Arthur Blank.

hbshep

November 30th, 2009
8:51 am

Michael Vick show em what you’re working with. Get out there and do what you do best. Talk is just that….talk!!!!! May the best team win.

Rob

November 30th, 2009
8:54 am

Bet you anything thug Vick flips off the crowd when he gets boo’ed. He can’t take it.

Crabkilla

November 30th, 2009
8:56 am

Vick is retarded for what he did. He also had a lazy work ethic while in Atlanta. The QB position is a thinking man’s job and requires hours upon hours of study. Having said that, he has paid for his crime and I would like to see him put the time in to succeed. BUT NOT THIS WEEK!!!

M Anthony

November 30th, 2009
8:57 am

I would not worry about MV next week. The Falclowns barely beat a team that has won only one game this season yesterday. Stop trying to get a column full of stupid remarks by haters and try figuring out how this football team is going to beat Philly.

Verone

November 30th, 2009
9:01 am

The falcons made a big mistake in getting rid of vick. He’s better than ryan and will show the falcons they made a mistake! Ryan’s choking big time this year.

Rob

November 30th, 2009
9:02 am

Let me put it this way…..Manning, Farve, Brady, Brees are WINNERS.
Young, McNabb, Vick, Russell are LOSERS

Deuce

November 30th, 2009
9:06 am

Rob your comments are atypical of the majority of Atlanta fans when it comes to Black Americans in general. I am not surprised. Yeah….I said it!!!!

Chris Broe

November 30th, 2009
9:07 am

Put yourself in Vick’s shoes. Imagine the remorse. Every morning he must get up and take a good stiff slug of the hair of the dog that bit him. (Probably Mad Dog 20/20).

Seriously, the plays that Vick has been involved in with the Eagles are weird. They always look half baked. Broken sandlot schemes. I find myself going, “what the hell was that” every time he gets the ball.

Vick is a running back who can throw, and should be used as such. Imagine two reliable passers in an offense? There’s no defense against that.

Jam

November 30th, 2009
9:12 am

good point M Anthony,