Michael Vick is a kingpin — NFL’s version of Frank Lucas.
Being one of the most gifted athletes in NFL history, add that he was playing the most prestigious position in the game at quarterback and that he is black, its like Lucas attending the fight wearing a Chinchilla coat.
So when Vick’s side hustle — Bad Newz Kennels — was raided by the ‘Feds’ he became the despicable low-life that people view him as now just as Lucas became when Richie Roberts discovered that it was Lucas ‘Blue Magic’ that was killing people in Harlem.
And when the kingpin goes down — so does the empire. Or in the Atlanta Falcons’ case, the dynasty. When defensive back DeAngelo Hall agreed to terms with the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, it officially ended the Vick reign in Atlanta as we knew it.
A reign that opened with so much promise. His second year in the league, he was selected to the Pro Bowl after passing for 2,936 yards and rushing for another 777 and concluded in the second round of the NFC playoffs after handing the Packers their first ever playoff lost at Lambeau Field. He soon became the only quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season (he finished with 1,039).
But then came the arrest and Vick’s empire crumbled in its wake. Head coach Bobby Petrino quit on the team after 13 games (the Falcons ended the season at 4-12). Thomas Dimitroff is hired as the new general manager and the organization cleansed itself by releasing stars like Vick’s second-hand man Alge Crumpler (the only receiving threat that Vick had) and Warrick Dunn.
Defensive tackle Rod Coleman and quarterback Byron Leftwich were cut and now with the signing of Jason Elam from Denver, so too will kicker Morten Andersen.
Hall’s trade is just the latest in the Falcons’ quest into the new era, the new excitement, the new hope. But what hope does the Falcons really have without its top dog? What kind of excitement will the Falcons give to its fans?
“See, ya are what ya are in this world,” Denzel Washington said playing the role of Lucas in ‘American Gangster.’ “That’s either one of two things: Either you’re somebody, or you ain’t nobody.”
Right now, the Falcons are a bunch of nobodies because they don’t have anybody.