Like most of the football world, I was totally enamored by Michael Vick’s performance this past Monday night as he led the Philadelphia Eagles to a dominating 59-28 victory over the Washington Redskins. From the moment Vick completed an 88-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson on the first play of the game, I was glued to my TV.
Throughout the game, I was filled with anticipation, waiting to see what Vick would do next. He never disappointed. In fact, his performance will go down as one the greatest in NFL history. Vick became the first player in NFL history to record 300 or more passing yards (333), 50-plus rushing yards (80), four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in the same game. His numbers in the first half alone were enough to put him in the record book; he became the first player in NFL history with three passing TDs and two rushing TDs in the first half of a game.
Going back to that first play from scrimmage, his 88-yard touchdown pass to Jackson was the longest TD pass in the opening minute of a game in 41 years (Roman Gabriel 93 yards to Wendall Tucker - Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers, November 9, 1969). Thankful for my DVR, I watched the play at least five times after it occurred. Vick’s pass traveled an incredible 62 yards in the air.
The moment I saw the completion, it reminded me of another great Eagles play by quarterback Randall Cunningham back on Dec. 2, 1990 against the Buffalo Bills. In my opinion, Cunningham was one of the most electrifying quarterbacks of his era. His passing ability and running skills created the mold for which Vick and other run-savvy quarterbacks are now compared.
Late in the second quarter Cunningham and the Eagles were backed up on their own five-yard line on a 3rd-and-14 situation. Cunningham took the snap under center and dropped back five steps to pass the ball. Standing in the middle of his end zone, he soon found that the pocket immediately collapsed around him. After he evaded several tacklers and ran about 15 yards to his left Cunningham launched a pass that traveled 60 yards into the hands of wide receiver Fred Barnett who then raced for a touchdown. The 95-yard score remains the second longest from scrimmage in franchise history.
Although the Eagles did not win the game, Cunningham went on to win several MVP and Player of the Year awards that year. His final stats for 1990 were incredible – 271 completion on 465 attempts for 3,466 yards, 30 TDs, 13 INTS and a 91.6 passer rating. He also bewildered opposing defenses with 118 rushes for 942 yards and 5 TDS. I remember Cunningham being the talk of the NFL that year as all eyes were focused on him to see what he would do next.
The same can be said of Vick this coming week. Everyone is waiting to see what he will do next. The only people who probably don’t want to see anything magical are Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants.
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