It's hard to imagine a more unexpected performance than that of Michael Vick's here in 2010. After amounting to nothing more than a gadget player in his first year with the Eagles, Vick had one of the most electrifying seasons at quarterback in the history of the franchise.
His tantalizing performance on a Monday night in Washington prompted the Hall of Fame to request his game jersey, an epic comeback in New York catapulted Vick into talks for the NFL's MVP, and his spectacular plays with both his arm and his legs dazzled spectators week in and week out.
Vick was arguably the league's most outstanding offensive player, and along the way became the first quarterback with over 3,000 passing yards (3,018), 20 passing touchdowns (21), 500 rushing yards (676) and seven rushing touchdowns (9) in a single season.
Needless to say, it was the best season of his storied career.
But Sunday against the Packers, Vick was unable to stir up the magic that Eagles fans have grown accustomed to. The stage was set, but the curtain dropped right before Vick was able to take his final bow.
"This one hurt more than any one (of my previous playoff losses)," Vick said postgame. "I knew in coming back and having the opportunity to play the position this year I could play at a high level in this offense. It's just disappointing to me and my teammates that we didn't finish this year the way we wanted to."
Vick was in the midst of another fourth-quarter comeback Sunday night when a poorly thrown pass to Riley Cooper was intercepted in the end zone by Packers cornerback Tramon Williams. Vick shouldered the blame for the costly turnover, but said his approach was the right one.
"The last play we had four verticals and I just took a shot at the end zone," Vick said. "Spiking the ball is an option, but we just got a first down and you want to keep attacking, keep them on their heels and clock it for what? You take a shot downfield."
Now the attention turns squarely on Vick's future, in particular his future here in Philadelphia. The quarterback's contract is soon to expire with the Eagles, and the team must decide if, or more likely how, they'll bring him back.
They could re-sign Vick to a long-term extension, but that could prove difficult in the near-term with the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement. The other option is to apply the franchise tag and pay him an average of the top five paid quarterbacks for next season alone – of course, assuming there still is a franchise tag under a new agreement.
Either way, Vick hopes to return to Philadelphia. But this being the NFL, he understands the nature of the beast.
"I hope (to return), but in this business, you never know," Vick said postgame. "We'll see. I'm going to stay optimistic and keep believing. I still feel like I can play at a high level for the next couple of years."
Whatever his future may hold, what Vick accomplished this season will forever live in Eagles history.
And as a fan, a reporter, or something in between, you could only sit in awe at the things Vick was able to do, and be thankful you were there to witness it.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 10:40 p.m., January 9