The play kept playing in my hospital room over and over again. The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Minnesota Vikings in overtime in Week 13 of the 2002 NFL season.
Quarterback Michael Vick unleashed the "Michael Vick Experience" and ran off into the locker room.
Early in overtime Vick dropped back to pass. That is to be seen lightly because as soon as he reached the apex of the pocket, he drifted to the edge as escaped it.
Vick sashayed along the outskirts of the Vikings defense appearing to take a modest gain.
Vick seemed to notice no Vikings were near him yet and he dropped his hips and accelerated toward the middle of the field.
He split a gap of between two Vikings, who slammed into one another, before sprinting the final 20 yards for the touchdown with only a glancing grab from Vikings cornerback Brian Williams.
Vick didn’t stop running. Ball raised in one hand and a high held fist characterizing the other, he and the rest of the Falcons ran to the locker room with an important victory.
It was a defining moment in the Vick era in Atlanta.
When people thought of how electric the Falcons’ quarterback was, this was the clip shown to prove the claim.
It was the most exciting moment in my time observing the Falcons. I missed the play live on account of being unconscious in an ambulance.
Waking up to the highlight of that play will never disappear. I don’t remember much else about the day.
It wasn’t a championship game or anything of the sorts. It was the first time the world understood Vick as the experience.
I have plenty of memories from my childhood watching the Falcons. The next best one also includes the Minnesota Vikings.
This time it was a championship game. The 1998 NFC Championship game.
I don’t remember the entire game. That probably is because I didn’t watch any of the game except for the last play.
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I was but a youngster spending most of my day out in the neighborhood having a bicycle with the rival bikers of the apartment complex.
Fate pulled me inside just as Morten Andersen began setting up for his game winning field goal.
I later learned the guy who rarely missed field goals, Gary Anderson, had missed a field goal to aid the Falcons’ comeback.
The Falcons were going to their first Super Bowl. It didn’t really hit our household as much. My father walked around with a Cheshire cat-like grin for the next two weeks because I think he knew what was coming.
My father was a huge Denver Broncos fan. He felt his Broncos had dodged the team that had their best shot to beat his defending Super Bowl champions.
He was right. The Broncos won Super Bowl XXXIII 33-19. It didn’t take away from that NFC championship game.
The third memory on my docket isn’t necessarily a good one. Super Bowl LI won’t ever be forgotten. The Falcons jumped out to a 28-3 lead on the New England Patriots.
The rest is history. The Falcons walked through the confetti leaving their trophy with the Patriots. The scoreboard acted almost as a joke, reading Patriots 34 and Falcons 28. How did that happen?
Nobody has given me a solid answer yet. I threw my hands up and said it was Tom Brady being Tom Brady. It was one of the best football games I’ve watched start to finish.
It had some of everything. It was the classic epic. It felt like a film like Marvel’s Avengers.
There were big defensive plays. There were mistakes. Superheroes made the plays when they absolutely had to.
It was so entertaining. I felt tired after watching it.
It is a stain on the Falcons until they rectify it.
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