ABSTRACTJust after experts had finished defining how the NFL (National Football League’s) ideal future quarterback should be, Michael Vick arrived on the scene. The young, impossibly good field general got drafted into the Atlanta Falcons in 2006.Many have described him to have an arm like that of John Elway, the speed of O.J. Simpson, and the moves of Gale Sayers. Michael Vick seems to have an unquenchable thirst for competition and this is what defines his game as a football player. This competitiveness may also have been his undoing off the field of play, because as it stands now, it looks like the difficult days of his football career might have come sooner than anybody expected.
;;;;;;;;;;;;;I. INTRODUCTION.Michael Dwayne Vick, also known in his younger days as “Ookie” was born on June 26, 1980, in Newport News, Virginia.
Located at the southernmost tip of the peninsula that divides the James River and Chesapeake Bay—and across the water from Norfolk—it has seen its share of good times and bad. Like most port cities, Newport News fell on hard times in the 1970s and 80s. When Michael entered the world, the city was best known for producing drug dealers and gang members. Serious trouble, the kind that turned many young men into statistics, lurked around most corners in his neighborhood. (http://www.jockbio.
com/Bios/Vick/Vick_bio.html)This report will be looking at Michael Vick’s rise to stardom, and his rise and fall as a marketing icon. Suggestions will also be proffered as to how he might be able to recapture his former status as it pertains to marketing.;II.
GROWNG UPMichael’s Vick’s family situation was something less than ideal. Michael’s mother, Brenda Vick, was 16 years old at the time that she became pregnant with him. His father, Michael Boddie, was just 17 years old at the time. The couple already had a baby girl named Christina and they did not get married for another five years, and by then, they had two more children, named Courtney and Marcus.Boddie was away more often than he was home during his children’s formative years. After spending 2 1/2 years in the Army, he bounced from one job to another. Eventually he found steady work in the Newport News shipyards as a sandblaster and spray-painter.
His days started early and ended after dark. The responsibility of raising Michael and his siblings fell to Brenda. She became their savior. In fact, all the kids chose to use her last name. With help from her parents, Brenda ran a tight ship. The family lived in the Ridley Circle housing project on the city’s east side. She kept the cramped three-bedroom apartment immaculate. Brenda worked at a KMart, spending every spare dollar she earned on the kids.
(http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Vick/Vick_bio.html)Even though his surroundings were less than ideal, Vick was an upbeat, polite and focused, as a child. His father introduced him to the marvelous game of football, and football became his passion. At age 3, Boddie, nicknamed him “Bullet” because of his blinding speed during his playing days on the gridiron. Boddie also taught him the rudiments of throwing the pigskin. Interestingly, the first time Michael picked up a football, it was with his left hand, and up till today, he still plays with his left hand, even though he does everything else with his right hand.
The youngster also learned a lot from Aaron Brooks, a cousin four years his senior, and the current starting quarterback for the Saints. Michael followed Brooks wherever he went, including the Hampton Roads Boys and Girls Club. James Hagman, the club’s unit director, remembers the pair for their hard work and dedication. So does James “Poo” Johnson, who coached the club’s football team. As a 13-year-old, Michael often called Johnson and asked him to work with him one-on-one, mostly on fundamentals. It was Johnson who later advised Michael to hit the weight room and add muscle to his sinewy frame—a crucial moment in his football life. Michael credits leg exercises like squats with turning him into a world-class open-field runner. Reamon liked what he saw from Michael, but felt the freshman would be best served by a year on the junior varsity.
In Michael’s first six JV games, he tossed 20 touchdown passes. Meanwhile, Warwick’s varsity was struggling. Searching for a spark, Reamon moved his quarterback to wide receiver and made Michael the starting QB. In his second start he really aired it out, throwing for 433 yards on just 13 completions. (http://www.
RISE TO STARDOMOver the next three years, Michael’s reputation grew. Reamon sent him to football camps every summer and tutored him privately. Knowing that Warwick wasn’t particularly big or strong across the line of scrimmage, he encouraged Michael to improvise on offense.
The freedom helped him to develop his trademark style. Going into his senior season, SuperPrep and PrepStar named Michael a pre-season All-America. Still, he was overshadowed by other schoolboy phenoms in his area.
Ronald Curry, who starred at nearby Hampton High School, was regarded as the best quarterback prospect in the country. Also making headlines was a kid named Allen Iverson, who was almost as good a point guard as he was a quarterback. It didn’t help either that Warwick never really challenged for the state championship. During Michael’s career as a starter, the Raiders went just 20-13. Four times he faced Hampton, and each time Curry led the opposition to victory.
By the end of 1997, Michael was considered to be among the top five high school signal callers in the country. In his four varsity seasons at Warwick, he threw for 4,846 yards and 43 touchdowns, and ran for another 1,048 yards and 18 TDs. Michael was a playmaker, pure and simple. With the right tutoring and teammates, no one doubted he had the talent to become a college quarterback of the highest order.
College coaches nationwide recruited him. Eventually, Michael narrowed his choices down to Syracuse and Virginia Tech. (http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Vick/Vick_bio.html) Michael’s most memorable moment was in a game against West Virginia. “Trailing by a point, the Hokies got the ball on their own 15 yard line with just over a minute remaining. With no timeouts, Michael guided the offense down the field.
After his 18-yard scamper put Virginia Tech in field goal range, Shayne Graham, the school’s all-time leading scorer, booted a 44-yarder for a dramatic 22-20 victory.” (http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Vick/Vick_bio.html) IV. MICHAEL THE PLAYERHigh schoolMichael Vick first came to prominence when he was attending Homer L. Ferguson High School situated in Newport News.
In his freshman year, he was impressive, and threw for more than 400 yards in a game that year. He was forced to move to Warwick High School, also in Newport News, when his former school was closed in 1996 because of a public school buildings modernization program in Newport News. So did coach Tommy Reamon, also from Ferguson High School.Coach Reamon, who had helped guide Aaron Brooks from Newport News to the University of Virginia earlier, helped Michael with his SAT tests, and helped him and his family choose between Syracuse University and Virginia Tech. Reamon favored Virginia Tech, where he felt better guidance was available under Coach Frank Beamer, who promised to redshirt him and provide the freshman needed time to develop. Reamon sold Michael on the school’s proximity to family and friends, and apparently following his advice, Vick chose to attend Virginia Tech and play football as a Hokie. (http://www.reference.
com/browse/wiki/Michael_Vick);Michael’s College careerAfter finishing high school, Michael Vick went to college at Virginia Tech. In his first game in college, he scored 3 rushing touchdowns in just over one quarter of play against James Madison in 1999, as a redshirt freshman. He also scored a spectacular flip touchdown, during which he landed badly on his ankle, and was forced to miss the rest of the game, and the next game. He also led a last-minute game-winning drive during that season against West Virginia, during the annual Black Diamond Trophy rivalry game.He also led the Hokies to an 11-0 season and to the Bowl Championship Series national title game in the 2000 Nokia Sugar Bowl against Florida State.
Even though Virginia Tech lost the game by points 46 to 29, Michael was able to help his team rally from a 21 points behind, and take the lead briefly. Also, during that season, Michael Vick appeared on the cover of an ESPN Magazine.A former prep All-American, Michael Vick was the first freshman to open a season in 1999 as the starting quarterback for Virginia Tech since 1989. He began as a redshirt, and now his face is on t-shirts.
He has come a long way, showing patience and endurance. Vick made the most of his redshirt season by traveling with the Virginia Tech Hokies during the fall and gaining valuable knowledge by observing their system from the sideline. He studied the tapes and listened and learned.
For his efforts, along with being an outstanding talent and having a great arm, he was named a finalist for the 1999 Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious award. He was also named Big East Offensive Player of the Year and Big East Rookie of the Year. With these honors he became the first player in Division I college football history to win both awards in the same season for any league. (http://www.jockbio.
com/Bios/Vick/Vick_bio.html) Professional careerMichael Vick got drafted in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, in which he was the first overall pick. The number one selection spot in the draft belonged to The San Diego Chargers that year but they traded the selection rights to select the first overall choice one day before the draft, to the Atlanta Falcons.In exchange, The San Diego Chargers received the Falcons’ first round pick (which was the fifth overall pick), and third round pick in 2001 (which was used to draft CB Tay Cody), a second round pick in 2002 (used to draft WR Reche Caldwell) and WR/KR Tim Dwight. With the Chargers’ downgraded spot (the 5th overall), they selected Texas Christian University running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who went on to become league MVP in 2006 (although Vick has never become league MVP, he finished second in voting in 2004). In this way, Tomlinson and Vick are linked as having been “traded” for each other, although the transaction was actually the result of traded draft picks and contract negotiations. (http://www.
jockbio.com/Bios/Vick/Vick_bio.html) V. MAKING HIS MARKAs it turned out, the contest in New Orleans was a coronation in more than one way. The Seminoles, who had been ranked #1 the entire season, were looking to finish the job. When Florida State won 46-29, Bobby Bowden got his second championship, cementing his legacy as one of college football’s all-time greats.
Meanwhile, Michael, who was trying to become the first freshman signal caller to capture the national title since Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway in 1985, officially arrived on the national scene. Many fans were seeing him for the first time, and as always he was impressive.His speed and elusiveness on the artificial turf of the Louisiana Superdome were mind-boggling. When he rallied Virginia Tech from a 21-point deficit to a brief 29-28 lead, he showed the guts and poise of an NFL veteran. By the fourth quarter, he had practically nailed down the 2000 Heisman. For the season Michael passed for 1,840 yards and 12 touchdowns, and added 585 yards and eight scores on the ground. He was named First Team All-America by The Sporting News and took home honors as the Big East’s Offensive Player of the Year, the first newcomer in conference history to do so. Michael finished third in the race for the Heisman Trophy, joining Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1980) and Clint Castleberry (Georgia Tech, 1942) as the only freshmen to place that high in the voting.
He also won the first-ever Archie Griffin Award as the nation’s collegiate MVP and attended the ESPY Awards to collect his trophy as the top college football player. During the festivities, a steady stream of superstars, including Tiger Woods and Mark McGwire, introduced themselves. (http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Vick/Vick_bio.html) In the year 2004, Vick got his second Pro Bowl after he started in every one of the fifteen games played. He also completed 181 of 321 passes for 2,313 yards, and had fourteen touchdowns, twelve interceptions, and got a career-high, with 120 carries for 902.The 902 rushing yards with a 7.
52 average per carry ranked third and second, respectively, in NFL annals for quarterbacks. Vick was also named NFC Offensive Player of the Week on two separate occasions during the season, one for his performance at Denver on October 31 when he became the first quarterback to throw for more than 250 yards and rush for over 100 yards in the same game. He led the team to an 11-4 record, which was the third-best record for a starting quarterback in team history behind Chris Chandler (13-1 in 1998) and Steve Bartkowski (12-4 in 1980). Overall, the On December 23, 2004, Vick signed a 10-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons worth $130 million with a $37 million signing bonus, making him the highest paid player in NFL history at that time and one of the highest paid ever in sports. Vick’s deal surpasses the $98 million contract the Indianapolis Colts’ Peyton Manning signed in March 2005. Manning, who signed for seven years, is guaranteed $34.5 million in bonuses. Vick’s $130 million potential value tops Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb’s 12-year, $115 million deal that runs through 2013.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Vick);VI. MICHAEL’S ENDORSEMENTS AND BUSINESS ACTIVITIESIn the course of his NFL career, Michael Vick became a spokesperson for many companies. He signed endorsement contracts with EA Sports, Nike, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Rawlings, Hasbro, Powerade, and AirTran.His contract along with his endorsements had Vick ranked 33 among Forbes’ Top 100 Celebrities in 2005.
However, two years later, he was not even listed on the most recent Forbes Top 100 Celebrities. Even before the animal cruelty case surfaced in 2007, Vick’s corporate status had deteriorated, apparently due to extensive bad press. Among the negative incidents cited by observers of this was his middle finger gesture to Atlanta football fans in 2006.His endorsement deals with at least six companies (Coca-Cola, EA Sports, Kraft Foods, Hasbro and AirTran) have expired over the past few years and have not been renewed. (OHM YOUNGMISUK. Fight of his life. Days of easy fame over for Michael Vick DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITERS);VII. MICHAEL VICK’S PROBLEMSIn March 2005, a civil lawsuit was filed against Michael Vick by a woman named Sonya Elliott for allegedly contracting genital herpes from him.
She stated that this happened in the autumn of 2002, and that Vick did not inform her that he had a sexually transmitted disease. Furthermore, she alleged that Vick had received treatment for his condition, using the name “Ron Mexico”.;On April 24, 2006 Vick’s attorney, Lawrence Woodward, revealed that the lawsuit had settled out of court with an undisclosed amount. Many fans bought custom jerseys from NFL.com with Vick’s number 7 and the name “MEXICO” on the back, as a reference to his lawsuit. The NFL has since banned customizing jerseys with the name Mexico. After a Falcons loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Georgia Dome in apparent reaction to fans booing, Vick made an obscene gesture at fans, holding up two middle fingers.
He was fined $10,000 by the NFL for his obscene gesture, and agreed to donate another $10,000 to charity. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Vick);Drug testing, positive for marijuanaDuring a random drug test, Michael Vick tested positive for marijuana, which was a violation of the conditions of his release, while waiting for sentencing for dogfighting charges, in federal court.
According to a document by a federal probation officer, which was filed in U.S. District Court on the 26th of September, his positive urine sample was submitted on the 13th of September, 2007. As a result of this,;U.S.
District Judge Henry Hudson ordered Vick confined to his Hampton, Virginia home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.
m. with electronic monitoring until his court hearing date in December. He also must submit to random drug testing. If Vick fails another drug test, he likely will be incarcerated, as co-defendant Quanis Phillips has been since his August 17 plea hearing after having failed drug tests with monitoring equipment and regulations already in place. (OHM YOUNGMISUK. Fight of his life.
Days of easy fame over for Michael Vick DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITERS);VIII. IMPACT OF DOGFIGHTING CASE ON MICHAEL VICKFollowing the widespread publicity of the dogfighting case and details of alleged brutality executing dogs not considered vicious or aggressive enough by hanging, drowning, shooting, electrocution and other means, many companies suspended and/or terminated his endorsements and withdrew Vick-related products from sale.;On July 18, 2007, following extensive media coverage of the content of Vick’s 18-page federal indictment of the previous day, Neil Schwartz, director of marketing for SportScanInfo, which tracks sporting goods sales, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I just think it’s going to be really hard for Michael to somehow repair his public image unless these charges are totally false… American people are incredibly forgiving, but the heinous nature of what went on here may be a whole different ballgame.
” The same article also quoted Bill Sutton, a professor of sports business at the University of Central Florida: “You won’t find him anywhere” in advertising or marketing in the near future.( http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Michael_Vick)According to the Virginian-Pilot in a July 19, 2007 article, “Vick’s biggest marketing deal at that time was with Nike. Later on the same day, USA Today reported that Vick’s legal troubles had prompted Nike to suspend the release of its latest product line named after him, telling retailers it will not release a fifth signature shoe, the Air Zoom Vick V, “this summer.
” (http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Michael_Vick)On July 27, Nike announced it “has suspended Michael Vick’s contract without pay, and will not sell any more Michael Vick product at Nike owned retail at this time.
” (http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Michael_Vick)Within a few more days, Donruss, a trading card company, decided to pull Vick’s card from any future 2007 releases, according to Beckett Media, which covers the collectibles industry. Upper Deck, another trading card company, took similar action. On July 31, St. Louis-based sporting goods manufacturer Rawlings, which used Vick’s likeness to sell merchandise and modeled a football using his name, ended its relationship. The same day, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sports Authority stores, part of a major chain, have also stopped selling Vick-related goods.
Upon the filing of Vick’s Plea Agreement and Statement of Facts with the federal court in Richmond, Nike announced it had terminated his contract (which had been suspended earlier). (http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Michael_Vick) IX. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONSMichael Vick’s career as an endorser has been seriously derailed. Only 3 years ago he was at the peak of athletic superstardom after he signed the richest pro football contract ever (10 years, for 130 million dollars) and was ordained by team owner Arthur Blank as a “Falcon for life”. Since then he has been raking in millions of dollars through endorsements.Michael might still be able to recapture his former super-star status in marketing, if he is able to overcome his court problems and apologize for his wrong behaviour.
Vernon Lee, who is the co-founder of the Peninsula All-Star Football Camp, stated that the Michael Vick situation should serve as a wake-up call “for anyone coming into contact with a young people. We can try to plant the seeds necessary so that this doesn’t happen again…not assume that there is a direct correlation between athleticism and real-life skills.” (http://nfl.
wikia.com/wiki/Michael_Vick)In court, Michael needs to show that he was very tangentially involved in the dogfighting. “The clear thing he would have to do is to say that he was not at Moonlight Road property at the time, so he did not know what was really happening. Right now, there is a large presumption against him, and this is what happens whenever animals or children are involved in a case like this. This kind of situation is very emotional, and so people tend to believe what they read, against all other information.
jockbio.com/Bios/Vick/Vick_bio.htmlOHM YOUNGMISUK. Fight of his life. Days of easy fame over for Michael VickDAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITERS(http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/2007/07/29/2007-07-29_fight_of_his_life.html?ref=rss)http://nfl.wikia.com/wiki/Michael_Vickhttp://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Michael_Vick