Michael Vick officially retired on Friday, and while his on the field/off the field legacies are difficult to separate, his virtual avatar will remain flawless for eternity.
Madden 2004’s Michael Vick was like a combination of Goldeneye’s Oddjob and Tecmo Bowl’s Bo Jackson. He wasn’t fair. It was like EA Sports created a god just so they could experience what it felt like to manifest utter perfection. He was impossibly fast — like his legs were cheat codes. He could make 11 men miss with a single juke. There’s a good chance he was put in the game to troll people.
Madden 2004‘s Michael Vick was the most overpowering video game character in history. If you played him, you know the legends are true.
In fact he’s such an everlasting example of OP-ness he’s been in the last few Madden games as “The most dominant Madden NFL player of all time” as a Madden Ultimate Team player you can draft. That makes it pretty official. Playing against Vick sucked.
It wasn’t so much the 95 Speed that killed, but the 97-rated Acceleration. Every play was a fresh nightmare. Was he going to run, or pass? Even if you guessed right and picked him off (which would happen often), most of the times he would create a play with his legs and gain 11 yards barely trying. Or, he’d just break off a long one. Maybe he’d sprint 10 yards to the sideline then throw across his body to a wide-open Brian Finneran — a name you probably shouldn’t know but are haunted by thanks to how many times he burned your secondary.
It was a pick your poison scenario that led to serious living room diplomacy. An unofficial, unscientific poll (taken by me) showed that over 50 percent of Madden Households in 2004 banned Madden 2004 Michael Vick. He was so strong, so fast… He… He wasn’t allowed. Video game amendments were passed.
And if you did play against him, there was nothing you could do. The roll outs. My god, the rollouts. Defending him was impossible. Michael Vick broke the game.
The memories of Madden 2004 Brian Finneran running untouched 80 yards for a touchdown has scarred so many people that even he’s featured in Madden Ultimate Team next to Randy Moss. To put it in perspective, real life Finneran caught 23 passes for 258 yards and 2 TDs in 2004. In Madden he’s arguably one of the greatest receivers ever, and it’s all thanks to Mike Vick, who even had his passing stats nerfed in attempt to make him somewhat fair.
Donny Moore, the current Ratings Czar for the Madden Series, spoke to Kotaku about Vick’s greatness in 2013:
“My memory of playing with Vick? OK, what I’d do is snap the ball, then I would let the pocket come in—the defense would almost suck in, and then I’d float out to the left. As long as you had Brian Finneran or Alge Crumpler crossing over, you couldn’t be beat.”
Beyond being a watershed moment in video game competition, Madden 2004 Michael Vick was a moral barometer for friends and family. There wasn’t a single person who played as him who didn’t know what they were doing. If you wanted to win every time, you picked the Falcons.
Friendships were lost over this game.