“I left a legacy on a video game that I had no intentions of doing,” the iconic QB tells Boardroom. “I was just on the field playing the game the way I knew how to play it when I was young.”
M. Bison. Goro. Emerald Weapon. Skolas. Michael Vick.
What might seem like a random smattering of names is actually a collection of some of the toughest and most overpowered video game characters in the history of gaming. The former Falcons, Eagles, Jets, and Steelers legend earned the distinction in a video game franchise he’s become synonymous with:
It made perfect sense in 2003 that Vick was set to become one of the most OP (that’s video game jargon the kids use) characters ever, but the reality is that Madden NFL 2004 ‘s cover star was somehow even more fun than imagined. The ultimate dual-threat QB had an incredible 95 speed rating — unheard of for a player at his position — that still somehow felt low, but broke the game in the same ways Vick’s athleticism broke football in real life.
Players could attack defenses with Vick on the ground in angles that weren’t supposed to be possible. Plus, his throw accuracy rating was a 97 and his throwing power rating was a 98, so there wasn’t a throw in the game Digital Mike Vick couldn’t make.
For all of his legendary real-life football exploits – making the Pro Bowl four times, becoming the first visiting QB to ever win a playoff game at Lambeau Field, Comeback Player of the Year in 2010 – Mike’s prowess as a video game character remains as big a part of his legacy as any of that.
And he loves that.
“It was one of my greatest milestones, I think, in terms of playing the game of football,” Vick told Boardroom. “I left a legacy on a video game that I had no intentions of doing. I was just on the field playing the game the way I knew how to play it when I was young, the way I learned how to play it when I was young, And I didn’t change the way I was going to approach the game or play the game. [Now you see] the effect it’s had on the game to this day in terms of mobile quarterbacks and being a game-changer.”
“Madden 2004 set the stage [for that], and I knew it was something special, because in ’04, ’05, ’06 Madden , I was just unstoppable. Even in the Philly days as time went on, I was still unstoppable on the game. That was just the respect I had from the people at Madden.”
What Mike became in the game was beyond his wildest dreams as someone who played the game since its debut on the Sega Genesis in 1992.” I just thought it was cool to be in the video game., let alone grace the front cover of Madden, which I had played since 1992 when it first dropped,” Vick said. “I never envisioned myself being on the game or being one of the greatest players to ever be on the game. I look at it in direct correlation to what Bo Jackson was on Tecmo Bowl.”
Yes, Vick in the 2000s and beyond has become the equivalent of a cheat code, just like former Raiders running back Bo Jackson was in the 1987 NES game Tecmo Bowl. It was cheating to choose either the Raiders or Falcons on those games. They were simply off limits.
All these years later, Vick is still playing the game and waiting on Madden 22 like everybody else. But does being a cheat code in the game make you a cheat code playing the game as well?
“I still just okay on the sticks,” Vick said with a laugh when asked about his skill as a player of the game rather than a character in it. “I would say I was always an average Madden player. If you didn’t know what you was doing, I was going to beat you. With a quarterback mindset, I know how to play the game. But you got some dudes out here who are Madden gurus, so I stay away from them.”
But like any average player, he still has those ancient Madden rivalries with his friends that live on to this day, even if he’s avoiding the gurus on the next level.
“I still got a lot of friends that I grew up with and play Madden with. I still got rivalries with guys from 04, 05 that I used to whoop up on that still think they can beat me,” he said. “I’m getting a couple of copies of Madden 22, so some of my buddies are going to come over and we’ll crack it open and get it in.”