As a life-long Patriots fan, I routinely sit down week after week, Sunday after Sunday and watch the Pats put a beat-down on whoever is unlucky enough to have met us in the schedule that week. Unfortunately this is not one of those weeks. 

By that I mean the Pats have a “bye” this week.

Every year the bye week rolls around and I suddenly find myself on a Sunday in which I have no clue what to do with myself.

What could I possibly do that is as entertaining as watching the Pats dominate?

And then I realize there is one thing that is equally as fun to watch — and that is watching the New York Jets lose to whoever was lucky enough to meet them that week.

So there I sat on my couch this weekend, expecting to watch the running comedy that is the New York Jets, and then something unexpected happened.

The Jets played … great? I watched the Jets handle a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team quite respectfully.

While watching this game, there was a part of me that was kind of worried that maybe the Jets could be a formidable opponent to the Pats in the AFC East — but then I calmed myself down and brought myself back to Earth.

Even though I’m not particularly worried about the Jets, I couldn’t help but wonder what was making the difference in this performance.

I realized that there was one thing that had changed from previous weeks to now and that was the quarterback.

Geno Smith started out the year like an absolute amateur.

Week-in and week-out I’ve been watching highlights on SportsCenter of how Geno Smith had played terribly, and practically cost the Jets the game in nearly every situation.

Smith’s poor play eventually earned him a seat on the bench that had been previously held by his backup to start the season: Michael Vick.

Michael Vick is an interesting guy to think about. As much as I want to sit here and hate on a guy like Mike Vick, I just can’t do it.

Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is Vick’s questionable character due to his rough past of dog fighting, but I think since his return from prison, Vick has done an honorable job at restoring his legacy.

When I first heard about his crimes, I despised Vick. I thought that any kind of person that would treat animals in that way deserved to go to prison and stay there, but I can tell through watching him in various interviews and shows that Vick has changed.

I feel like Michael Vick is a perfect example of someone who has recognized the mistakes he’s made and has done everything he can to fix it.

He has actively become an advocate against dogfighting and seems truly sorry for everything he has done.

Then I watched him go out there this weekend and tear up the Steelers in classic Vick fashion.

He went out and ran all over the field and was slinging that ball up and down like it was 2004 and he was on the Falcons.

I was so impressed with Vick’s veteran performance that I felt the need to acknowledge the kind of character change he has gone through.

As much as I hate to support any affiliation with the New York Jets, I have to commend Michael Vick for his toughness and growth throughout his bumpy career.


Jake Coughlin can be contacted at

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