Michael Vick was born in Newport News, Virginia as the second of four children to Brenda Vick and Michael Boddie, then unmarried teenagers. His mother worked two jobs, obtained some public financial assistance, and had help from her parents, while his father worked long hours in the shipyards as a sandblaster and spray-painter. They were married when Michael was about five years old, but the children elected to continue to use their “Vick” surname. The family lived in the Ridley Circle Homes, a public housing project in a financially depressed and crime-ridden neighborhood located in the East End section of the port city.

Vick played college football at Virginia Tech, where as a freshman he placed third in the Heisman Trophy balloting. He left after his sophomore year to enter the NFL and was drafted first overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL Draft. He became the first African-American quarterback to be selected first overall in an NFL Draft. In six seasons with the Falcons, he gained wide popularity for his performance on the field, and led the Falcons to the playoffs twice. Vick ranks first among quarterbacks in career rushing yards.

In 2010, Vick became the Eagles starting quarterback and led them to the 2011 NFL Playoffs as NFC East Champions. Despite starting only 12 games, Vick set career highs in passing yards, passing percentage, and QB rating. He was named the 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year and was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl.