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Pittsburgh Steelers Sign Michael Vick — A Question of Team Character?

Michael Vick

Michael Vick

Once upon a time, Pittsburgh Steelers fans hated their quarterback.

It didn't really matter who it was. From 1983, when Terry Bradshaw could play only a quarter in his final season, to 2004, when Ben Roethlisberger became the Steelers' signal-caller, Cliff Stoudt, Mark Malone, Bubby Brister, Neil O'Donnell, Mike Tomczak, Kordell Stewart, and Tommy Maddox all had their day as Pittsburgh's primary starting quarterback.

All seven of these quarterbacks took the Steelers to the playoffs. Yet bring up any of these names to a Steelers fan who saw them play, and their reaction is likely to be negative.

Frustrations with Maddox when he slumped in 2005 or Landry Jones in his recent preseason performances aside, the vitriol Steelers fans gave their on-field leader has gone away since Roethlisberger took over.

But wait, Steelers fans can go back to having contempt for their quarterback. Only now it isn't the starter, it's new backup Michael Vick.

Vick is a polarizing figure. Say what you will about paying his debt to society for running an illegal dog fighting ring, there is an evil element in the act neither prison time nor upbringing absolves.

Mike Tyson did not become a figure of character after serving his prison sentence for rape, and his status as the contemporary face of boxing may be as much a cause for the demise of the heavyweight division as anything.