Fox’s Michael Vick on the Super Bowl, Sean Payton, and what NFL players think of his opinions

PHOENIX — Michael Vick the analyst has been in high demand at the Super Bowl.

During a Fox Sports media event here earlier this week, Vick was mobbed by reporters hoping to get his thoughts on the historic matchup of Black quarterbacks featuring Jalen Hurts of the Eagles and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Or on Justin Fields in Chicago. Or Josh Allen breaking stereotypes for white quarterbacks. Or his colleague Sean Payton heading to Denver.

It’s hard to believe that Vick has been an NFL analyst on Fox for six seasons, and that his last pass for the Eagles was thrown more than a decade ago. But the most surprising thing might be that during his time at Fox, the four-time Pro Bowler and the first Black quarterback to be drafted No. 1 has grown to love his new identity as both a TV analyst and a mentor.

“I love being a broadcaster, I love getting better each and every year and really working at it,” Vick told The Inquirer. “I want to continue to give my analysis. I love breaking down plays, talking about teams, and making predictions.”

One thing Vick has come to learn is that his voice carries weight among younger players who idolized him while they were growing up, especially those who played Madden football. He garnered criticism last month for suggesting Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson should play on a sprained MCL, and heard from an upset Deshaun Watson after offering a take on TV involving Mahomes.

“Sometimes, the guys don’t understand this position. It makes them a little upset,” Vick said. “I try to let them know it’s not coming from a bad place — it’s coming from guys who played at the highest level. So if we’re saying something about you, and we can’t criticize you from afar, who can?”

“If I say something about you on TV, it’s not to criticize, but to coach,” Vick added.

Helping him develop his voice is Jeremy Mennell, who has been Vick’s producer on the pre-pregame show Fox NFL Kickoff for nearly two seasons and previously worked with him on features. Mennell said Vick is devoted to his role, and works hard putting the time into researching so when he’s on the set, he can just be himself.

“We want Mike to be Mike,” Mennell said. “My thing to him is to always find ways to relate things to what he went though on and off the field, the ups and the downs. … Make it personal, because only Mike can tell Mike stories.”

When Vick first decided to become a broadcaster, he sought the advice of TV heavyweights like ESPN’s Chris Berman and the late John Madden. Over the past season, Vick said he’s learned the most from Payton, who just became the new head coach of the Denver Broncos.

“I could listen to him talk all day. He drops gems and just understands the game. I think Russell Wilson should be so thankful he has Sean Payton coming,” Vick said. “He knows everything in and out, understands offense, and is an incredible football mind.”

Vick will join Fox’s 5½-hour Fox Super Bowl LVII Pregame show leading up to kickoff of Super Bowl LVII at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. As part of the show, Vick recorded an interview with Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who gave the quarterback a second chance in Philadelphia after serving 19 months in prison for dogfighting. The interview is scheduled to air in the 3 p.m. Eastern hour.

Despite working his second Super Bowl for Fox and capping his sixth year as an NFL analyst, Vick said he still can’t quite believe where his broadcasting career has taken him.

“I never thought I would be in this moment,” Vick said. “It’s still surreal to me.”

This content was originally published here.

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