There are a few jersey numbers that truly resonate with Atlanta Falcons fans. Whether you like it or not, No. 7 will always be one of them.
Kicker Wade Traynham was the first player to wear the No. 7 jersey for the Falcons, as he donned the number when the franchise started in 1966. He connected on 8-of-17 field goals that season. While I'm sure many of you hold Traynham in high regard as a Falcons fan, he's probably not the one you associate No. 7 with.
Michael Vick became the Falcons No. 1 overall pick in 2001. An electrifying college player at Virginia Tech, Vick was destined to become the face of the franchise. His time in Atlanta took fan on an emotional roller coaster, one that we all don't remember fondly because of the way it ended.
Vick didn't take long to make a name for himself in Atlanta. He started 15 games in 2002 and took the Falcons to the playoffs, where he helped lead them to a 27-7 victory over the No. 3 seeded Green Bay Packers. The Falcons lost in the divisional round to the Philadelphia Eagles that year, but the city was thrilled about Vick's potential.
The following year Vick suffered a fractured fibula in the 2003 preseason. He missed the majority of the season, and the Falcons finished 5-11 with Doug Johnson and Kurt Kittner filling in at quarterback.
Vick took the Falcons to the NFC Championship in 2004, but the Eagles once again ended his quest for Super Bowl appearance. That's basically where things started to go downhill for Atlanta. The Falcons finished 8-8 in 2005 and 7-9 in 2006.
Then the fallout came.
In July of 2007, Vick was indicted on felony charges for his involvement in a dog fighting ring. He was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in August, and in December Vick was sentenced to 23 month in prison.
Head coach Bobby Petrino bailed on the Falcons the day after Vick was sentenced. At least he left a nice note for all the players in the locker room.
From the dog fighting involvement to the Ron Mexico incident to flipping the double birds to the Georgia Dome crowd, Vick's tenure in Atlanta was anything but ordinary. Who knows what could have been if Vick had stayed out of trouble He did bring success to the franchise, though.
Vick still ranks No. 5 in passing yards and No. 6 in rushing yards in Falcons franchise history. He finished his time in Atlanta with eight 100-yard rushing games. He gave us this unbelievable highlight against the Minnesota Vikings in overtime. I could watch that play forever.
If you walk around Atlanta, you'll still see Michael Vick jerseys every once in a while. Some fans still love the guy. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Dickens was probably referring to Vick's career with the Falcons when he wrote that line.
How many players have worn No. 7 for the Falcons? Seven. You can't make that up. While I'm tempted to pick Tony Graziani, Vick was the best to wear that number in Falcons history. No one has worn the number since his departure. Shane Wynn is currently listed as No. 7 on the Falcons roster. That's a bold move, sir.
Regardless of who wears No. 7 in the future, we'll always remember images of Vick scrambling out of the pocket in a Falcons uniform.