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ESPN to air two-part ‘30 for 30’ documentary on former Falcons’ QB Michael Vick

Diving into the story of a controversial legend.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The first of a two-part documentary centering on the career and life of former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick premieres on ESPN tonight. Directed by Stanley Nelson, ESPN’s latest ‘30 for 30’ provides a comprehensive look back at the rise, fall, and return of one of the most polarizing players in NFL history.

“As a historical documentary filmmaker, I was interested in placing Michael Vick’s life within larger historical narratives – narratives about race and sports, poverty and power, and about the criminal justice system,” said director Nelson. “In the film, we get to see how Vick’s childhood affects the choices he makes, as well as how these larger social forces shape his trajectory. I hope that viewers of the film can gain a fuller understanding of the social context that gave rise to Vick’s story, as well as its reverberating impact.”

Vick helped transform the quarterback position with his rushing abilities, cannon arm, and legendary athleticism, and was selected to three Pro Bowls. He was the first NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and holds the record for the most career rushing yards by a quarterback (6,109).

Vick’s NFL career came to a halt in 2007 after he pleaded guilty for his involvement in a dog fighting ring and spent 21 months in prison. His arrest and subsequent conviction garnered Vick notoriety with the general public, which lasted throughout the rest of his career. He was released by the Falcons shortly before leaving prison, but later returned to the NFL.

Part one of the 30 for 30 “Vick” premiers tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, with the second part airing on February 6 at 9 p.m.