EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Not even during his lowest moment while serving nearly two years in federal prison did Michael Vick fantasize about a game like the one he had Monday night.
"No, I would've never dreamt that I would have that type of night," Vick said on a conference call with New York reporters less than 48 hours after delivering a historic outing in a 59-28 Eagles win over the Redskins. "You only dream about having those types of nights. It was just great to have a day like that. It may never happen again. I may get close, but who knows."
As Vick prepares to somehow deliver an encore to a performance that left the NFL world breathless and buzzing, the Eagles quarterback reiterated that he is not the same quarterback who once used to devastate defenses with his feet. That much was clear after he obliterated the Redskins by passing for 333 yards and four touchdowns while running for another 80 yards and two touchdowns.
Vick became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards, run for more than 50 yards and throw four touchdowns while rushing for two more. The Eagles led 35-0 nine seconds into the second quarter after Vick blitzed the Redskins with three touchdown passes and one touchdown run.
"I never saw any of this coming as far as being the starter for this team," said Vick, who was slated to be the backup to Kevin Kolb until Kolb got injured in the season opener. "It is as surprising to me as it is to everybody else. I knew I had the talent and what it took to win football games. I just needed an opportunity."
Vick has his chance now and plans to make the most of it. After serving 18 months in federal prison for bankrolling a dogfighting operation, Vick says he is a changed man who doesn't take anything for granted.
Vick said he is reminded of that whenever he does community work with the Humane Society.
"I know he's doing his part and trying to right his wrong," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said. "That's something he's done since he's been here. He goes out in the community. You're never going to erase that past, but he's at least trying to make an effort at helping others not get into that type of situation, and I'm proud of him. It's very tough to admit that you goofed. Second of all, to go out there and face people face to face, and he's been doing that."
Vick said he answers every question and shares all of his experiences in an effort to help children avoid falling into the situation he did.
"There is no question that I can't answer or that I'm afraid to answer," he said. "There is nothing that I won't talk about or afraid to talk about because I have nothing to hide. Everything has been put out there. I am all about being a part of the solution and not the problem."
The hope for groups like the Humane Society is that the more successful Vick becomes, the more awareness he will create toward combating animal cruelty and dogfighting.
And at this moment, Vick is on top of the NFL world after his demolition of the Redskins on "Monday Night Football." On Sunday night, Vick will star again on a national stage against the Giants.
It will be another chance for Vick to show that he is a much more mature player and person than he used to be. His quarterback acumen has progressed to the point where he is easily the most dangerous player in the NFL. Already capable of beating teams with his blazing speed alone, Vick now can shred a defense with his accuracy, arm strength and ability to read defenses.
"As a quarterback, totally different," Vick said of how he has improved. "I think it is obvious; you just got to watch me on film and you will see I'm pass first and run second."
And because of that, the Eagles might be the best team in the NFC East and Super Bowl contenders. It is something Vick couldn't have imagined when he was in prison.
One thing Vick did think about while he was doing his time was how he would make amends for his actions with his new attitude.
"Obviously it feels great," Vick said of how he feels when he talks about his own rehabilitation and how he wants to help kids now. "It is an attitude I didn't have a couple of years ago, and I got it now.
"But I had to go through what I went through to feel the way I am feeling now."