Michael Vick recently signed a 10-year contract extension with the Atlanta Falcons, which means the uniquely-talented quarterback should be a cornerstone of that franchise for quite some time.
That deal also ensures that, for the foreseeable future, Vick will remain an NFC South nemesis for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, much more importantly, a prime inspiration for the popular series of Flash Movie Intros on Buccaneers.com.
Vick became a starter for the Falcons in 2002, his second NFL season, but he made only a brief cameo that year in the Buccaneers.com Intro series, as the target in "The Riceman Cometh" Intro for the Bucs-Falcons December rematch.
In 2003, however, Vick was the main character in a pair of goodhearted jabs before the two games between the NFC South combatants. Perhaps you remember them. In the opener, he is seen sleeping easier due to a broken leg that will keep him out of the first Tampa Bay game, while backup Doug Johnson suffers the Buc-related nightmares. In the follow-up, a now-healthy Vick forcibly switches places with the Falcon mascot to escape playing in the second game.
Vick was just one prominent character in a series of memorable Flash Movies on Buccaneers.com in 2003. And that is the season we will be examining this week in the ongoing, fan-driven "playoffs" on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' official web site. Our goal is to identify the best Intro of the past three years, relying solely on fan voting.
Last week, visitors to Buccaneers.com voted on their favorite Intro from the 2002 season; this week, the poll to the right asks for your opinion on the 17 movies from 2003.
Vick wasn't the only featured performer in the 2003 intros of course. In fact, President George Bush tied the Falcon quarterback with three appearances (both were in the season-ending "Season's Greetings" casting call), and team mascot Captain Fear popped up a couple times, as usual. Quarterback Brad Johnson's trip to wardrobe made him into a gunslinger one week and a secret agent the next. Even the Buccaneers.com "Webmaster" made an appearance, though it was none too flattering, we're sorry to say.
Raymond James Stadium served as the backdrop for several 2003 Flash Movies, but the set pieces for other Intros were limited only by imagination. Alternating between humor and all-in-good-fun braggadocio, the Intros played out in a boxing ring, the Old West, the Oval Office and a fictional Jacksonville television newsroom, to name a few. Even when a Bucs-Packers Intro harkened back to the familiar ships-at-sea setting there was a twist, as the two vessels proved to be head adornments for opposing fans. The Cheesehead, predictably, got the worst of that one (nachos, anyone?).
If you've forgotten some of the laughs and inspiration of the 2003 Flash Movies, perhaps now would be a good time to review the season as seen through the Buccaneers.com Intros. You might not recall, for instance, John Madden riffing on the Olsen twins or – we're not making this up – the Bucs heeding Snoop Dogg's Bob Barker-like call to reduce the cat population of Jacksonville.
Did we mention Freddie Krueger, Hop Sing and Mills Lane? Yes, they were prominently featured in 2003? Who can sort it all out?
That's where you come in. In the poll to the right, please vote for the Flash Movie of 2003 that you enjoyed the most. The winner from this poll will eventually be pitted against last week's 2002 victor and the 2004 winner to be determined next week, in a Super Bowl of sorts for the Buccaneers.com Intros.