LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Michael Vick

It is no surprise what the story of the week is. LaDainian Tomlinson will face Michael Vick for the first time since ‘the trade' on Sunday in Atlanta. Both have revitalized football in their respective cities and are at the top of their game.

While Michael Vick has been a sparkplug for the Atlanta offense, LaDainian Tomlinson is equally effective with the Chargers.

Everyone knows the particulars of the trade by now…and it is still talked about in both cities.

Who got the better of who will always be the question.

"I don't remember much about it," Chargers' coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I think both teams have come out of it quite well. There's nothing that says in this league that when you make a trade it has to be good for one team and bad for the other."

"I guess we're both winners," Falcons' coach Jim Mora agreed. "They've got a great player in Tomlinson and we're obviously very happy with Mike."

There is no doubt that each have begun to turn around their respective franchises. Tomlinson is already the leading rusher in team history, passing Paul Lowe on the all-time list. Each week the legend grows. He has 5,035 rushing yards in his career.

Vick, meanwhile, has led his team to the playoffs and the Falcons own the number one rushing offense in the league – thanks to Vick. Thirty games into his NFL career, Vick has three 100-yard games, tying him for second place on the all-time list amongst quarterbacks.

Neither player, however, wants to leave the city they play in. Looking back on the trade is something the media does more than the players involved. Today, when the Chargers are talked about, LaDainian Tomlinson is the name mentioned and in Atlanta it is Michael Vick that grabs the headlines.

Tomlinson and Vick used to speak to each other a lot over the phone. The running back even admitted that he got a heads up on the deal the night before the draft back in 2001.

Now, though, they are four years into their careers and looking forward to bringing winning football to the hometown team.

"I don't even really think about it at all, not until people bring it up," Tomlinson admitted. "I love San Diego. I love being here and living here and everything. I really haven't thought about it much."

"It means absolutely nothing," Vick said. "The only thing is to go out and try to get a win. That was something that happened three years ago. I'm happy to be an Atlanta Falcon now and happy to have an opportunity to play against San Diego on Sunday."

This season, Tomlinson is second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 644. He will surpass Chuck Muncie for the all-time rushing touchdown list in Chargers history sometime this year. He is just two shy of tying Muncie's 43.

He is also on pace to surpass 2,000 yards from scrimmage for the third straight year and is set to rush for over 1,000 yards for the fourth time in a row.

Besides his superiority as a runner, Tomlinson is six hauls away from joining the top ten list of all-time Chargers receptions.

Vick's accomplishments are just as impressive. He has gained 251 yards on the ground on 38 rushes this year and set an NFL record with 173 yards rushing in one game.

He also leads the Falcons' annals with a.635 winning percentage in games he has started and has led them to the postseason. Once there, the aura that is Vick grew to historic proportions.

Starting in his first playoff game on the road at the age of 22 against a Packers team that has never lost a home playoff game in its 82-year history, Vick pulled off the impossible, guiding his team to a 27-7 victory.

Now, the two combatants face off against each other for the first time. Who got better value on the trade will be determined by playoff games and Championships.

Until then, there is a game to be played on Sunday.

"I'm pretty sure it'll be a pretty good game," Vick said.

Denis Savage can be reached at

SD Super Chargers Top Stories