As a lifelong fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, I still can’t get the hate that comes when Donovan McNabb is mentioned. I’ll try my best to breakdown where the issues may be and why those fans must get over it.
For starters, while with the Philadelphia Eagles, McNabb did a get job restoring some order for a team that was in search of an identity. Not since the days of Buddy Ryan, Reggie White and Randall Cunningham were the Eagles somewhat relevant. Then along came a quarterback out of Syracuse University that most fans didn’t want as they felt running back Ricky Williams was the better choice.
Well, a glance at their careers and you can see that Andy Reid made the right call there. Did McNabb win a championship? No, but neither did White, Cunningham, Reid, or Ryan during their time with the Eagles. Heck, those players never even made it to the Super Bowl bowl in Eagles’ green. And yet, McNabb is called soft, a loser, and a sell-out any chance certain fans get. But why?
During his 11 years as the leader of the team, McNabb threw for 32,873 yards and 216 touchdowns while completing 59.0 percent of his passes. But then you add in the other dimension of his game. McNabb was one of the few QBs who revolutionized the position with his feet. With 573 rushing attempts, he gained 3249 yards and 28 touchdowns. McNabb was a beast on the field.
Record-wise, he finished his career as an Eagles with a record of 92-49-1 in the regular season. But it was more than that. He was what the city and the team needed. The City of Philadelphia will not cheer for a player with a no backbone. Hailing from the tough streets of Chicago, McNabb handled the press very well. Losses, he took the blame and the wins, he was giving the credit. But then those same people who once praised him now have turned on him.
In 2010, Reid decided he wanted to go another route and shipped Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins and turned the team over to Mike Vick. Fans were excited but McNabb was heartbroken. What was he supposed to say and feel at the time? A team that he gave everything to not only shipped him out-of-town but did so to a division rival. That’s almost unheard of in any sport. That was Reid saying he had no faith in his QB and he was not afraid to face him two times per season. So yes, there were some feelings involved.
And those same feelings that fans once used to rave about him are the same ones they’re now using to throw him under the bus. He just couldn’t catch a break.
Just a few weeks ago, McNabb spoke about what happened with that 2011 Eagles’ team that reached the Super Bowl. See, that right there is why those fans who now hate McNabb must take a step back and look at what transpired during his career.
When Terrell Owens came to Philadelphia, he did so with a cloud of uncertainty. His time with the San Francisco 49ers did not end well as T.O. was labeled a locker room cancer. But Reid didn’t care. He believed in second chances and believed that his roster of veterans could show Owens there was no need for that. In his first season, everything went smoothly. Owen’s caught 77 passes for 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns and the Eagles were rolling.
Then the issue happened that may have sparked the real showdown between McNabb and Owens. Right before the end of the season, Owens went down with an ankle injury. At that point, some fans lost hope. Without the contributions of Owens, there was no way the offense could score points, let alone make a run at a title, right?
Well, what happened next is exactly why I can’t fully understand the hate for McNabb. With Owens out, McNabb put the Eagles on his back as he’s done throughout his career and led them to the Super Bowl with Owens in street clothes. Yes, no Owens and yet, they still made it. It was rough getting there but they did so as a team with no distractions and made it happen.
However, Owens knew he could not let them win a title without him. He needed that for his legacy. So, with screws in his ankle, Owens suited up and played an amazing game with 9 receptions for 122 yards.
The other staggering part in the McNabb hate is this. How many Hall of Fame or Pro Bowl receivers did McNabb have with him while in Philadelphia? Think hard. Throughout much of his career, McNabb was throwing passes to the likes of Fred Barnett, Todd Pinkston, and Freddie Mitchell. By the time he got Owens, it proved fans’ point all along. Pair this man with a top receiver and see what he could do.
So why the hate? Let’s be honest here. He has done more than Carson Wentz ever has. And while Wentz is still young, McNabb is the reason the Philadelphia Eagles have hope. With the Super Bowl win by Andy Reid, he’s Hall of Fame-bound. But he was already that without that ring. And a big reason for that is Donovan McNabb.
McNabb led the Eagles to seven playoff appearances, five NFC East titles, and six Pro Bowls. But all fans can remember are his remarks as a commentator. He’s been critical of the Eagles over the years and rightfully so. Does he not have that respect where he can say things about the team? Has he not laid it all out on the line for the Eagles during his career?
The same reason fans loved him for being outspoken, they now hate him for being himself. No matter what happened in the huddle in that Super Bowl, it was McNabb who led them there, not Owens. Truth be told, maybe Owens playing in that game is the reason they lost.
His rocky relationship with Terrell should not be the measuring stick for what he brought to the city. He won before Owens arrived and he won after Owens left.
Granted, some of the things McNabb has said about the Eagles does sting but please remember, they did hang him out to dry. A lot of those remarks are still wounds being healed. As fans, that’s the things we never get to go through.
As a solid fan of the Philadephia Eagles, there was a time where I had to check myself after their Super Bowl win where I thought Nick Foles was the better option like most fans. We were ready to turn our backs on Wentz just because. We’re hard on our players but Donovan McNabb does not deserve the lack of respect he’s been given.