Donovan

Posted: July 29th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 90 Comments »

Donovan McNabb will officially retire as an Eagle on Monday.

Cool.

McNabb is the greatest Eagles QB I ever saw. I watched Jaws play, but not on a weekly basis. He certainly had his moments, but 1980 was his lone great year and Pro Bowl appearance. I watched a lot of Randall Cunningham. He was a dynamic force at times, but also could disappear in some games. A lot of this had to do with how Buddy Ryan handled him. “Go make me some plays” can win you games in October, but not in January. To sum up Cunningham, he did some things that will be remembered forever, but he was also benched for Bubby Brister.

Donovan McNabb was drafted 2nd overall in 1999. He was supposed to be the star QB to turn the Eagles around. And that’s just what he did. McNabb helped lead the Eagles from the bottom of the standings to the top of the NFC East. The Eagles won the NFC East from 2001-2004. That doesn’t sound like a big deal now, but it was huge then. The previous division title was 1988. Before that it was 1980. Winning 4 in a row was a darn big deal.

Not only did the team get to the postseason, they won playoff games. Even on the road. The previous 4 coaches combined for a pair of Wild Card victories in 15 years. McNabb had 3 playoff wins by the end of his third season.

2004 was a magical season as the Eagles made it all the way to the Super Bowl. It was great to see Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb celebrating with the trophy on the field after finally winning the NFC Championship. Unfortunately they didn’t win the Super Bowl, but that was still a great season.

McNabb stayed with the Eagles through the 2009 season. There was another division title in 2006. The team reached the NFC title game in 2008 and was in the playoffs again in 2009. McNabb went to Pro Bowls. He threw for 32,873 yards and 216 TDs as an Eagle. He was a winner and a special player. McNabb had a great career in Philadelphia.

Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, football things almost always end badly. Coaches are fired. Players are traded or cut. Teams are broken up. Nothing is forever. McNabb found that out first-hand, as he was traded in 2010.

McNabb struggled in Washington in 2010 and Minnesota in 2011 and finally requested the Vikings release him before the season was even over. He hasn’t played since.

So what happened? This is a confusing, complex tale that is made up of facts, rumors and guesswork.

The Eagles belonged to McNabb until the arrival of Terrell Owens in 2004. TO is one of those magnetic personalities that can just take over a group. He and McNabb got along well that year, but TO did change the dynamics of the team. That became an issue when TO got offended by some comments heading into the playoffs. Eagles players talked about winning without TO. Because Owens had the emotional make-up of an 8-year old kid, he took that as an insult. Things were never the same after that.

TO went nuclear in 2005 and did divide the locker room. Not fully, but enough that Donovan McNabb, a man who had been an Eagle for years, suddenly found himself in a power struggle with an outsider. This should have never happened, but it did and I think it affected McNabb for the rest of his career.

McNabb got hurt in 2006 and was replaced by the popular (and very fiery) Jeff Garcia. McNabb watched the team get hot and make a playoff run without him. Things really changed the following April. The Eagles made a bombshell move and drafted QB Kevin Kolb 36th overall. He was the team’s top selection and the QB of the future.

For the first time ever, this put a strain on the relationship between McNabb and Reid. McNabb started all 16 games, but the team went just 8-8 as he struggled while playing on a rebuilt ACL. The 2008 season was truly a roller coaster ride. The team started 5-3. McNabb struggled in a loss to the Giants. He struggled in a tie with the lowly Bengals (and then went public with the comment that he didn’t know games could be tied). The next week in Baltimore, McNabb played terribly in the first half and got benched. Kolb played the second half. McNabb got his job back the next game and started the rest of the year. The Eagles got hot and almost made it to the Super Bowl.

McNabb was hurt in the season opener in 2009 and missed the next 2 games. Kevin Kolb threw for more than 300 yards in each game and showed the potential to be a franchise QB. McNabb got the starting gig back as soon as he was healthy. He led the team to an 11-5 record and what looked to be a good season. The problem is that the team had a chance to win the division in the season finale at Dallas, but lost 24-0. The Eagles returned to Dallas for a playoff game the next week and lost 34-14. Mike Vick generated one TD and McNabb got one in garbage time. In the 2 biggest games of the year, McNabb generated one TD drive.

It was time for the Eagles to make a move.

They traded McNabb to the Skins. This was a crazy process. The Eagles power structure at that point involved Joe Banner, Howie Roseman and Andy Reid (Tom Heckert left in January for Cleveland). Banner and Roseman knew McNabb had to be dealt. Reid was reluctant. My guess is that Reid didn’t want to let go of McNabb because of their history together. Donovan was Andy’s QB. They were joined at the hip.

I don’t know how Reid finally got on board. Early on in the process, he made some phone calls and had other teams confused. They couldn’t tell if Reid was negotiating or stalling for time. Eventually Reid accepted reality and the trade talks became serious. Reid gave McNabb some choices and a deal was worked out with Washington. Trading McNabb within the division seemed crazy, but Reid wanted to do right by his guy. Looking back, you also have to wonder if Reid knew that McNabb wasn’t going to play well for the Skins.

McNabb left Philly a bitter man. He was mad at the Eagles for trading him. He was mad at Reid for not telling him what was going on. This bitterness lasted a while. McNabb admitted in a recent interview that even coming back to Philly for Brian Dawkins’ retirement was a “sour day for me.” He simply wanted nothing to do with the Eagles.

Thankfully McNabb has patched things up with Reid. Andy does seem to have this super power where no one can stay mad at him, beyond Eagles fans of course.

On Monday we’ll see McNabb patch things up with the Eagles. Hopefully. This should be a celebration of the great career that McNabb had. He is truly one of the greatest Eagles of all time.

* * * * *

As much as I loved Donovan the Eagle, he has been almost completely unlikable since leaving. He went to Washington and for some reason thought Mike Shanahan would be open to his ideas and doing some of what the Eagles did on offense. Oops. Shanahan is an offensive dictator. He won a pair of Super Bowls using his system and wasn’t about to change for a veteran QB like McNabb. Things were even worse as it became evident that McNabb was difficult to coach. Reid had more of a diplomatic approach. Shanahan was a bully. Things did not end well.

I thought 2011 would prove to be a whole different story. McNabb went to Minnesota, where former Eagles assistant Leslie Frazier was the head coach. McNabb would be in a familiar offense. He’d be working for coaches that were open to his ideas. But things quickly went south. The Vikings coaches wanted to work on McNabb’s mechanics. They had been flawed for years, but Reid left them alone after a certain point. The Vikings staff thought a little change could make a big difference. McNabb’s response was that nothing was wrong with his mechanics. Again, he proved to be uncoachable. He was released late in the year. No team has touched him since. He’s just not worth the headache.

I’m not going to psychoanalyze McNabb, but it sure does seem clear that dealing with  TO, the Eagles winning with Garcia, the drafting of Kolb, his 2008 benching and eventual trade all changed McNabb for the worse. He became defensive. A bit delusional. Phrase it how you like, but he was a changed man and not for the better. McNabb was not only a great player early in his career, but he was the kind of player you could love. He didn’t get arrested. He did commercials and had a great smile. McNabb was a great ambassador for the Eagles. That all changed over time.

You listen to what Donovan says in interviews now and come away shaking your head. He talks about how he never let anything bother him. Say what? Late in his time with the Eagles it seemed like everything bothered him.

McNabb remains bitter that the team dealt him. It feels personal. It wasn’t. Johnny Unitas finished his career as a Charger. OJ Simpson played for the Niners. Emmitt Smith was a Cardinal. The Pats traded their franchise QB Drew Bledsoe when he was still in his prime. The Bills dumped Jim Kelly before he was ready to go. The Colts let Peyton Manning leave. It isn’t personal. This is just how the NFL works. Players get older and they become disposable. It is a cruel fact of life.

Donovan is now an NFL analyst. He’ll need to learn this point if he expects to offer valid opinions on veteran players. One of his strengths so far has been his willingness to be critical of players. That criticism seems less valid when he’s unwilling to deal with the truth in regard to his own career.

I want to like him as an analyst. But I need him to show me that he lives in the same universe as I do. No one expects him to be perfect, but a little more honesty would go a long way.

I loved Donovan McNabb for a decade. He wasn’t perfect, but he was the greatest Eagles QB of all time. He won a lot of games and made being an Eagles fan fun. He’s not going to be a Hall of Fame player. He’s never going to be a Super Bowl champion. But that shouldn’t take away from what was a great career. 1999-2009 was a special time for him and for Eagles fans.

Today will hopefully help McNabb to be more comfortable with his past. If so, that could play a big part in McNabb having a bright future as an analyst and Eagles legend.

_


  • Dominik

    When I read this:

    “McNabb was not only a great player early in his career, but he was the kind of player you could love. He didn’t get arrested.”

    I was thinking about this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3PJF0YE-x4

    And NO, I don’t mean the race thing. More the “what are your expectations?” question.

    And NO, this isn’t meant to be too serious. ;)

    Great post, Tommy!

  • Anders

    I know McNabb didnt win many games with the Skins and Vikings, but in terms of pure stats only his time with the Skins was uncharacteristic of him because of all the interceptions.

    Funny thing is that I think Shanahan’s episode with McNabb and maybe also Cutler made him realize that he also has to adapt his offense to his QB and not just think every QB is Elway (that was his down fall in Denver and I suspect also had an impact on his relationship with McNabb)

    • shah8

      Shanahan was still Shanahan. In Minn, the leadership was all in on Ponder pretty much from the start, and McNabb wasn’t familiar with the system due to the lockout. Plus, the receiving corps could be remarkably bad (that excuse was only allowed for Ponder, though).

      Watching Vick the last three years, though, has illustrated to me just how much Donovan McNabb was not a great natural passer. He was big, strong, and got the job done, but he wasn’t really all that much better than Alex Smith at his best, summing everything up.

      • Stephen Stempo

        How has watching Vick illustrated that?

        • shah8

          Vick makes harder passes and ran a more complex passing offense than DMac.

          • Stephen Stempo

            …. nope.

    • TommyLawlor

      Shanny might have realized his job security was tenuous and that’s what caused him to adapt to RG3.

      Regardless, you’re right that he did adapt to the rookie. Very un-Shanny, but very smart.

      • Ark87

        Why couldn’t he overcome his character flaws AFTER getting fired and moving to another division!? Is it too much to ask for. The football gods need to cut us a break.

  • Skeptic_Eagle

    I do think it was a little more personal with McNabb. It certainly seems the Eagles made a value judgment that for whatever reason, he wasn’t going to get it done as the franchise QB, and moved on.

    A lot of the examples you provided were guys at the tail end of their career; a one or two year pitstop somewhere else, as a post script. Bledsoe had Tom Brady behind him, so that was pretty unique. The Eagles drafted Kolb with a high pick when Donovan was only 29, and traded him to a division rival for an unproven guy when McNabb was only 33. That’s not just moving on from an aging vet, that’s saying “we don’t think you’re good enough”.

    Regardless of my differing perspective over his departure, I fully agree that he needs to move on. Statements about how he hadn’t stepped foot in Philadelphia since he had been traded conflate the organization and the city, and further distance him from fans that still criticize him even without even the benefit of a franchise QB on the roster.

    I’ll put it bluntly: Donovan is a head case. You hit on it, his inability to state his feelings candidly lead to all kinds of unlikable passive aggressive comments and thinly-veiled contempt. Tough personality to like.

    • the midatlantic

      33 is pretty old in the NFL. I think it was silly for him to take offense.

      • Skeptic_Eagle

        I beg to differ, especially for a QB. Brees is 34 now, can you imagine the Saints trading him just because he’s older? Brady is 36, Peyton is 37. Romo just signed a huge extension at 33.

        I don’t think age is prohibitive if a QB’s in his early 30s, if the org believes in the player. The Eagles made a substantial investment in Kolb before McNabb even turned that corner.

        • the midatlantic

          I guess I just see a big gap between Brees, Brady, and Peyton and #5. And I’m a McNabb fan. He was a declining very good quarterback, but not…special. If that makes sense.

        • CampDracula

          McNabb played like he was older than he was because of his injuries. I think people overemphasize the dramatic/ psychological/ interpersonal stuff when trying to locate the cause of his downslide. Donovan’s demise started at the same time as his injuries in 2005, and that angle doesn’t get discussed enough, in my humble opinion.

          • GEagle

            all these conversations do to me is force me to remember the TO debacle…the single greatest mistake in the history of the franchise.Banner should literally have been fired the day immediately after TO blew up in our faces. Cheap prick drives me crazy to this day…How did this even happen? We should be looking at 2 superbowl trophies after gaining superbowl experience in the spygate bowl, but we have Nothing, primarily because that cheap Bleep Banner didn’t want to pay the man. If a player deserved to be paid it was TO. Its also inexcusable how Donovan didn’t speak up for him…This doesn’t absolve TO, but I don’t blame TO the least bit…would you blame a tiger for biting your arm off if you repeatedly poke at it? Everyone knew who TO was. Everyone knew what this would have happened. So TO is the last person I blame. TO is an Idiot, but we all knew it. After what that Man did for us in the superbowl. How hard he rehabbed to get back for the SB, and the overall effect he had on our entire team, what Joe Banner did, was way worse then allowing Reggie White to leave. We were a billion dollar team, who had all the cap space in the world, who had all the success a team could have without getting over the hump…and Bleepin bleep Banner, wouldn’t pay one of the most deserving players of a raise that I can ever remember. Banner should have been fired immediately!….Hey Donovan, how did not speaking up for TO work for you? We should have watched atleast 3 more years of McNabb,westbrook and TO,..to this day it kills me.

            What could have been….SMH!!!

          • Stephen Stempo

            TO deserved nothing. We still play in the SB in 2004 with or without him, he still would have been bitching at McNabb in 2005.

            You’re whole argument is TO can’t be blamed for his actions. um.. Yes he can. I do blame him. TO is totally to blame for TO he’s a jackass and deserves to be looked back on with scorn from every team he played for. He’s not a MAN, he’s a child.

            He was a pouting little child and I for one refuse to look up to him or back on him with any fondness.

            Though I guess you’re right about bringing that work ethic and attitude, I mean we totally sucked from 1999-2003 without him.

          • GEagle

            Not sure how you can make that argument talking about someone who was so grossly underpaid. Everyone gave Desean a pass because they felt he wasn’t getting his fair share of dollars, yet it was acceptable for Banner to not pay him as a top 15 wideout? had TO been taken care of, then you bet your ass I would be blaming him…don’t get into bed with a tiger? Probably good advice, but when you make the decision to do so, then it’s your responsibility to handle it correctly, and that never came close to happening…

            Btw, TO didn’t really start to blow up on Donovan til after Donovan didn’t stick up for him…After years of Trash, Stinkston, LJ, damn right McNabb should have stuck up for him…TO elevated the entire team with his Swag and work ethic, the example he was setting was incredible…why the hell wouldn’t we have paid for that?

            TO was getting the numbers, stats, touchdowns, he was a god in this city…You really can’t automatically say that it would have changed, even if we paid him

          • CampDracula

            TO sure seems to have the personality profile of a person who is never satisfied with others’ displays of affection. I could write a book here as his patterns of behavior very much fit the folks I work with, but I’ll spare you (look for “Cluster B Personality Disorders” if you’re super interested).

            Most mental health professionals are not equipped to work with folks like TO, and some even believe treatment is impossible. If paid professionals struggle to do it, McNabb cannot be held responsible in any way for what happened with TO.

          • Stephen Stempo

            The biggest myth perpetuated by the pro TO crowd is that he did anything for this team except bring a few more TD’s out of the WR spot on a team that was ALREADY a frontrunner to be in the superbowl. Unless you started being a fan in 2004 you should realize just what TO meant to this team. He TOmeant blowing out games instead of winning. At the end of the day it’s still a win though.

            TO is to blame. He deserves no respect and I hope he never makes the hall of fame based on his antics. It’s a damn shame he never matured past 8.

          • Stephen Stempo

            You’re right though Donovan should have totally stuck up for TO. Yeah that’s the kind of behavior you reward. I always stick up for people who were ass-hats to me when it comes time for them to get a new contract. I mean we always see QB’s getting involved in the contract disputes of their WR’s. I mean it must have happened like in at least the single digits where a QB came out and spoke up for his Mentally unstable WR to get payed more.

          • Mac

            cough… Jay Cutler… cough

          • Stephen Stempo

            and yeah, you can’t blame a tiger for biting someone’s arm off, but you can say it was silly for them to get in the cage with the tiger. My advice? Avoid tigers. Though I’ll admit a tiger probably has more common sense than TO.

          • P_P_K

            I’d tell you to calm down, but the thought of what might have been STILL DRIVES ME CRAZY!!

        • SHough610

          I’m a McNabb fan but you’re discounting the miles he had on him from injuries.

      • GEagle

        I think its more silly for him to get upset over the drafting of Kolb. There was a time when it was Brady/Peyton and then McNabb. He was an elite NFL QB for about 5-6 seasons, and he was the head of this franchise. This was long before RG3 and Luck set the NFL on fire during their rookie seasons..It wasn’t uncommon for a QB to get drafted in the first round and then sit for 4 Season. No matter where Kolb was drafted, the Job was Donovan’s until he relinquished it…and I think it was fair to say he was on a decline and wasn’t the same guy he used to be. Its hard to argue against trading him away after his redskin and Viking career…I happen to think it was one of the Rare times that the timing was right. The Front office didn’t get rid of him to soon, or too late…It was Time.

        • P_P_K

          I don’t want to speak for Donovan, but I hated the Kolb pick. The 2006 season was the one where the Eagles won 5 in a row, beat the Giants in the wildcard, and just got edged by the Saints in the Divisional round. It still looked like McNabb had gas in the tank and we could have used that 2nd rounder to boost our chances to go deep in the playoffs the next year.

          • GEagle

            I don’t disagree at all…I mean we were still chasing SBs, so I would have much preferred a first round pick that could have helped right away, plus I don’t think I ever watched a single college football game involving a team from Houston in my life, so how excited could I have really been? not to mention a trade with the cowboys is always a no, no…

            the point is, I don’t think McNabb should have took it to heart. He was an elite QB, no one would have ever replaced him until he was no longer Elite. His destiny was in his own hands, certainly not a reason to feel disrespected by the pick….then again, if you didn’t kiss and cater to Donovan at all times heroine feel disrespected

          • CampDracula

            McNabb was a mobile QB coming off two season-ending injuries in a row. There was justifiable concern for the QB situation in 2006. Hindsight is always 20/20. But since McNabb was never the same again, it’s hard to fault the Eagles for aggressively seeking a QB when they did.

            I do remember thinking at the time that the Eagles could have been more forceful in linking the pick to DMac’s health. That could have helped him save face.

    • RIP Worms

      The long-standing policy (under Joe Banner esp.) was to err on the side of moving a player a year too early vs. a year too late. I think that is what motivated the thinking there.

      McNabb was certainly a train wreck after he left Philly. The big question is how much better would he have been if he stayed?

      • TommyLawlor

        That really is a fascinating question. I think his play would have declined some due to age, but nothing like what we saw.

  • Andy124

    I forget what linked me to this as I did my rounds this morning (I thought it was from here, but can’t find it now), but I thought I’d share it here:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dneagles/217299281.html?c=0.7304958673640402&posted=y&viewAll=y#comments

    Regardless of how we feel about McNabb, it’s a really nice story.

  • ACViking

    Re: The End of 2009 . . . and McNabb

    T-Law:

    Last year, we saw the O-line fall apart piece by piece — starting with JP and then cresting with the loss of J-Kelce at Center. The loss of Peters was bad. But the loss of Kelce made a marginally serviceable O-line a disaster area.

    In Week 15 of the 2009 season, the Eagles were hosting the Broncos.

    I can still remember the camera shot from behind the Eagles offense showing Center Jamaal Jackson snap the ball, take a step, and them — BAM — he crumpled to the ground with a torn ACL.

    Nick Cole slid from guard to center . . . and neither the Eagles nor Donovan McNabb were ever the same.

    If Jackson’s not injured, what happens against Cowboys?

    The Eagles were on a 6-game winning streak when they went to went to Dallas for the regular season finale.

    During that streak, they were winning by an average of 31-21. The offense was on fire.

    But J-Jax went down. And D-Mac was out.

    ___________________

    Thoughts?

    Was McNabb a “dead man walking in green” during all of 2009?

    Or did Banner inter D-Mac — evidenced by the “insanity” comment — after the debacles in Big D?

    • slackerjoe

      Very good point about J-Jax. A lot of Eagles thought we were headed for a 1st round bye and were poised for a serious SB run.
      How soon it all came crashing down!

    • TommyLawlor

      ACV,

      Great point about JamJax’s injury. That was a tough blow to the OL.

      Still, losing your C should not drop you from 30 points a game to one TD in 2 weeks. The Eagles didn’t play anyone with a Top 6 defense during the season so those numbers weren’t coming against elite competition.

      Had the team gone deep into the playoffs, I think McNabb might have returned. My guess is that Banner/Roseman/Reid needed to decide whether we were a Super Bowl team or one that should be breaking in a new QB. Getting outscored 58-14 the last 2 weeks made them think the young guy was the way to go.

    • Ark87

      To be fair about the Kolb never being the same comment, his career game (imo) was in relief of an injured Vick vs Atlanta.

  • T_S_O_P

    I have a McNabb jersey, a host of Hawaiian shirts a la Big Red and toilet paper with Marty’s face on it. I enjoy paying tribute to all 3 in my own special way.

    • TommyLawlor

      You are truly one of a kind.

  • shah8

    Dude, you have to admit your part in this, collectively. Philly fans can be really hard on their athletes, even the ones they love. Always safer to be the backup!

    • Andy124

      “you have to admit your part in this, collectively”
      We do? Do we have to admit that water is wet too, or is it just a given?

      • shah8

        Well, yes. Some people only count alcohol as wet.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think I’ve always been more than fair with McNabb.

      Having lived through Bubby Brister, Jeff Kemp, Pat Ryan and Doug Pederson made me appreciate McNabb. I wasn’t ripping him left and right. I’ve never gotten into the McPuke and McChoke digs.

      I was hard on McNabb when his play was obviously bad, but always fair with my expectations.

      • shah8

        Just, as a whole…DMac took a hell of a lot of abuse from the beginning boos to the disdainful end, even if you didn’t think you added to all of that.

        • Stephen Stempo

          Dmac was never booed for being Dmac on draft day, he wasn’t booed at all. Not picking Ricky Williams was booed. Couch would have been booed, James would have been booed. Jesus christ being the pick would have been booed.

          • Ark87

            Good point. Never really looked at it like that.

          • BobSmith77

            What idiot shows up to the combine in sandals to run 40-type and that time? Yeah deep threat indeed.

  • D-von

    I sympathize with McNabb because I felt like he got a raw deal. And what did we actually get in return for trading him? Nate Allen who hasn’t lived up to expectations since his rookie season.

    • goeagles55

      Actually, it turns out that for Mcnabb and a 2012 3rd pick, we ended up with Nate Allen, Demeco Ryans, and Nick Foles.

      Here’s a picture that isn’t quite up to Jimmy Kempski standards:

      • P_P_K

        Good stuff.

  • planetx1971

    I choose to just remember #5 for all the years that NY cowboy & Giants fan buddies hated his gut because they were scared sh*#less of him. Which was plenty reason enough to love him. When he played Arizona with a busted wheel & tossed 4 td’s? HERCULEAN. I wish my dad had lived to see that stuff. There is a blue cloud still hovering in space over Lancaster Pa. From all the pure rage & cussing my pop spewed at the “polish rifle” in comparison. Worm burners WERE frustrating sure, but I’d take them over picks all day long!

    • planetx1971

      Just for fun, anyone know what classic flick (the “blue cloud hanging in space” reference is from that I pulled from an orifice that shall remain unnamed :)

      • TommyLawlor

        I’m drawing a blank. Good one if I’ve got no clue.

        • planetx1971

          Not sure if you saw it/liked it, but remember the kid that wanted a red rider BB gun in “a Christmas story”? Lol he was talking about a blue cloud hangin somewhere over lake Michigan from cursin’ up a storm fixing fish damned furnace. Classic stuff :) IMO

      • Igglez

        A Christmas Story?

  • ohitsdom

    McNabb definitely seems to let things get to him. He seemed to perform heavily based on his emotions. If he’s joking and smiling on the sideline, it was a good day.

    The 01-04 years were amazing. Skins, Cowboys, and Giants fans couldn’t say much when it’s been 4 years in a row…

    • GEagle

      McNabbs biggest fault is that he cared way too much about what people said about him…. just look at how many yards he left on the field when he started to refuse to run to shake the running QB stigma..unless you have the thickest of thick skins, there will always be a limit to your success. Its actually incredible how much success we had regardless of it

      • P_P_K

        I never understood why he stopped running. Why not use a tool that works.

        • GEagle

          he got that from Andy…Always had some great RBs, but “why not use a tool that works lol?”…

  • GEagle

    Greatest on the field QB I ever had the pleasure of watching..supported ..Doesn’t mean I have to like him. We worship true Philadelphians Forever. Doesn’t matter how many years he led the Eagles, I just cant look at him as one of us. We Immortalize guys like Ike Reese who weren’t ever close to being stars, yet I cant force myself to like the best QB we ever had who led the golden age of my Eagles Fandom? how much crap does a player so great have to spew for it to have ever gotten like this?

    All the crap he talked last week, yet almost 30,000 of us faithful stood up yesterday and gave him a roaring round of applause. If you listen to McNabb he will tell you how we mistreated him so much,…I rooted for this dude every single time he put on the midnight green as did about 90% of the fanbase, but because of a minority 10% of Fans that booed him, us Fans who supported McNabb, never even mattered to him. We were constantly bunched in with the few that didn’t like him, and that’s not OK with me. Today, he should be one of the very top most beloved Eagles of All time, but he is just Not…not even close in my eyes.

    McNabb had everything a QB should have physically, and a good work ethic to go along with it. IMO what kept him from truly being one of the all time greats was his character. Its such an odd thing to say about a good dude, with a strong work ethic but his character showed a lot of weakness and IMO that’s what held him back.

    The Love he got, far out weighed the negativity he received….but that never even came close to registering in his brain. Fans like me who supported him through thick and thin were constantly being spit in our face by McNabbs comments, and what goes around comes around…what have you done for me lately? Not a Damn Thing, so should I have any love less for this immature baby?

    • Anders

      So you hate McNabb for what he says, but have no problems with Reese? Reese have been talking crap ever since he retired, but nobody cares because he was not McNabb.

      • GEagle

        Reese doesn’t talk crap about us!!!

  • Michael Winter Cho

    I don’t feel McNabb played very well after the ’04 season… that’s five years of mediocrity and injury. An inaccurate quarterback who relies on his athleticism and then does not have access to it due to injury or preference, but who also does not or cannot improve his accuracy. Just never was going to end well. He was essentially a game manager who could also hit long bombs once in awhile. He got old but never got old man skills.
    That being said, I think we would have been better off not trading him. We really didn’t get that much out of Kolb or Vick. If McNabb could played even at his mediocre, miss 3, hit one pace; rely on Shady and Peters; not throw interceptions. We probably would have been better off. But not a lot.
    McNabb’s on talk radio here in Phoenix. Don’t think I’ve heard one bit of decent insight yet. But he does have a great radio voice.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Things always end badly, otherwise they don’t end. Similar to Reid in the long run the bad will fade and the good will be respected.
    unless Vick and Chip win the Superbowl this year. That will be the worst thing for McNabbs legacy.

  • GEagle

    Since we are taking a class trip down memory lane today…when I got home from practice yesterday I was extra Jacked up for the birds, so I popped in the playoff game of Falcons vs. Birds..That was donovans first game back from the ankle injury and boy was he sharp. The offense wasn’t special that day, but McNabb was extremely on point throwing to thrash,stinkston and Chad Lewis.

    I almost forgot just how great our defense was. They made Vicks night miserable. Bobby Taylor gets a huge pick six to put us up 7 nothing…Its funny to hear the commentary when you go back and watch the games, because we can compare it to how we view things today…For example, Moose Johnson said McNabb and the Eagles favorite pass play was the fade…Im like what? Moose talked about how Vick is trying to break “the stigma of…” Made me want to cry from a nervous Breakdwon. 7 years later and we are still hoping for Vick to fix things from back in Atlanta…lol
    ..
    Yesterday really got me digging deep into my Eagles memory vault, and I remember being at the Ricky Watters “for who? for what game with my dad. I remember that day clearly(when I got home, I got dumped by my first girlfriend, 7th or 8th grade lol)….At that game, it was the first and only time sitting in this special sky box…Now since then I had been in other box’s and suites, but I never seen one like the VIP box we were in that day…I remember this enormous Luxury buffet, just incredible..
    ..
    .Does Anyone know what Sky box or suite that was? I have never seen that type of buffet in any Box or suite since that game that was like 18 years ago…Anyone know where I was sitting? I have been wondering for a long time

  • A Roy

    DMac was the best Eagles quarterback in the 5 decades I’ve been watching them. 2000-2008 was a great run. And you gotta admit, on screen passes no one ever through a better dirtball.

  • ztom6

    I think one thing that gets lost in the “how good was Donovan McNabb?” arguments is the question of whether Andy Reid did enough to maximize Dononvan McNabb’s talents. I think for instance had Donovan McNabb been drafted by the Steelers instead of the Eagles there’d be no question about him being a Hall of Famer. If you compare him purely as a QB talent to Ben Roethlisberger, he’s arguably equally or more talented at several of the attributes that have made Big Ben a likely HOFer. The difference is, Big Ben has had better talent around him (easy to forget how good Steelers WR’s have been over the years) and hasn’t had to shoulder the offensive load by himself because the Steelers have always been firm believers in establishing the run. If McNabb had been in a situation like that he would have been brilliant IMO.

    • TommyLawlor

      This is interesting speculation. On a different team, McNabb could have been even better. But Andy’s coaching and development did bring out the best in him. There is no guarantee he’d have responded the same way to other coaches.

      • Stephen Stempo

        People will say what they want about Andy but he did seem to have a knack for getting a whole slew of QB’s to play well. You could rag on his game-day management or his play calling or anything else, but the man could coach a QB. Who knows how McNabb develops elsewhere.

        • P_P_K

          I agree a lot with ztom, less with Tommy and you, Stephen. It drove me nuts, and I’d bet Donovan felt the same way, that Andy never provided his ace qb with a stud receiver (I know he drafted Freddy Mitchell) until TO. I wonder how Ben would have fared throwing to Thrash and Pinkston?

          I’m also not sure Reid deserves all the credit he gets as a qb whisperer. McNabb was great coming out of Syracuse, a pretty sure bet to be a really good NFL qb. Who else did Reid mentor to success? Kolb? Nope. Vick? Nope. At the end of the day, I think it was more like Donovan making Reid look like a better coach than he might have been.

          • GvilleEagleFan

            I think the point about Andy’s QB teaching skills is that he’s gotten players to produce well in certain situations and (at least in the earlier days) showed a willingness to adapt playcalling to maximize each QB’s strengths. I agree with you that he seems to be overrated in turning out finished products that can go on to success elswhere, but Kolb, Garcia, Feeley, McNabb and Vick (at times) have all produced at above average if not elite levels.

          • Stephen Stempo

            well i meant more he’s good at getting what he need out of QB’s. But then again that’s a coaches job.

          • GvilleEagleFan

            Yet it’s a job he seems to do better than many other coaches in the league, and the main reason (IMO) that he stayed with us for 14 years.

          • Stephen Stempo

            Really ? He got more out of Kolb than Arizona did. And he got more out of Vick than ANY coach ever has. Vick and Kolb are severely limited QB’s. Let’s be honest if Vick hadn’t gone to prison he would have played himself out of a starting job by 2010 in atlanta. Maybe earlier.

          • P_P_K

            I agree with you up to a point. I still don’t think Andy has ever turned anyone into a great qb. I’d propose Donovan would have been a fine NFL qb under most any coach (maybe not Shanny). Kolb and Vick remain, like you say, limited, even after their time under him. I just don’t see that Reid has some kind of mojo with abs (I meant qbs, but I’m leaving the typo. lol).

            It will be interesting to see how Alex Smith does this year with the Chiefs.

          • Ark87

            Reid has a long history of making young QB’s look like gold and then trading them off for nice value. All QB’s he taught did much better in Philly than they did anywhere else.

        • GEagle

          Andy was an Excellent “Week day” coach, who specialized in getting his guys prepared…His “In game coaching” held us back at times….you just look at some of those losses and the stubborn chuck the ball a million times play calling, when guys like Runyan were itching to block for Westbrook…it will always make you wonder what could have been…

          It’s almost like, winning wasn’t enough for Andy..He had to win “His way”…and there is going to be a limit to your success when you are playing against equally well coached teams with leaders who are open to whatever adjustment to get the win…Can anyone really say, he did everything possible for us to succeed after all the times he abandoned a successful running game and went with a struggling pass game?..

          If we were going to win, by golly we were going to wn by throwing the ball

          • P_P_K

            That’s really the essence of Andy’s strength and weakness. I felt like we were watching some kind of Greek tragedy, where the hero is so deserving of victory but held back by a character flaw that everyone else, but he, could see.

  • nickross23

    I will always appreciate both Don and Andy, and although they both drove us mad at times the good times they gave us for most of thier tenure will always be cherished.

    • TommyLawlor

      Well said.

    • GEagle

      heck, I still watch Donovan’s games frequently til this day.

  • ACViking

    Re: News of the Day

    Off topic but . . . how many more ACL tears before we ask if moving from Leheigh to the NCC wasn’t a good idea.

    Just wondering out loud . . . because I can’t remember two ACLs at an Eagles training camp in the last 50 years.

    • Stephen Stempo

      It’s the humid summer air at Lehigh it relaxes the ACL.

    • Ark87

      Is this a football gods’ Karma type comment or commentary on field conditions. All 3 fields in question are natural grass right?

  • Ark87

    Beyond the stuff that happened on the football field, Don did suffer an unreasonable amount of personal attacks between Bernard Hopkins revoking his black card and Rush claiming that he stinks and that people only think he’s good because they want to see a good black QB.

    I do wonder how much race plays into the equation. That is one of those things he had to deal with even before TO. In the beginning he was a highly mobile QB, but it was always apparent, he wanted to be, he was a pocket passer first an foremost (and without a doubt the most successful one the Eagles have ever had). Whether or not he was actively trying to defy a stereotype or not, he became a sort of torch bearer for black QB’s of the past and future.

    I think it put him up on a pedestal for intense scrutiny (didn’t help that he was in Philly either). In essence he was a good pocket passer who happened to be black. He had more in common with Brett Favre than he did with Randall Cunningham. I do think there was some societal resistance to the concept. Some said he wasn’t authentically Black (similar to what Obama dealt with, and what many middle/upper class black folk have to deal with). Others say that he was in fact a bad pocket passer. Thus the stereotype is upheld by both detractors.

    Between this and all the stuff you mentioned Tommy, I think it was just toxic.

  • Fred

    I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here, Tommy. It is a shame that basically post-T.O McNabb started to whinge a bit more and became clearly more insecure. I remember before that, even though I was just a kid, thinking that DMac could do no wrong whatsoever. I was sure he was going to go down as the greatest ever Eagles player, and his career would continue to develop to the point where you could place him in the elite QB bracket with Brady, Manning, Brees etc. He perhaps had a realistic shot at the hall of fame and it’s just disappointing that he never quite fulfilled his whole potential. I wouldn’t say I love him (like Westbrook or Dawkins), but I do respect him as playing QB in Philly is a pretty demanding job.

  • BobSmith77

    - McNabb was never the same athletically after he tore his ACL in ’06 and he always seemed to play at a heavier weight after that which decreased his ability to scramble a bit.

    - Never understood why Hugh Douglas (one of my least favorite Eagles over the years) seemed to have it out for McNabb. Douglas was a key guy who leaked a lot of negative stories about McNabb after the SB in ’05 and about the TO-McNabb feud while he was trying to get into broadcasting. I thought it was petty and reflected poorly on Douglas yet somehow Douglas didn’t get a snitch reputation while McNabb came off as the bad guy.

    Always thought it was kind of odd how Douglas questioned McNabb’s ability in big playoffs games when Douglas was largely a no-show for a bunch of them too.

    - I do wish McNabb’s career in Philly would have ended on a better note. Still remember him looking like he was in shell shock in the 4th quarter of that beating that the ‘Boys put on the Eagles. Eerily similar to how Cunningham had looked in ’92 on the Eagles sidelines when they got manhandled offensively by the ‘Boys in Dallas.

    - Always wonder as the ‘what if’ the ’08 playoff run hadn’t occurred would McNabb have been back as the starter in ’09 and just how long Reid would have lasted if he had turned to Kolb as his full-time QB.

  • bneshuffle

    Dead on Tommy. I never comment but this article deserves kudos.

    • TommyLawlor

      Thanks.

  • Flyin

    Tommy, I want to respond to this topic… however, a new post will follow shortly.

    Trying to shake the TK jacket off my back.

    • TommyLawlor

      Posted. Who knew you were so wise?

  • McNabbulousness

    I feel with my screen name I have to say something on the matter…
    I’m glad all the McNabbulous supporters showed up in force this week. Really happy they’re going to retire his number cinco de the best qb we’ve ever had. I feel having 20 and 5 retired these past two years is a fitting tribute to the best 10 year run this franchise has ever had.

    Good job per usual Tommy. This post was in so may words, “cool.”

  • SHough610

    I’m a McNabb fan and he always got too much slack from the national media and not enough from the Philly media. He was the quarterback of a team that went to three NFC title games where his receivers were the likes of James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, and Freddie Mitchell. By the time 5 had decent talent he had a right knee that was more machine than man.