Dating back to draft day 1999, the fans of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Eagles were used to booing QB Donovan McNabb. Well, good news Philly, this Sunday October 3rd Donovan McNabb will be playing Quarterback again at Lincoln Financial Field, only this time as the leader of the Washington Redskins. The chorus of boos, this time, probably justified and not just to prove a point.
Last season the football world was buzzing as Brett Favre stepped back onto the grass at Lambeau field, where he had spent many successful seasons with the Green Bay Packers, and he came wearing the jersey of their arch-rival Minnesota Vikings. While McNabb did not win Super Bowls like Favre, the Eagles enjoyed great success with him, and he will do the same and come back wearing the jersey of an arch-rival of the Eagles. It will be an epic moment in the franchise’s history as well as the career of McNabb, the always smiling, ultra-competitive QB that the Eagles decided to part ways with this past off-season.
While the Eagles are currently enjoying the success and rebirth of Mike Vick at QB, and a nice 2-1 record which is good enough for first place in the NFC East division, the Redskins and McNabb find themselves falling into a 2 game losing streak, most recently an awful loss at the hands of a poor St. Louis Rams team. However, many experts will lead you to believe that McNabb and the Redskins were kind of looking past the Rams in anticipation of this weekend’s big showdown. Not only would you think that the Redskins would love a victory and pull into a tie with the Eagles, but McNabb secretly burns inside to roast his old club. After all, many a fan gladly waved good-bye to the 6 time pro bowler who holds many of the franchises records and led them to a Super Bowl, as well as 5 appearances in the NFC Championship game.
He has endured some hurdles here. He had injuries, power struggles with Terrell Owens, Mike Vick, and media types like Rush Limbaugh. He was, as I mentioned booed heavily by Eagles fans on draft day, when he was the 2nd overall pick. (Heck, imagine if Philly would have taken Tim Couch?) His time here was very much like that of former QB, Randall Cunningham. He ran very well, could throw insane, gravity defying bombs down-field, but lacked that pin-point accuracy that all fans feel should come so easily. Perhaps it was due to him being called a top 5 QB of his time, while many watched the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning make it look all so simple. Like Cunningham, he did not win a Super Bowl, and many felt as good as it looked at times, it was never a champion, then again no QB has made the Eagles a champion, not winning a Super Bowl.
There is some strange irony on how many said that McNabb heavily campaigned for Mike Vick to come to Philly, and now Vick has his old job. Also very ironic is how the guy being groomed to be McNabb’s replacement, Kevin Kolb, will be just a spectator on the sidelines. Vick is now what McNabb was, the quick scrambling, bomb throwing menace to defenses. Despite his past he is now being embraced by this tough town. It almost feels like any QB will be more welcomed, as long as the Eagles are winning.
So who wins in this grand scheme? If the Eagles win this weekend does it exercise all the demons of McNabb being not quite good enough? Does an Eagles victory thrust Vick higher up the scale of “God-like” status or is it just another nice win for the starting QB? How will it look if McNabb wins? You can’t think that it is such a tall tale, and the story will not prove to be as magical as it should. McNabb is kind of the loser in this situation no matter what. A win by the Redskins will be just seen as a team effort, no matter how good McNabb plays.
I for one, miss number 5. I always thought that he loved what he was doing, and in my generation have seen such bad Eagles football that his winning was addictive. Apparently it was so addictive that just after one loss with Kolb as the starting QB the Eagles quickly put him away for the year and made Vick its leader. McNabb was not going to get his last contract here, it was already in the works to trade him away the second the season ended. Yes Andy Reid loves to tell us who his QB is, then quickly turn around and change that. McNabb had a better chance of playing baseball for the Phillies then football with the Eagles this season.
No matter what it is going to be a big game for both teams. A win makes the Eagles 3-1, and would push the Redskins 3 games back in the division. A Redskins’ win clogs up the top of the NFC East. McNabb calls this game, “just another opponent” at this moment and if you believe that then you believe that Philadelphia is just another stadium. They snowballed Santa Claus, cheered the career ending hit on Michael Irvin, and have baseball fans that run the field as if it was covered in gold. McNabb’s presence that was hated by so many while he was here has no reason to be less this weekend. He will get quite a mix of boos and cheers, but in the end we just hope its player fair and kept as a game.
When it goes down I’m going to say my “Hi 5” as long as I don’t have to see McNabb sharing “High 5s”. I bleed green, so I have to stay true to my team, and I will say thanks to McNabb for many great years.
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