For better or worse, the final chapter in the Philadelphia sports history books of Donovan McNabb has been written. The Philadelphia Eagles have traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins in exchange for a second round draft pick. It appears that Kevin Kolb will attempt to satisfy a fickle Philadelphia Eagles fan base and take the quarterback reigns from Donovan McNabb beginning in the 2010-11 season.
As I reflect on Donovan McNabb and the trade, I have mixed feelings when it comes to our former local hero. I completely disagree with national critics who claim that Philadelphia Eagles fans never appreciated McNabb. Unless we were expected to lineup outside of his house with water and towels to wash his car, I don’t know what else we could have done. I dare anyone to attend a game at Lincoln Financial Field and not notice the sea of McNabb jerseys on Eagles fans.
I don’t know what the future of the Philadelphia Eagles brings with Kevin Kolb and neither does anyone who says he will succeed or fail. I do know that the future of the Eagles with McNabb was a competitive team that continually came up short. Personally, I feel that more blame rests on the head coach yet regardless, the team has continued to come up short sans one magical season. It was time to make the change and take a chance on hope rather than apathy. This isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate Donovan McNabb’s years in Philadelphia, it is just to say that the excuses, the games, the quotes, and the demeanor has worn thin on me and most of the city. It was time to turn the page on McNabb in Eagle green.
So today rather than sit here and criticize McNabb, I’d like to look back and celebrate the great Donovan McNabb moments that I shared with my fellow Philadelphia Eagles fans. As frustrating as these past ten years have been, Donovan McNabb has given me some of the most exciting moments in my life as a football and Philadelphia Eagles fan. With that said, today I look back on the Top Five Donovan McNabb Moments.
Dec. 22, 2002 – On the third play of a regular season game against the Arizona Cardinals, Donovan McNabb goes down. This would be a familiar scene to Eagles fans, but what happened next would go down in history. McNabb wound up breaking his leg on the play, yet continued to play the game. In what has been called one of the gutsiest performances in all of NFL history, Donovan McNabb lit up the Cardinals for four touchdowns, for four quarters on a broken leg. Regardless of your feelings for McNabb, one could never deny his heart and courage after such a historic performance.
Oct. 2, 2005 – Many Philadelphia Eagles fans criticize Donovan McNabb’s inability over the last several years to lead fourth-quarter comebacks. However, at one time McNabb was the king of the comeback. Arguably McNabb’s greatest comeback came during the 2005 season on the road at Arrowhead Stadium. McNabb led the Eagles from behind and won a 37-31 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Everything went wrong early on for the birds, but McNabb turned it around going 33-for-48, throwing for 369 yards, and three touchdowns to put the team on his back and steal a road win in one of the toughest away stadiums in the NFL.
Dec. 30, 2001 – Donovan McNabb was on his way to becoming “the man” in the NFL this season. McNabb came from behind twice to beat the arch rival New York Giants. McNabb’s big moment came in . McNabb led the Eagles down the field with a mix of scrambles and passes in under a minute to go in seven plays starting at their own 28 and ending at the Giants 29. With 11 seconds left, McNabb put the team in place for a David Akers 35 yard field goal which not only won the game, but clinched the NFC East.
Oct. 1, 2000 – This was the first time the country got a chance to check out Donovan McNabb. McNabb made his prime time debut on ESPN in a game against the Atlanta Falcons. McNabb had his first of many 300-yard passing games and dazzled in his prime time debut with two touchdowns and 311 yards at home. The game marked the first 300-yard passer for the Philadelphia Eagles since Bobby Hoying in 1997.
Honorable Mention: January 11, 2004 – Known as “4th and 26,” this game featured one of the most clutch postseason plays by a quarterback in NFL history. Down 14-17 to the Green Bay Packers, the Philadelphia Eagles were faced with a 4th down situation, needing to convert 26 yards with 1:12 left and no timeouts. Donovan McNabb hit Freddie Mitchell on a 25-yard slant route to keep the drive going in one of the greatest plays in all of Philadelphia sports history. The drive culminated with a David Akers field goal which sent the game into overtime. Brian Dawkins intercepted Brett Favre in overtime to set the Eagles up with a game-winning field goal and a crack at the NFC championship.
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