Today, Donovan McNabb accepted reality. He signed a one day contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and officially retired from the NFL. Now, anyone who watches football knows that Donovan McNabb has effectively been retired for the past 2 years. But today, it became official.
Many arguments can be had about McNabb. Was he "clutch"? (Whatever that word means. But that's another post for another day) Did he choke in big moments? Was he overrated? Is he a Hall of Famer? (I personally think he is. But I do acknowledge this is a debate) All of the questions are fair and are up for debate. But one thing isn't up for debate. Donovan McNabb is the best quarterback the Philadelphia Eagles have ever had. Period.
So imagine my dismay this morning. My fiance and I, on the first day of our week long vacation were driving down to the Jersey Shore for the day. We were listening to Philadelphia Sports Talk Radio. Who? I'm not entirely sure and it doesn't really matter. Every Philly sports radio show is the same. The Phillies Suck but we still love them and the media hates us. The Sixers Suck. The Flyers are awesome and Fuck the Penguins! The Eagles are the best team in the NFC East, and oh yeah they suck too.
As we drove, we listened to host after host and caller after caller take shots at McNabb. Saying he wasn't a Hall of Famer. He was soft. Couldn't get it done in big games. They said Donovan wasn't a winner. It was baffling. They easily had the best 10 years stretch in franchise history under McNabb. From 2000-2009, the Eagles posted a 103-56-1 record (good for 3rd in that time period, behind the Colts, Patriots and tied with the Steelers), 5 division championships, 10 post season wins (tied for second with the Steelers behind only the Patriots with 14), 5 NFC Championship appearances and 1 NFC Championship. But McNabb wasn't a winner?
Now I admit, I'm not an Eagles fan. I didn't watch McNabb week after week. I don't know how frustrating it may have been to watch him. But as a Panthers fan, we had our own frustrating QB by the name of Jake Delhomme. Jake also lead the Panthers to one Super Bowl and didn't get it done. Jake also had one the worst playoff performances by a QB of all time. And guess what? He is BELOVED in Carolina. Maybe in part to his endorsement of Bojangles (southern folks sure do love them some Bojangles). But still. His resume isn't even in the same discussion as McNabb's.
So what gives Eagles fans? Is it really that McNabb didn't win you a Championship? Neither did Ron Jaworski or Randall Cunningham. And neither did Allen Iverson who inexplicably is still a God in this city. I attended a Sixers game this past season when they played my beloved Charlotte Bobcats. It was Allen Iverson Bobble Head Night. (Why? Because why not) And the crowd went crazy for him. Don't get me wrong, Allen Iverson was a great player. But no player did more to damage to the NBA players' image in the 2000s than Iverson. Ok, maybe Ron Artest. Maybe.
To answer the question I posed in the title; I have no idea. I don't get how a fan base can love Allen Iverson hate Donovan McNabb and boo Andre Iguodala (I was at that game too. It was an embarrassment the way the fans booed Iggy. ) I've accepted I'll never understand Philadelphia fans. Why they love what they love and hate what they hate. But when it comes to McNabb and whether he should be hated or beloved, there shouldn't be a debate.