Memo to the National Media: You Want McNabb? Take Him!
Hello, Philadelphia-area campers! I invite you to step out of the provincial boundaries of the Delaware Valley and experience a sports world where everyone else thinks we’re nuts for not appreciating Donovan McNabb. This just in: they’re wasting their time. We don’t feel guilty about it anymore. We know that this reaction is merely another pathetic reflection of Philly fan fear and loathing.
In what other sports world would a fan base not be willing to question the merit of a quarterback who has failed to win a championship in 11 years at the helm? Did I wake up in Kansas or something? I am tired of taking buckshot from national pundits, like this idiot sports talk host in Chicago who in an interview asked deposed Eagles running back running Brian Westbrook whether McNabb was “the most underappreciated athlete in sports history.” In history! Or in the interview I had a few days ago with former Eagle lineman Mike Golic, part of the very successful Mike and Mike Show on ESPN radio. To make his point, Golic reached into the bag for the two oldest McNabb excuses in the book: One, that McNabb has never had enough talent around him to facilitate a Super Bowl championship; two (and this is the real beaut), that football is a team sport and it takes more than one man to win something.[SIGNUP]
Okay, that’s fine. Except that when we examine the whole picture, we find that despite this overwhelming lack of talent the national media always cites, the Eagles happened to be the favorite in four of the NFC title games in which they participated. So I guess that talent wasn’t that bad. Yes, they started a couple of wide receivers one year named James Thrash and Todd Pinkston (or as Hall of Famer and TMZ star Michael Irvin once called them, “Trash” and “Stinkston”). But during those years, the Eagles also had one of the most solid offensive lines in the conference, and in Westbrook, they had perhaps the best all-purpose back in the league. And I hate to break the news to Golic, who obviously has taken a few too many blows to the head in the trenches, but quarterback is the most important position in sports and influences wins or losses more than anyone else on the field.
Back to those NFC title games…McNabb and the Birds were 1-4, with two of those losses at home, and one, against Tampa Bay, in perfectly cold weather in the last game at raucously course Veterans Stadium. Two seasons ago, Donovan McNabb had a first down inside Arizona Cardinals territory and couldn’t bring them down the field any further. I assume the national conscience would like us to say, “Aw, don’t worry about it Donnie…get ’em next time?”
I don’t want to get all sociological on you here, but it is clear to me that much of the protection McNabb gets nationally is a reflection of media guilt. The black quarterback has walked many tough miles to achieve acceptance in the NFL. For overcoming those difficult obstacles and racially ignorant perceptions, that respect has been well-deserved. And McNabb has made it difficult for us all. He’s polite and seemingly righteous, a wonderful crossover marketer for all races. So, to the national guys, any criticism of the quarterback makes us all look like Rush Limbaugh.
Get over it, guys. The guy’s had 11 years to win something here. He has failed to make the great plays in the clutch. He has been clandestinely criticized within his own locker room for a lack of real leadership. And it’s now time to move on. I don’t know if Kevin Kolb can play a lick. But sometimes, it’s just time to move on and take your chances.
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