Ed Rendell Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About

Some thoughts on the governor's annoying love affair with Donovan McNabb. Plus more things I think about

I can’t wait for Ed Rendell to leave the governor’s office. This way I won’t be as irritated having a governor — whose job it is to govern 24 hours a day and seven days a week — wasting the people’s time adding panel commentary to an Eagles post-game show.

God knows he irritates me enough with his unabashed worship of Donovan McNabb.

In case you missed it last week, Rendell, who seems more scorned about McNabb being out of town than the football captain who loses the homecoming queen to a geek, pumped his chest again on behalf of the former Eagles quarterback. Rendell said that the Redskins, with McNabb, will make the playoffs and the Eagles, with Kevin Kolb, won’t. To that end, the governor will be rooting for the Redskins big-time in the playoffs to show his support for McNabb. And he also reiterated that tired refrain about “being careful about what you wish for,” suggesting that the Eagles will be eminently worse off with Kolb than McNabb. [SIGNUP]

What exactly is this guy’s obsession with number 5?

I had Rendell on my radio show last week and he said — presumably with a straight face — that McNabb had engineered one of the “greatest comebacks in Eagles history” in the NFC championship game two years ago the Arizona Cardinals.

Perhaps the man has had his brain fried by too many late-night budget summits. In that game, I don’t recall the comeback as much as the fact that McNabb absolutely stunk in the first half of that game, helping the Eagles did that big hole. I recall McNabb having one good quarter of play — the third. And, yes, he did make a nice effort to get the Birds back into the game. But he also had a first down and 10 at the Arizona 49 yard line late in that game and couldn’t get the Eagles any closer. Yes, Kevin Curtis dropped a fourth down pass that would have kept the drive and the game alive. But McNabb also threw over the head and behind the body of two receivers in that drive, and both of those plays wouldn’t have necessitated a fourth-down completion.

Rendell can run (and he probably will down the road, perhaps for the Senate where he can be close to his beloved McNabb), but he can’t hide. You ain’t fooling anybody, Ed. We all know that it was you who years ago spearheaded the drive to draft Texas running back Ricky Williams. It was partly your furor that prompted a group of 30 nitwits to storm the NFL draft that year in New York and forge a moment that will live in Philadelphia fan infamy — the booing of the draft pick of Donovan McNabb. And the guilt that has consumed you over the years must be terrible. But this makeup act is cheesy even for you, a lifelong politician.

Ed, here are the facts. Study them. Know them. There might be a test later. And while you’re absorbing these facts, please pass them on to your McNabb worship buddy on that Comcast SportsNet post-game show, Vaughn Hebron. McNabb is the best quarterback in Eagles history. The statistics say so. But he was no bargain. You know why? Because he went 1-4 in NFC title games, and in three of the games he lost he was the FAVORITE. In other words, he had the better team, whether his receivers were James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, or Harold Carmichael and Tommy McDonald. In all of those games in which his team was favored he underachieved at his position. He didn’t play his best. Which is all defining.

Be careful what you wish for? Don’t you get it. This Eagles fan base — AND, I might add, the head coach and the front office — were tired of McNabb and willing to take the chance that an unknown quarterback like Kevin Kolb was a better option at this stage than to risk being trapped in the eternal sameness of Donovan McNabb and his failure to deliver in the biggest of big games.

That, Mr. Rendell, is called a mandate.

The Things I Think About

* The Philadelphia Flyers run to the Stanley Cup finals — the first time since 1997 — is fairly amazing. But it’s more akin to the championship run the Flyers made in 1985 and 1987, where a bunch of young kids were buggy whipped by Mike Keenan into a whirlwind of overachievement before they succumbed to a much better Edmonton Oilers team. Similar circumstance here. Gonna take a gargantuan effort to beat this young and fast Chicago Blackhawks team. For those of you Flyers fans caught up in the premise that a Stanley Cup this year is the Flyers destiny, consider that the Blackhawks haven’t won a Cup since 1961. Wouldn’t destiny be on their side, too?

* I hate when commentators have to embellish just to be fancy. “The Flyers are just four wins away from taking home Lord Stanley’s cup!” Oh, brother. It’s the Stanley Cup. Can’t we keep it at that? Nobody knows or cares who Lord Stanley is.

* Doug Collins delivered the best introductory press conference of anyone I’ve ever heard in 25 years of covering Philadelphia sports. He was smart, glib, forceful, confident and charming. Will it make a difference in wins for the Sixers? Don’t know. Collins talked about the importance of defense, and I suddenly remembered that only about two of the 12 players on this roster can even spell defense.

* Remember when Rick Reilly used to write things that were somewhat interesting? Since being hired by ESPN, Reilly now forces schmaltzy commentary on mundane topics. His piece on last Sunday morning’s SportsCenter made the point that Philadelphia fans should apologize to Donovan McNabb, not the other way around. In the piece, he asked whimsical questions like “Does the grizzly bear apologize to the salmon?” I played the piece on my radio show, then had Reilly on where he used the same “salmon metaphor.” Geez, I guessed he really liked that line. Then I buried him and lectured him about being one of a number of national pundits who stick their nose where it doesn’t belong, such as the state of Philadelphia sports. If you don’t know, don’t show.

Listen to MIKE MISSANELLI weekday afternoons on 97.5 The Fanatic.