The Real Reason Donovan McNabb Got Yanked

Enough with the spin and BS, Mike Shanahan. We all know why you really pulled number 5 out of Sunday's game

I wasn’t planning to write another Donovan McNabb story, but the circumstances of the Washington Redskins’ loss to the Detroit Lions last Sunday gave me as much joy and satisfaction as finding a roll of bills in the back pocket of a suit I haven’t worn in months.

In case you missed it, Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan, who has a most impeccable reputation as an NFL man, pulled McNabb, who many football “experts” see as a Hall of Famer, with the game still on the line, with the Redskins having the football trailing by only six points, with less than two minutes to go, in favor of backup Rex Grossman, a career never-was. Forget about the fact that Grossman swung his resume of failure like an axe, getting sacked on his first play in, and fumbling away the ball to a Lions’ defender, who took it in for a touchdown, putting the game out of reach. [SIGNUP]

It was the act of pulling McNabb that’s the focus here.

After the game, Shanahan slung bullshit around like a spin art machine at a church fair. The Redskins’ coach mumbled something about Grossman being more familiar with the two minute offense, hinting that McNabb was incapable, or something, of calling two plays in a row, which was necessary at the time, or that the quarterback the Redskins’ acquired several months ago, with much of an off-season and a full pre-season in his holster, wasn’t familiar with the “terminology” of the two-minute offense, as if the two-minute offense was some text book on quantum physics. Christ, how smart can Rex Grossman be? He went to the University of Florida!

The following day, Shanny dug himself even deeper. He mentioned at least four more reasons for pulling McNabb: a mysterious hamstring injury, contusions (where, in McNabb’s heart?), and cardiovascular endurance (suggesting that McNabb was fat and out of shape). The coach said that he feared putting McNabb through the “strenuous activity” required for a two-minute offense.

Dude, are you kidding me? I mean, I know that reporters are sometimes fat and lazy slugs who, when it comes to football couldn’t spell neither X nor O. But please take that crap up the street and burn it in a union barrel fire with the other pieces of the broken skid. We have been conditioned to believe that no one works harder to get in shape than Donovan McNabb, that his pre-season workouts in the blazing sun in Arizona in 115 degree heat are legendary. What’s the post-workout meal out there in Arizona, pierogies?

Here’s the one and only reason Donovan McNabb was pulled from the game: the coach didn’t trust him. And why not? Because in the previous two Redskins’ offensive series, prior to the one where Shanahan finally put in Grossman, McNabb, a 12-year veteran, had lost the coach’s trust. With the ‘Skins leading 25-20, McNabb threw an interception that would lead to the Lions scoring a touchdown and a two-point conversion to take a 28-25 lead. And then, getting the ball back with 3:12 left in the fourth quarterback, McNabb could only move the Redskins 10 yards. He threw three straight incompletions, including one to a WIDE OPEN Chris Cooley down the field, and then took a sack on fourth down that turned the ball back over to the Lions at the Redskins’ 20-yard line. After that, Shanahan had seen enough.

Of course, we Philadelphia fans had seen that many times. McNabb was always a mediocre to horrible quarterback in the clutch. See, that’s why he was only 1-4 in NFC championship games, including three of those games being the QB of the favored team. The freshest circumstance in my mind is the last NFC title game the Eagles played with McNabb — against the Arizona friggin’ Cardinals, whom the Eagles should have demolished that year. McNabb was asleep for the first part of the game. Then he played one great quarter to get the team back into the hunt. And then, when the lights were hottest, and the Eagles had a first down inside Arizona territory in the final two minutes of the game, with a chance to WIN the game and get to the Super Bowl, McNabb strangely threw a ball 10 feet OVER a wide open Brian Westbrook in the flat, and also BEHIND a wide open Hank Baskett over the middle. (That pass apparently upset Baskett so much that he would marry a loser like Kendra Wilkinson).

The outside world always thought we were just dopey cretins from Philadelphia who didn’t know a football from a Lincoln Log. How could those idiots from Philly not appreciate Donovan McNabb? He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. And a class man. And he speaks well. The poor, persecuted Donovan. He was booed at the draft. He never had any weapons. His defense always let him down. The Eagles showed their youth today. And on and on ad nauseum.

And now all the national pundits are hopping on the bandwagon. All it took was a coach like Mike Shanahan to point out what we’ve been saying all along. Thanks Shanny, you legitimized us!

Even Tim Hasselbeck, a former backup quarterback in the NFL for three seconds, grew some balls the other day when he revealed previous confidential information that the Eagles were always down on McNabb’s practice habits, that they were always on him to quicken the pace in practice. Now keep in mind that Tim Hasselbeck is married to that goofy and dangerous Elizabeth Hasselbeck. So, perhaps he can’t wait to get out of the house and say crazy stuff.

But others are saying it as well.

And suddenly, we all feel vindicated.