The Whole World Is Watching to See if Philly Boos Donovan McNabb

This is about as brilliant a defense of Donovan McNabb’s tenure as Eagles QB as exists—a thorough, funny, and wide-ranging case that the major criticisms of McNabb over the years have been unfair and overwrought. But what’s most damning is the writer Jon Bois’ verdict on Philly fans: This is probably our chance to make or break the reputation that our sports fans have, nationally, for being brutish thugs.

I try to keep an arm’s length from geocultural exceptionalism, at least within the context of the United States. I understand that it’s there, and that if I were to chance upon someone from Philadelphia, that person might well be different from his or her analogue in Wichita, Kansas, on account of where he or she is from.

At the same time, I know people from Philadelphia and Wichita and Los Angeles and Decatur, Georgia and Chicago, and in large part I can’t pick out one of their character traits and explain to you why they’re that way. This country is far more homogenous than its myths would have you believe. The Philly Sports Fan is surely not fundamentally different from the New York Fan who is surely not fundamentally different from the Alabama Fan. I’m suspicious of anyone who really believes otherwise to a particular extreme or another.

But I swear to God, if the Eagles boo Donovan McNabb at his retirement ceremony in September, it’s gonna test me a little bit.

I still reckon that the reputation of Philly fans precedes them, and that if they really are more ornery than Chicago fans or San Diego fans, it’s by a margin of 10 percent or less. But if they do follow up the warm reception for Dawkins by booing the Hell out of McNabb, the greatest quarterback in the city’s history, I’ll probably need to revisit this.

Lord God, that guy’s a stupid-magnet.

The whole thing is worth a read, but the gauntlet has been thrown: Philly, do you love or hate your sports reputation? Act accordingly at McNabb’s retirement.