Love Him or Hate Him, You Have To Respect Donovan McNabb's Resilience

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Love Him or Hate Him, You Have To Respect Donovan McNabb's Resilience
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

31,950 Passing Yards.

3,459 Rushing Yards.

212 Passing TDs.

28 Rushing TDs.

Nine Playoff wins.

Five Pro-bowl Appearances.

One Problem:

To some in Philadelphia that and 85 cents gets you a Butterscotch Krimpet from the corner store and guess what? The Krimpet is way more satisfying.

Ouch.

Personally I'm not a numbers guy, but in any other city in any other part of the world, except maybe New York, the above would get your own day or at the very least a street named after you.

In Philly, all it get's you is angry bloggers calling for you to be run out of town in favor of another player. The flavor this month being Jay Cutler. You know the Denver Broncos quarterback known more for offseason whining than postseason victories?

Funny old world isn't it?

Now before the angry blogging starts, it's the minority that count themselves among McNabb detractors; most have backed him these last 10 seasons. Unfortunately between local print and radio media it's the minority that's normally given a voice.

So even when the topic is something not directly related to McNabb it's somehow spun in his direction.

When the defense or special teams allow a late score and the Eagles lose, detractors will say, "McNabb should've thrown more touchdowns."

When the coach calls for a run play on third and inches and the offensive line doesn't get the push it needs to get the first, angry fans believe McNabb should have audibled into a quarterback run or a sneak. 

When a wide receiver drops a pass that would've led to a score, you can almost hear the "haters" saying, "Why did McNabb throw such an uncatchable ball?"

No wonder McNabb sports the bald look these days. If I was him I'd pull out my hair too!

Not even Allen Iverson has been a greater lightning rod for heated debate and criticism in Philadelphia than No. 5 has become.

From draft day boo's to Rush Limbaugh, to T.O. to, "And with the 36th pick in the NFL Draft, the Eagles select University of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb..."

With all the other slights in between:

"Inaccurate"

"Injury prone"

"Choke artist"

"Regurgitator..."

No one seems to remember a leaky defense that made Bethel Johnson look like Randy Moss and a creaky knee Corey Dillon look like Emmit Smith in his prime. Or LJ Smith's fumble.

Or coach Andy Reid completely abandoning the run in the second half, a tendency he still has all these years later. Ask anyone what they remember about that Super Bowl and the answer is the same—"McNabb puking in the huddle."

That little fact leaked of course by the premier narcissistic, Prima Donna wide receiver, Terrell Owens. It was further confirmed by Freddie Mitchell who called out the New England Patriots defense and subsequently was a non-factor in the big game.

He's since been a non-factor in the NFL altogether.

Well with reliable sources like those...

Okay. Rant over.

In spite of all the above and more, with all eyes on him, McNabb manages to rise above it, preferring to take the higher moral ground, rather than slinging mud of his own. This is no matter how much some of us may have wanted him to.

Now that's not to say he's not affected. No one could call themselves human and not be affected. I don't care how big your salary is, money doesn't cauterize your emotions. It doesn't shield you from the very natural need to be appreciated for the job you do, the preparation, the sacrifice.

How many of us would still go to work if we had to face questions from people who at no point in their lives were EVER skilled enough to do our job? How many of us have quit jobs just because we didn't like the morning commute?

Yet, McNabb shows up to work every day, smile on his face, cannon in his arm. Ready to face 300 pound men who get paid to inflict pain on him, reporters paid to antagonize him, and a bunch of armchair quarterbacks (who get winded walking to the mailbox and couldn't throw you the remote) poised at their keyboards anxious to push their poison across the Internet.

After Pat Shurmur, not Andy Reid, told McNabb he was going to be benched in the second half of a winnable game against the Ravens, some were calling for Kolb to be given the chance at the starting job full time. 

By comparison, Peyton Manning throws six interceptions in a game against San Diego and it's by all accounts an off day for Manning. McNabb throws a couple incompletions in the first half of the Ravens game and he's benched.

Later, when it became known that McNabb would be the starter, Donovan said:

"I was told by the janitor. You know, me and him have a pretty good relationship around here. It's a pretty good conversation we had."

Classic McNabb.

For the man who's resume is full of superhuman feats: playing on the broken ankle against the Cards, the scramble against Dallas, the juke at Washington, 4th and 26, take your pick.

It would be easy to just point to his past performance and say he deserved better. It would be justifiable to throw the head coach under the bus along with all the other guilty parties in that late fall skid. After all there was plenty of blame to go around.

Whether due to his upbringing, his business savvy, or some combination of the two, he shrugged his shoulders and cracked a joke.

McNabb has his faults (the low balls, the reluctance to trust his receivers, holding the ball too long...) and unless you choose the "Create-a-Player" option on you video game system, every quarterback does.

In my opinion there's not another guy I'd want playing the position for the Eagles than him.

And more importantly given all that means, there's not another person that could.

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