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Donovan McNabb Earns Pro Bowl Bid Thanks to Dallas Cowboys' Loss

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 9:  Quarterback Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws the ball in the second half against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Lou DiPietroAnalyst IJanuary 18, 2010

Aside from the satisfaction of watching Dallas get destroyed, the Philadelphia Eagles did gain something on NFL Divisional Playoff weekend: another Pro Bowler.

While the announcement won’t be made official until after the NFC Championship Game, either Drew Brees or Brett Favre will be forced to vacate their spot on the NFC team. The first alternate quarterback will take his place.

Meaning that unless he turns it down, Donovan McNabb is headed to Miami for his sixth Pro Bowl (and first since a five consecutive-year run from 2000-2004). Ironically, because it’s Favre vs. Brees in the NFC Championship Game, McNabb will play in the Pro Bowl for Dallas head coach Wade Phillips.

Thrilling.

A Pro Bowl berth is a nice consolation for a season where the Eagles went 0-5 against teams that made the playoffs, but I’m not even sure McNabb deserves it.

While it is ostensibly a game for the fans (even though no one seems to care about it), it should still feature the best players.

Now keep in mind that I know McNabb missed two games and half of another. Still, that works against everyone else, and McNabb is no exception.

While McNabb had a really good year by his career standards, he had an average one by 2009 league standards. Stats aren’t necessarily the whole story, but you have to have something, right?

Again, for him, it was a good campaign. His rating of 92.9 and total of 3,553 yards were the third best totals of his career. His 22 touchdowns were his fourth highest total.

But that 92.9 rating ranked seventh in the NFC—behind Brees, Favre Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner, Eli Manning and Tony Romo—and the 3,553 yards ranked ninth behind those six, Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell of all people.

His 22 touchdowns? Also ninth in the conference, not to mention that he was 10th in completions and completion percentage and 11th in attempts, .

All this on a team that finished No. 22 overall in rushing.

So, fan voting aside, how can anyone in the league legitimately think McNabb is the fourth- (or even fifth- or sixth-) best QB in the NFC?

I’m sorry, you can’t.

However, what you can imagine is that if Minnesota makes the Super Bowl, there could be a moment in the Pro Bowl where the entire offensive unit is made up of NFC East players.

See, the Saints/Vikings final means the NFC will also definitely have to tap into the first alternates at guard and tackle—which would be New York Giants Chris Snee and David Diehl. If the Vikings make the big game, first alternate, Steve Smith, would replace Minnesota’s Sidney Rice at wide receiver.

So picture it: McNabb lines up under his center, Dallas’ Andre Gurode. His own left tackle, Jason Peters, has his blind side, with Diehl, Snee, and Cowboys' guard Leonard Davis completing the line. It’s third down (which means four-receiver set), so McNabb has Smith, Miles Austin and DeSean Jackson outside, with Jason Witten off-set in the slot and fullback Leonard Weaver flanking him in the backfield.

Might as well—it’s not like McNabb has much experience handing off this year anyway. Hey, if they fail and it’s close enough, it could set up a David Akers field goal.

I guess it really is the small victories in life.

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