If Defense Wins Championships, Why Does Donovan McNabb Get So Much Blame?

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If Defense Wins Championships, Why Does Donovan McNabb Get So Much Blame?
Al Bello/Getty Images

The NFL season has once again come to an abrupt end in Philadelphia and once again the fans want Donovan McNabb gone.   I guess after 11 years of hearing the same thing over and over again, you get used to being the whipping boy.

Now, before you read any further, please understand, I am not related too, affiliated with or being paid by anyone in the McNabb family.  So, I write this story using nothing else but the numbers to back it up.

McNabb, has just finished his 11th season with the Eagles and from a numbers standpoint, is arguably the best QB in team history.  He is the franchise's all time leader in passing yards (32,873), touchdown passes (216), attempts (4, 746) and completions (2,706).

 

He has led the franchise to more regular season wins (91) and playoff appearances (8) than any other quarterback in team history.  

 

McNabb has compiled the lowest interception percentage in NFL History (2.09%, 100 int's in 4,746 attempts) and the third best touchdown-to-interception ratio (2.16) in league history, behind Tom Brady (2.29) and Steve Young (2.17).

Mac is also a five time Pro-Bowler with a possible sixth trip upcoming. He holds the NFL record of 24 consecutive completions and is one of six players in league history with at least 25,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards. The others are: Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton, Steve McNair and John Elway. 

So why is it that with all those impressive accomplishments, Wilma McNabb's baby boy, can't seem to find any love in the city that loves you back?  Most Eagle fans will tell you its because he can't win a big game and has yet to deliver the franchise its first ever Vince Lombardi Trophy.  Is Donovan really to blame for the teams title drought?   

Take a look at McNabb's combined numbers from Super Bowl 39, his four NFC conference championship loses and the recent wildcard loss to the cowboys 

                                 

COMP/ATT

YDS

TD

INT.

FUM

SCORE

2001 NFC Title Game

    18/30

  171

  1

 1

1

29-24L 

2002 NFC Title Game

    26/49

  243

  0

 1

0

27-10L

2003 NFC Title Game

    10/22

  100

  0

 3

0

 14-3L  

2004 Super Bowl 39

    30/51

  357

  3

 3

0

24-21L 

2008 NFC Title Game

    28/47

  375

  3

 1

1

32-25L 

2009 NFC Wildcard

    19/37

  230

  1

 1

1

34-14L 

Total

 131/236

 1,476

  8

10

3

160-97

 

Turnovers have clearly been a big issue for McNabb with 13 in the six games combined (10 interceptions, 3 fumbles). The three interceptions against the Patriots in Super Bowl 39 were easily the difference between winning and losing.

 

Despite the turnovers, McNabb did have the Eagles in position to win the 2001 and 2008 NFC Title games and to some extent, Super Bowl 39.  

 

My Question to you, is what kind of numbers did the Eagles defense muster in those same six games? Take a peek. 
 

Playoff Games

Pass yds

Rush  yds

Int 

Fum

Sack

Points allowed

2001NFC Title Game

     210

161

0

   0

 1

    29

2002NFC Title Game

     259

49

1

   0

 0

    20

2003NFC Title Game

     101

155

0

   0

 0

    14

2004 SuperBowl  39

     219

112

0

   1

 2

    24

2008NFC Title Game

     267

102

0

   1

 2

    32

2009 NFC Wildcard

    228

198

0

   1

    2

    34

Total

  1,332

777

1

   3

    7

   153


Several things pop out when looking at the above numbers. Like for instance, only four turnovers in the six games combined (1 interception, 3 fumbles). Seven sacks in six games, that's a little over a sack a game average.

 

You certainly don't need me to tell you those numbers are not good. Neither is the fact that the defense has allowed an average of 122 yards rushing a game.

 

Just to give you some comparison. The Red Skins won Super Bowl 26 with Mark Rypien at quarterback. That day Washington’s defense forced Bills quarterback Jim Kelly to throw four interceptions and fumble once.  Skins also held Buffalo to 43 yards rushing.

 

Super Bowl 35. Trent Dilfer QB’s the Ravens to a 34-7 win over the Giants, are you kidding me?  No, because Dilfer had that Baltimore defense backing him up, forcing 4 Kerry Collins interceptions and a fumble. Ravens held New York to 66 yards rushing.

 

One more for emphasis. Super Bowl 37. Tampa Bay’s Brad Johnson did nothing spectacular at quarterback that day as the Buccaneers defense forced five Rich Gannon interceptions and one fumble. Bucs held the raiders to 19 total yards rushing. 48-21 the final.

 

The bottom line, is that all three defenses forced more turnovers in one game than the Eagles defense did in six. The average yards rushing per game, 42. Defense wins championships, remember. 

 

QB Comparison

Comp/att

Yards

TD’s

Int’s

Mark Rypien

18/33

292

2

1

Trent Dilfer

12/25

153

1

0

Brad Johnson

18/34

215

2

1

 

Listen, I’m not telling you Donovan doesn’t bear some fault, but based on the numbers, there is no way he should be taking all the blame for the teams failed super bowl success.

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