You'll Always Be an Eagle, Donovan McNabb

Bryn Swartz@eaglescentralSenior Writer IIIApril 5, 2010

Donovan McNabb is now the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins

I saw it in print and it's all over ESPN but I still don't believe it.

No team would trade their six-time Pro Bowl quarterback to a division rival. You can't be that stupid. 

After all, the Eagles had the brilliant idea to trade 29-year old quarterback Sonny Jurgensen to the Washington Redskins in 1964 and the move completely backfired. Jurgensen broke a bunch of single-season passing records and is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But I guess the Eagles didn't learn from their mistake. 

In a move that shocked the entire sports world, the Philadelphia Eagles sent quarterback Donovan McNabb to the nation's capital for the 37th overall pick in the 2010 draft and either a third or fourth round draft pick in 2011, thus ending McNabb's 11-year tenure in Philadelphia.

In case you haven't heard, McNabb never led the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory.

Despite a porous rushing game, hideous protection from his offensive line, and rumors of alleged cheating by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, McNabb wasn't able to will the Eagles to the franchise's first Super Bowl victory. 

He passed for 357 yards and three touchdowns, and took so many hits that the Philadelphia Eagles' organization met with Mike Pereira, the Vice President of Officiating in the NFL, to discuss the non-calls throughout the game.

Since the Super Bowl, there's been way too much talk about the possibility of McNabb throwing up and not enough talk about his 30-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis with just 1:48 left, the biggest touchdown pass of his career.

And for the record, McNabb did NOT throw up.

For 11 seasons, Donovan McNabb served as the quarterback and team leader of the Eagles. 

He was literally the only offensive talent on the Eagles in his first full season as starter, leading the team to 11 wins in the regular season and another in the postseason, despite throwing to phenoms such as Charles Johnson and Torrance Small. 

From 2001 to 2004, McNabb led the Eagles to the NFC championship game, where the season ended in disappointment the first three seasons, twice at the Eagles' home stadium.

In 2004, the Eagles came within one step of the Promised Land, as McNabb tossed two touchdown passes to lead the Eagles past the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game.

He earned six Pro Bowl selections, led the Eagles to the postseason seven times, and broke virtually every franchise passing record in existence. He also possessed a combination of passing and running seen by only six or seven other quarterbacks in NFL history.

Only six quarterbacks in NFL history have won more games with a higher winning percentage than McNabb. And among quarterbacks with at least 50 career starts, he is the least intercepted quarterback in history. 

Although he had suffered a broken ankle in 2002 and missed six games, McNabb didn't earn a reputation as an injury-prone quarterback until 2005.

In 2005, he missed the final seven games of the season with complications from a sports hernia. He missed the last six games of the 2006 season with a torn ACL. He missed two starts in 2007 with ankle injuries. And he missed two starts in 2009 with a broken rib. 

Although he has been nothing but a total class act throughout his playing career, McNabb has been plagued by controversies over the last few seasons. 

He dealt with racial comments from ESPN commentator Rush Limbaugh in September of 2003, in which Limbaugh stated that McNabb was overrated because the media wants a black quarterback to succeed.

He was on the losing end of one of the most famous disputes in NFL history, a feud with wide receiver Terrell Owens that destroyed the Eagles' chemistry for the 2005 season. 

And every time he suffered an injury, fans called for his backup to take his place as the permanent starter. AJ Feeley. Jeff Garcia. AJ Feeley again. And Kevin Kolb.

Because McNabb has missed 24 regular season starts throughout his career due to injuries, he hasn't received his due as a tough player. And that's what he is. He is one of the toughest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

He played an entire game on a broken ankle in 2002 and tossed four touchdown passes, one of the gutsiest performances in history, according to NFL Films.

He played through the first month of the 2003 season with a broken thumb on his throwing hand, an injury so excruciating that it's a wonder he was able to play.

He played through the first two months of the 2005 season with a sports hernia and a sore thumb, even earning NFC Player of the Month honors for September. 

He returned three months early from an ACL injury suffered in 2006, despite expectations that he wouldn't be ready for the 2007 season opener.

And he has been asked to pass the football on approximately 58 percent of his plays throughout his career, the highest percentage in NFL history. 

The Eagles' fanbase has practically tried to run him out of town for each of the last three offseasons, and now it finally happened. He's gone forever.

McNabb joins a team that is desperate to win after almost a decade of being the worst team in the NFC East. 

He will be coached by former Broncos' head coach Mike Shanahan, a man who helped legendary quarterback John Elway win Super Bowl titles in each of his final two seasons after fourteen seasons without a championship, mostly under the tutelage of Dan Reeves.

Donovan McNabb is my favorite athlete of all time and I would like nothing more than to see him win a Super Bowl.

And maybe Shanahan will be the missing link for McNabb, and if he is, McNabb will probably be in the Hall of Fame in 10 years.

But I hope not.

I'll miss McNabb like crazy but next season I hope he tosses 50 interceptions and posts a single digit passer rating. 

You don't root for the player. You root for the team. 

So next season, I'll experience something I haven't seen since the days of talented men such as Rodney Peete, Koy Detmer, Bobby Hoying, and Ty Detmer. 

Our season now rests on the right arm of a quarterback who has won one start and thrown just four touchdowns in his career.

It's time for the Kevin Kolb era in Philadelphia. 


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