Donovan McNabb is one of the most talked about quarterbacks in the league who doesn't have moral issues or is not named Brett Favre. Though not immune to criticism, his challenge of not winning a Super Bowl over the years haven't all been self-construed.
A mobile quarterback with a live arm and a high football IQ, McNabb was the first pick of first year Head Coach Andy Reid's career, drafted with the promise of a Super Bowl. Now, eleven years later, with a team finally laden with talent, the future of the franchise takes snaps in a new city with a new uniform without one. What happened?
Here are the top three reasons that Donovan McNabb didn't win a NFL Championship in Philadelphia.
1. Lack of talent at Wide Receiver
For most of his tenure at Philadelphia, McNabb didn't have any dependable talent at receiver. For a pass-oriented team, not properly addressing the need for quality wide receivers was prohibitive at best.
When the Eagles acquired Terrell Owens in 2004, McNabb became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw more than 30 touchdowns with less than 10 interceptions. That's better than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady that year.
Although the Eagles ultimately lost the Superbowl, imagine if McNabb had played with a Marvin Harrison or a Randy Moss for the years prior? The clear result: a Superbowl trophy.
In the Dallas Cowboy win over the Eagles in last year's playoffs, one of the Cowboy players said that they knew Philadelphia's every play before they called it.
If that wasn't idle trash talk, it's a clear indicator to why the Eagles failed to reach the Super Bowl last year.
2. Lack of a commitment to the run
Andy Reid is a great coach, but he has never seen a pass play that he didn't find irresistible.
NFL defenses are too good to be predictable.
No offensive line can succeed constantly pass blocking; and even a mediocre defense that knows you're going to throw the ball will look better than it is.
A basic rule of football is that commitment to the run game opens up passing lanes, provides opportunities for play-action, makes things simpler for the offensive line, and makes life for the quarterback much easier.
That McNabb was as successful as he was without balance on offense is nothing short of amazing.
Before his rash of injuries, McNabb was on a tear. With multiple Pro Bowl appearances and freakish games where his stats resembled a Madden NFL arcade game, he was injured in week 11 of 2002, breaking his ankle. Well on the way to the Super Bowl that year, the injury set them back and they lost in the Championship game.
That and subsequent injuries slowed him down and changed his game, his stats taking a dip as he played through his recovery.
Yes, Donovan McNabb hasn't been perfect, but the reason he didn't win a Super Bowl in Philadelphia cannot be put fully on his shoulders. With high risk comes high reward, or repeated failure.
An interesting thought to end on. In his first start on November 14, 1999, McNabb lead the Eagles to a 35-28 victory over the Washington Redskins, catapulting him into the limelight.
Maybe now, his going to Washington with an established run game and a coach who knows how to keep defenses guessing, will give him something that eluded him in Philadelphia.
A Super Bowl trophy.