A Tribute To Donovan McNabb: One Of The Eagles' Greatest Players

Carl RagsdaleCorrespondent IIIAugust 14, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The fan base of the Philadelphia Eagles has one of the worst reputations in professional sports. We are known as the ones who threw snowballs at Santa Claus and as the ones who cheered when Cowboys' great Michael Irvin suffered a career ending injury.

Most recently, there was a large part of the Eagles fan base calling for Donovan McNabb, our quarterback for the past 11 seasons, to be traded because he supposedly could not get the job done. Now, those same fans are wishing him ill will because he plays for the bad guy (the Redskins).

However, not every Eagles fan is like this. There have been a good number of us that appreciate what McNabb has done in his 11 years and what he has meant to this franchise. I am speaking out on behalf of these Eagles fans that are much more civilized than our snowball throwing counterparts.

For the 11 years that he was here, McNabb rewrote the Eagles' passing record book. He has the franchise record for career attempts (4,746), completions (2,801), passing yards (32,873), and touchdown passes (216). McNabb also has the second best touchdown to interception ratio of all time (2.16 to 1) behind only Tom Brady.

Even those numbers don't tell the whole story. The Eagles were infamous for not drafting receivers to help McNabb. The Eagles leading receiver in each year of his career has been Chad Lewis, James Thrash (twice), Todd Pinkston, LJ Smith, Brian Westbrook (twice), Kevin Curtis, Desean Jackson, and Terrell Owens.

Westbrook has been an outstanding player in his time with the Eagles, but a running back should never be your team's leading receiver. McNabb has only had a legitimate number one receiver for two seasons of his career, but still managed to be the most successful quarterback in Eagles franchise history.

Under McNabb, the Eagles were also consistently in the NFC playoff race. How consistently? Well, McNabb missed the second half of both 2005 and 2006 due to injury. However, in seven of the Eagles' other eight seasons over the past decade, the Eagles have made the playoffs. In five of those seasons, they made it to the NFC Championship game.

Take a second to think about that. In McNabb's past eight seasons, when he didn't go on injured reserve, the Eagles have made the NFC Championship Game more times than they failed to make it. That is simply incredible.

However, we must address the main criticism of McNabb. The dreaded "he couldn't win the big one." Yes, he hasn't had a postseason where the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and that is disappointing. However, his career is not yet finished. How long did it take John Elway to finally win a Super Bowl? We should allow McNabb to finish his career before we hold that against him.

I do not resent McNabb for the Eagles not being able to win the Super Bowl. Rather, I appreciate the fact that every August, I knew that as long as McNabb was leading our team on the field, we would have a shot that year. 

Now that McNabb is playing for the Redskins, my feelings about him haven't changed at all. Yes, I am rooting against the Redskins and it will be that way forever and ever.

However, I know that McNabb gives them a legitimate shot at contending for a title, and he will make the most of what the Skins have on their roster. That is what makes him a great quarterback and why I enjoyed watching him for so many years.

I still wish McNabb the best for the remainder of his career. I want to see him make a few more Pro Bowls. I want to see him holding the Lombardi Trophy. I want to see him inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The problem is that in order for that to happen, it would also mean that the Redskins would be Super Bowl champions, which is the third to last thing any Eagles fan wants to see (right behind the Cowboys and Giants winning the SB). 

With the Eagles' great playing behind center for the Redskins, I now must find a way to root for the player but against his team. That is where the dilemma arises, as no righteous Eagle fan roots for the Redskins.

Yes, Donovan McNabb, I appreciate everything that you have done for our franchise and I wish you the best, but come October 3, I cheer for my team before I cheer for my quarterback.