This article is not about football. This is about Donovan McNabb, a man for whom I used to have the utmost respect. A man that was my all-time favorite athlete. A man I thought could lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory.
Today, on my 19th birthday, I watched my Eagles tie the 1-8 Cincinnati Bengals 13-13. Donovan McNabb did everything possible to keep that game a tie, consistently missing open receivers and throwing three interceptions—as well as losing a fumble.
However, after the game, I was shocked to learn something. In his postgame press conference, Donovan McNabb revealed that he did not know that a game could end in a tie. This man was not joking. This man was completely serious.
The quarterback that I have trusted as the leader of my franchise for the past ten years did not know that an NFL game could end in a tie.
When asked about it after the game, Donovan said he thought that a game would keep going until someone scored.
“I've never been part of a tie. I never even knew it was in the rule book. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive and win the game. But unfortunately with the rules, we settled with a tie.” McNabb said.
A reporter, obviously incredulous at the possibility of an NFL player not knowing that a game could end in a tie, asked Donovan if he was serious, if he really didn't know about ties.
“Well, when the play was called, I kinda figured, you know, I guess there are ties in the NFL.” McNabb added.
The reporter then asked if Donovan expected another overtime to be played. Donovan hesitated, and then replied, “Yeah. Yeah.”
My quarterback, who I have trusted with my team for almost a decade now, did not know that an NFL game could end in a tie. Let me explain this. I knew that a tie was possible. I remember the Atlanta-Pittsburgh game in 2002. I remember the tie on my birthday in 1997.
My friends know that a tie is possible. My mother knows that a tie is possible. My dog knows that a tie is possible. I think my kitchen sink has probably heard that rule before.
And my quarterback, a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback, didn't know that a tie was possible?!
Let me ponder something. In 2002, the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Falcons were 9-6-1. Did Donovan McNabb never check to see what the Falcons record was?
Did he not remember that game from the regular season? Did he ever think, “Hmm. The Falcons have won nine games and lost six. That only adds up to 15. I wonder where the last game is.”
In his postgame interview, McNabb also commented that he wonders what happens in the playoffs. McNabb said that it must be frustrating for the Super Bowl.
Again, I honestly don't even know what to say. Donovan, an NFL playoff game cannot end in a tie, because only one team can advance per game. Again, I am speechless. I am absolutely speechless. I am so unbelievably disgusted that I don't know what to say.
Let me ponder some more. In 2003, the Carolina Panthers and the St. Louis Rams played a playoff game that reached double overtime, until wide receiver Steve Smith caught a 69-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the sixth period. The next week, the Panthers traveled to Philadelphia to play in the NFC Championship Game.
Ok, Donovan, I will somehow ignore the fact that you weren't aware of the 2002 tied game. How in a million years could you have missed hearing about the double overtime game?! You played the Panthers! Didn't you ever wonder how they had done the previous week?! You didn't hear about it in the news?! On ESPN?! Wilma couldn't tell you?!
If Donovan didn't know that the game ended in a tie, why did he throw a Hail Mary on the last play?! Did he think that the three captains would meet again in the center of the field after that overtime period and there would be a second coin toss? Did he think that Andy Reid randomly chose a Hail Mary on that play?
This was the most disgusting game I have ever seen Donovan McNabb play in my life. And yet, somehow, he found a way, after the game, to make it even worse.
Much much worse.