Why Donovan McNabb Was Hated By So Many Philadelphia Eagles Fans

WesAnalyst IOctober 1, 2010

That dumb smile didn't do him many favors either.
That dumb smile didn't do him many favors either.Nick Laham/Getty Images

It'is unfair to say every Philadelphia fan hated Donovan McNabb while he was an Eagle. And it is equally out of line to say the same about Eagles fans since his departure.

McNabb has his fair share of apologists...sorry, I mean fans who offer excuses about him losing four NFC Championships and coming up small in the Super Bowl.

McNabb supporters point out all of the great things he did in Philadelphia.

They talk about how many wins he had as an Eagle, the numbers he compiled, how he turned the franchise around, and how he is considered the greatest quarterback in franchise history.

And in all honesty even the most hate-filled McNabb basher cannot deny any of that.

For all we know, McNabb may find his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and he may even win a Super Bowl when it is all said and done.

Those would be great things for McNabb to hang his hat on. Too bad he would still be hated in this town by a decent amount of fans.

It's not that fans don't appreciate his talent or what he was able to do for the city and fanbase.

The hate stems from McNabb not being a Philadelphia athlete.

I know it sounds weird and if you've never lived in the Philadelphia area you may never get it, but let me try to explain.

Philadelphia fans embrace a winner, but they don't do it blindly. The athlete has to fit a certain mold otherwise the city will never fully accept you.

I know it sounds weird for a championship-deprived sports town to bash someone who wins on the basis they don't fit a certain mold, but it's true.

The city loves athletes who take accountability and don't try to deflect any of the blame. When was the last time McNabb genuinely stood in front of the media and said, "I screwed up. That game falls on me because I did not perform."

He's tried to do it, but in the end he finds a way to point the finger at others. Remember when he accidentally threw his young players under the bus after the 2008 NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals?

Well McNabb tried to say he didn't mean it and then had this wonderful quote,"It all starts with me, and I have to raise my level of play."

Why couldn't he stop right there? Do you want to know why? It's because he had to spread out the blame, which is why he finished off the quote like this, "And everyone has to, as well."

Could something as fickle as a quote rub an entire city the wrong way? It sure as hell can when it seems to happen after every devastating loss.

Philadelphia fans fall in love with guys like Ron Hextall, Chase Utley, Charles Barkley, and Brian Dawkins.

Put McNabb in that lineup and tell me, which one of those is not like the others.

They're all hard-nosed players that seemed to have that intangible "it." And while none of them won a championship, besides Utley, the fans didn't seem to mind.

It was all about the mentality of the player, who they were, and what it seemed like they stood for.

Now no one knew who Hextall really was. But when he got into fights with the opposition's goalie and nearly stole a Stanley Cup away from the Edmonton Oilers in 1987, the city had an instant man-crush.

And if you think race plays into it or the fact that McNabb didn't win, then I give you Cole Hamels.

Following the Phillies 2008 World Series, Cole Hamels not only won the series MVP, but he helped the city end a 25-year title drought.

None of that mattered though as Hamels acted like a fru fru pansy in 2009. The fans turned on him quickly because he did not fit the Philadelphia mold.

Hamels has since changed his strange nature and to no surprise the fans have once again accepted him. 

And playing hurt doesn't buy you a free ticket in this sports-ravaged town.

McNabb played on a broken ankle against the Arizona Cardinals, went 20-for-25, and threw for 255 yards. Oh yeah, he also tossed four touchdown passes, all of which came in the first half.

But if you need evidence that playing with an injury means little to the fans, I give you Eric Lindros.

In 1999 Lindros was basically called "soft" for not playing with concussions.

Lindros found himself off the ice with a concussion as the Flyers took a 3-1 series lead against the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The ex-captain came back to play in Game 6 where he scored the team's only goal in a 2-1 loss. In the decisive Game 7 he was knocked out by Devils defensemen Scott Stevens and that was all she wrote.

Lindros was knocked out cold at the blue line, the Flyers lost, and Lindros was hated.

That's just the way it goes in Philadelphia.

I'm not saying it's fair or right, but those are the facts.


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