Donovan McNabb to Retire as an Eagle, Time to Retire the Hate

It is time to retire the hate for Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb who will retire as a member of the team this season.Can we get one thing straight…I want to see a Super Bowl Victory as much if not more than anyone. I have been to almost every Eagles home game since 1979. I have seen great players and teams, and some of the worst football ever played or coached. From Dick Vermeil, to Andy Reid and everything in between. With that said I can’t figure out one thing, Why is there still so much hate for Donovan McNabb?

Since the time he was drafted 2nd overall, and the pick was infamously booed, there has been a stigma attached to him that he has never been able to shake. Now I will admit that he hasn’t exactly been willing to let it completely go, but his play on the field over the years should have been more than enough to endear him to Eagles fans.  For a city that was desperate for a winner at the time, Donovan rose out of the abyss that was the ‘99 Draft and became the best QB in franchise history. For most of his time here he was surrounded by less than average wide receivers (And that is about as nice as I can be). When he was given the talent around him, they went 13-3 and headed to Jacksonville for the Super Bowl.  He carried this team on his back, had 23 4th quarter drives for wins. In the 5 year stretch from 2000-2004 he was 54-19 as a starter with 4 Division Titles and 7 playoff wins. Just for comparison, Ricky Williams in that same stretch had 2 positive drug tests, 1 trade, and a voluntary retirement from football to “find himself”. BOOOOOOOOO.

Now the announcement comes that he will retire as an Eagle, and will most likely have his number retired. This seems to have rekindled the furor over Donovan’s worthiness for such an honor. If we discount the championship part of the argument, since NO Eagle in 53 years has that on their resume, Donnie Mac certainly deserves to have his number retired alongside that of Brian Dawkins, Reggie White and Jerome Brown from the Super Bowl Era. His stats alone put him at the top of the class. And while we all look at the playoff losses to Tampa, Carolina, Arizona and the New England (Cheaters) Patriots, it goes unmentioned how many playoff wins were needed to get into those big games. Apparently, playoff games are only big games if you lose them.

He has been picked apart by some media in this town, and then in turn by fans, for his personality. Playing air guitar, smiling after bad plays, his parents involvement in some issues. If you just look at his accomplishments on the field, as it pertains to the Philadelphia Eagles, then Donovan is more than deserving of having his #5 retired.

I have grown up with this team, suffered through many Sundays when I knew they didn’t have a chance of winning. I still have not seen a Championship, but I am willing to give credit and praise to those who deserve it for their play on the field. When you look at this era of Eagles football there are only 2 names that stand out above all others for their play on the field. Donovan McNabb and Brian Dawkins. They both deserve to be honored for what they gave to us on the field. One has already had his day. It’s time for the other to have his. Can we finally give Donovan McNabb the respect he deserves for his play on the field?

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Martin Roach

Growing up in South Jersey just across the river from the Sports Complex, Martin is a lifelong Philly Sports Junkie. Experiencing the joy of having seen both Phillies World Series Victories and both Eagles NFC Championships Live it still hasn't taken away his cynical attitude toward all of the teams. A proud graduate of St. Joseph's University. He currently lives in Havertown and comments frequently on his twitter @mproach and always has a different (his wife says strange) way of seeing things.


4 Responses

  1. Pat Ragen says:

    Martin,
    I completely agree with your analysis. Donovan Mc Nabb always was a class act, He deserves his due. The way we treat people says more about us than them. Step up and honor him Philadelphia.

  2. Mike Newcomb says:

    I’m all for McNabb getting the respect he deserves. I liked him from day one and never bought into the media’s hate for him. I’m glad number 5 is getting retired.

  3. Jerome's Friend says:

    I agree… He deserves respect. But I’m hesitant to say he’s deserving of having his number retired. I tend to think, perhaps contrarily to popular belief, that teams should retire the numbers of those players elected to the Hall of Fame, and the numbers of those players who are deemed as special in comparison. Though Donovan is not a Hall of Famer, I’m not quite convinced he fits the latter definition either. However… I will cheer like crazy for him.

  4. I will say this: As you state, #5 never let it go either. It has been said a thousand times before…He wasn’t booed, Andy not picking Ricky Williams is what fired up the Eagle Phaithful on draft day ’99. Philly loved him during those glory years. I know I did. But the welcome wore out when he played poorly in the biggest games. He wanted all of the adulation that comes with the QB position when he won, but couldn’t handle any of the criticism when he lost. Especially when it was warranted. As time went on, especially after the Super Bowl loss, he became defensive and whiny when things got tough. It has been documented, by many players in the huddle, on that Super Bowl day that he threw up. For whatever reason, it happened. He could have owned up to it, but because he didn’t, Philly fans wanted the truth. Donovan wouldn’t discuss it, and the story grew, and grew, and…well, you get the idea. He allowed it to become bigger than the loss itself. For a guy who always laughed at everything, he found no humor in that story. If he would’ve laughed about it, poked fun at himself, or said he was just dehydrated and apologized, it would have went away. Instead, he couldn’t handle the blame. So the hate grew.

    I won’t bring up the pissing war (I guess I just did) he got into when T.O. was getting all the Philly love and poor Donovan wasn’t feeling any in return. On top of it all, he wanted to be the team leader, so he had to keep reminding us all that he was, especially since he felt so abandoned by most of the 69,000 Linc fans. So he continued to whine and never owned up to his poor performances. Surely Andy’s play calling was also to blame, but no other QB’s since DMac have whined as loudly or complained as all about their lack of an offensive line, or the defense not holding a lead when they did their job, or the young receivers…

    But in the end I say…All the McNabb ‘haters’ have had their day(s). Let Donovan have his.