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Donovan McNabb: The Best that Never Was.

Updated on October 24, 2014
What the hell did I just get myself into?
What the hell did I just get myself into?

With the second pick in the 1999 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select...

The... passionate fanbase of the Philadelphia Eagles inhaled, fingers tingling as goosebumps shot up their arms. This was going to be the pick that would turn their franchise around. After an ugly 3-13 campaign in 1998, the citizens of the city of Brotherly Love needed something to get excited about.
And they knew who would embody that hope.
Runningback Ricky Williams was coming off a senior year at Texas where he rushed for well over 2,000 yards and almost 30 touchdowns. He was being hailed as the second coming of future Hall of Famer, Earl Campbell.
Eagles fans knew the Browns were going to take the class of the draft, QB Tim Couch, and that Andy Reid would hitch his wagon to Ricky Williams.
But when NFL Commissioner, Paul Tagliabue came up to the podium, the paper in his hand told a different story.
"With the second pick in the 1999 draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select...
Quarterback Donavan McNabb from Syracuse University".
Donovan McNabb was an exciting player in his senior year at Syracuse, passing for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns while rushing for 438 yards and 8 more.
While many considered Couch to be "this year's Peyton Manning" while McNabb was "just a scrambling QB project" that would need a few years to develop.
But Andy Reid saw something else.
Andy Reid saw a young player that he could hitch his reputation to and ride over the years.
And the Eagles fans?
Well...
They booed.
They were not thrilled about the young gun out of upstate New York, and they let him know.

Well... 32,373 yards, 216 touchdowns, 8 division titles, 5 NFC Championship appearances, and 1 conference championship later, his number has been retired by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tim Couch, the guy the experts claimed was a "can't miss prospect" went on to throw more interceptions than touchdowns in his brief 5 year career.

Ricky Williams, the guy the Eagle's fans really wanted, only broke 1,000 yards in 5 of the 11 years he was active in the NFL, and spent most of his career backing up the likes of Ray Rice and Ronnie Brown.

"Eh, McNabb was a bum"

Hi, Ethan Bradley here.
This guy Ryan, he says, "Hey E, you're an Eagles fan, right?"
I chuckle.
"Do Tony Luke's make the best cheesesteak in Philly?"
He didn't know.
So I said, "Yeah, I Fly, Eagles, Fly".
And he had the nerve to ask me.
"What do you think of Donovan McNabb"
Donovan McNabb! Let me tell you somethin' about Donovan McNabb.
Donovan McNabb was an unreliable choke artist.
Let me explain, if we went out to Morimoto, I'm taking McNabb.
Know why? Because he couldn't pass the check!
Actually, I wouldn't take McNabb anywhere. Because when the chump inevitably hurt himself, I'd get all sorts of fan-mail from Cowgirl and Deadskin fans!
Okay, I'll get serious.
The guy was made of glass. He got hurt every time he stepped on the field, and on the rare occasion that he stayed healthy and got us to the playoffs, he'd just choke... or puke.
He got us to the NFC Championship game FIVE TIMES!
FIVE TIMES!
Oh yeah, he won once, but then he just choked it away against that Tom Brady and the Pats in the last minute.
He was never all that.
I personally think we shoulda kept Jeff Garcia and shipped McNabb to the Redskins ages before we did!
Kevin Ko- I mean Michael Vi-, ugh. I mean Matt Bar-... DAMMIT!
Nick Foles is the future of our franchise. He's gonna take us to the winners circle!
I mean... Remember what he did to Ryan's Raiders last year?!

Oh yeah, I remember.
I remember when Nick Foles tossed 7 TDs in one game against my Raiders.
That was a tough game to watch and all the trash-talk from the week before was even harder to swallow.
7 TDs in a game.
I mean, he's only gotten 10 TDs through 6 games this year, and he's thrown almost 4 times as many interceptions.
It's become a theme for Eagles QBs.
They have a good year where they get everyone's hopes up, and then in the second year...
They just don't live up to expectations.
Remember Michael Vick in 2010?
3,000 yards, 21 TDs, and only 6 TDs to go with a playoff berth?
That was so great.
The year after where he only threw 18 TDs to go with his 14 interceptions wasn't so great.
The 12 TDs and 10 interceptions in the year after that wasn't impressing anybody either.

It just astonishes me that with all that, the Eagles fans still can't just admit that they treated Donovan McNabb unfairly.

Despite the fact that he spent most of his career without any weapons surrounding him, he still put up the best numbers in Eagles history.
People make excuses for Tom Brady's bad statistical seasons.
"Well, he never had a run game."
"Well, he never had any receivers".

Quick. Without using google, think of who McNabb's most consistent receiver was over the course of his career.

If you guessed Terrell Owens, you'd almost be right.
I mean, in the single season that he had a true number one receiver, he threw for 38 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions as he lead the Eagles to their first NFC Championship win in almost 25 years.
And if you thought DeSean Jackson, again, you'd almost be right.
In the two years that McNabb had Jackson, the Eagles were a hot pick in the NFC, yet again returning to the NFC championship.

No, for most of his career, McNabb's most consistent receiver was the incredible runningback, Brian Westbrook.

Could you imagine the excuses the national media would make for Brady or Manning if they didn't have a plethora of talented receivers catching passes?

The Facts.

Fact- Donovan McNabb has the most completions, yardage, touchdowns, 300 passing games, and seasons with at least 3,000 yards passing in Eagles history.
Fact- Donovan McNabb had the highest completion percentage, started more games, and had more game winning drives than any other quarterback in Eagles history.
Fact- No Eagles QB won more games than Donovan McNabb.
Fact- No QB led the Eagles to more NFC Championships than McNabb did.
Fact- No Eagles QB won more division titles than McNabb did.

Opinion- There isn't a QB on the Eagles roster or in next year's draft who will do what McNabb did for their franchise.

Bottom Line.

I understand draft frustration.
In 2007, I wanted Calvin Johnson.
I got JaMarcus Russell instead.
So I can understand being disappointed.
But...
When Ricky Williams ends up being a bust, and Donovan McNabb becomes the key to your franchise's success, how can you harbor any resentment for the guy.
Imagine Donovan McNabb in his prime playing with talent like the Eagles have had over the last 4 years. With the state of the NFC East, do you honestly believe RG3 and Eli would've become division champions with McNabb under center?

I wrote this because I'm sick of hearing Eagles fans praise Foles and trash McNabb when one gave his blood, sweat, and stomach fluids for them for ten years and the other is notable in his resemblance to a Scooby Doo character.

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