It seemed like yesterday during that April Saturday in 1999 when 30 die heart Eagles fans appropriately dubbed “The Dirty 30” booed Donovan McNabb on draft day. Twelve years later, that moment is still brought up in several conversations regarding the now Washington Redskins quarterback. It’s used to stereotype Philadelphia fans as distasteful and give pity to McNabb who by some was thought to be treated unfairly by Philadelphians during his 11 years as an Eagle.
This week marks the first time McNabb returns to the City of Brotherly Love to play his former team and going into the game, the common discussion in Philly and the country is what kind of reception McNabb will and should receive.
The “will” part is easy. There is a mixed opinion between the people of Philadelphia. He will get booed by some and cheered by many more the first time he steps on the field and his name is announced. However, the boos will override the cheers and rightfully so.
McNabb should get booed when he walks onto the field this weekend in Philly because of the lack of success he had in big games as an Eagle and the sheer disconnect he had with the people who call themselves Philadelphia sports fans.
It’s uncountable how many times McNabb lost big playoff games with the chance to win on the last drive. But it is easy to count how many times he shouldered the blame on himself – zero. He would always make excuses and throw his teammates under the bus.
For example, when the Eagles lost out on winning the division last year against Dallas, McNabb said the team’s youth showed in the game – blaming everything on his young receivers who got them to that point in the first place.
Whenever McNabb threw an interception, you would see an athlete run off the field with a giant smile on. It was an even bigger smile when he joked around with the opposing winners after the game.
Lastly, you never got the impression he did everything he could on the field. Fans in Philadelphia lost their voices screaming at the TV for McNabb to run for the first down rather than make a tough passing attempt.
He never wanted to be clarified as a “running quarterback,” thus not using all of his strengths to his advantage. This was the display of an odd personality.
Why should the fans applaud McNabb for his success if he didn’t do everything he could? He never connected and bonded with the fans in that matter because Philadelphians are people who leave everything out in whatever they do.
But, there are those who want to thank him for all of the wins. Well, then point to the sky and thank late defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who’s defense was really the reason the Eagles were successful all of those years.
McNabb didn’t bring the Eagles out of the trenches in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Andy Reid didn’t either. It was Johnson’s hard nosed defense anchored by players like Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent, Hugh Douglas and Jeremiah Trotter.
In the end, McNabb was a tremendous player for the Eagles who could’ve been much more. That’s why he should get booed so he can realize how he underachieved. Not winning a Super Bowl is underachieving.
Yes, Dan Marino underachieved. John Elway until he won underachieved. These are great players, but superstars can underachieve as well.
Stats and wins are great. Where are the rings?
Thus, it will be very fitting if the Eagles just squeak out a win against the Redskins with McNabb having the chance to win in the last two minutes.
An interception thrown to Eagles rookie safety Nate Allen will be fitting. Allen was the pick the Eagles got for trading McNabb to Washington.
This scenario if it by slim chance happens symbolizes 11 years of “should of, could of, would of.”
Thank McNabb ten years down the line for slightly anchoring success. Boo him this week for not getting the job fully done.