Talking to My Boys About The McNabb Era in 2020

(Originally Posted: Thursday April 01, 2010)

C’mon boys, turn the TV off. You’ve already seen Kevin Kolb receive three other Super Bowl MVP trophies, we don’t need to watch him thank his wife Miley Cyrus again. Let me tell you about the guy who used to be quarterback for the Eagles before Kolb, and how big of a deal it was when Coach Reid and the rest of organization decided it was time to move on. And this isn’t like when I told you that I ate 18 burritos in 10 minutes, this story actual happened.

See kids, you are too young to remember but Donovan McNabb was our quarterback for the ‘00s. (I know, it’s 2020 and we still haven’t figured out what to call the last decade.) Before he came to town, we had been through a revolving door of QBs. It seemed like we had someone different starting every year, and none of them were any good. Then in 1999, Andy Reid came in and against some small vocal opposition, drafted McNabb. And boy could he play.

Suddenly, something unusual started happening with the Eagles. We were good. And not this kind of good one-year, not that so much the next. But good every year. Going to the playoffs, and winning the division every year. And winning playoff games. You boys are spoiled. You have no idea what it was like when just winning a Wild Card game was considered a fantastic season. Regardless of what happened at his draft, by 2002-03 he was beloved by all fans. He was on his way to godhood in this town. But something happened during his ascension.

Boys, turn your holo-phones off and get me another beer, Daddy’s in the middle of a story that you’ve heard before! Anyhoo, where was I? Oh, that’s right, the playoffs. You see, that’s where Donovan frustrated this town the most. He would almost always win the first game of the playoffs and sometimes the second. But when he got to that damn NFC Championship game, something would just happened to him. I don’t know if the lights got to bright or it’s fair to even say that he choked, but he just couldn’t get us through the promise land. He only won one of those five games for us. We Philly fans learned over that decade that the pain of losing for a whole season is nothing compared to the horror of your whole season suddenly ending on one Sunday afternoon a week before the Super Bowl.

On top of Donovan’s struggles in the biggest games, began the injuries. He could no longer be counted on to finish a season. He gave 100 percent effort on the field, which is why most Eagles fans loved him. But it’s also the reason that his body kept breaking down. He would throw himself out there for that extra yard, or an extra second to make a pass. But there was a stretch of years there where he only finished one season. That was unacceptable.

While there were the injury issues, his regular season record was superb. Some of radio callers who are never satisfied said he shorted too many passes or didn’t know the overtime rules or couldn’t win the big one. Whatever. He won a ton of regular season games and almost always got us to the playoffs (when he finished the season.)

But don’t get me wrong guys, there was much more good than bad. No matter what he did during the regular season or the effort he exerted, it all comes down to rings with quarterbacks. That’s why Daddy and his friends still get into such heated arguments over McNabb all these years later. And that’s why you keep learning all those new words. (Don’t tell your mother.) The one thing that we all agree on with McNabb is that it was disgraceful how poorly and unceremoniously he was pushed off the team. He deserved better treatment at the end by the organization. Big time.

There were so many great moments with McNabb that he was taken for granted by all of us. It’s so easy to forget the cesspool of quarterbacks that we had here before. We won so many more games than we lost. The losses were just so gigantic that they cloud our memories. The McNabb era was truly a great time for Eagles fan. Almost every Sunday was a party. We were in most games and won a lot of them. None of the seasons ended the way that we wanted them to, but more of them lasted longer than they would have without him. I miss McNabb. He will always be one of the greatest quarterbacks of my lifetime. I’m grateful everyday that my prime Eagles fandom days were during the McNabb era. This Kolb kid ain’t so bad either. Now grab me another beer and go to bed.

About Bill

A man in search of a mission at the age of 40.
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