Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In Praise Of Number Five

The recent drafting of quarterback Kevin Kolb could mean that Donovan McNabb will be traded before the 2007 season. A few observers have opined that McNabb will be moved after the coming season. But here's a scenario that has him moving before September. The Bears are ready to win the Super Bowl. This scenario obviously depends on two things. One, that McNabb is physically ready to play on Week 1 of the 2007 season. Two, that Chicago is convinced McNabb is their best available QB option.
-- Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/20/07

For the moment, do not consider the relative logical merits of moving a 30-year-old injury-prone quarterback with a high salary cap number, and a fair amount of trade value, who used to be mobile but probably won’t be much anymore, who has always struggled with accuracy in the short passing game.

Instead, consider this: which franchise, in the midst of the best run in their history, would make this move?

For the smattering of Eagle fans out there who would argue that the mid ‘40s teams of Steve Van Buren or the 1960 team of Norm Van Brocklin were a better era because the team held a trophy at the end of the season, WE WILL NOW INCREASE THE FONT SIZE SO THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SQUINT. HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY? ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH PILLS?

Possibly the San Francisco 49ers of Bill Walsh, who maneuvered Young for Montana and prolonged the dynasty.

Maybe a grind-it-out defensive team like Baltimore or Tampa Bay, where the quarterback’s biggest job is to not shit the bed.

That’s about it.

Here is what every Eagles fan that has any idea of what they are talking about when they are watching pro football should think, or say, to Don McNabb – thank you.

Thank you for the Tecmo Bowl MNF throw against the Cowboys.

Thank you for 4th-and-forever to FredEx to take out the Packers.

Thank you for making the Washington Redskins suffer through the worst years of their lives – an era so bad, their owner went out and disgraced the memory of Joe Gibbs, too.

Thank you for never doing anything more personally destructive than a Chunky soup ad, or a chunky vomit experience. (Ask the would-be fans of Yachtsman Culpepper, Dog Lover Vick and Evel Rothlisberger how that compares.).

Thank you for making this the most entertaining, most satisfying, most fun era to be an Eagles fan ever.

Let us review, shall we, some of the gods among men that have manned Don’s position here recently.

Bobby Hoying
Rodney Peete
Doug Pederson
Koy Detmer
Ty Detmer
Pat Ryan
Jeff Goebel
Mike McMahon
AJ Feeley
Jeff Garcia

I know I’m missing some others, too. Now, tell me who you’d rather have. (Yes, I know Garcia did a great job, but half a season does not a viable choice make.)

You want to tell me Don has not won The Big One? Fine. Guilty. He also did a terrible job of tackling Corey Dillon in that Super Bowl, too. Amazing how, in so many big games, Don forgot to line up on defense and stop the run. But so be it.

But you also have to give him this -- he’s won a ton of Little Ones. And a lot of Medium Ones, and Bigger Ones that led to the Big One. Honestly, that counts for something.

Ask a Redskins fan, or a Giants fan, or a Cowboys fan, how much they have enjoyed the McNabb Era.

See who much they would smile if you took Randall Cunningham, or Ron Jaworski, as your QB instead in an all-time game of Madden. (There's been, um, a lot of weak years at QB here.)

Ask a Bears fan how fast they would do that deal. (They’d answer, but they are too busy pressing the ACCEPT button. Oh, and they’d be happy to send the Rex Cannon back this way, too.)

See how much fun the Feeley/Holcomb half of the season would be, followed up by the vanilla-riffic rookie year for Kolb, with the season in the crapper and the region calling for Andy Reid to spend more quality time with his kids.

Finally, see Don lead the conference’s best team in Chicago, as half of Philadelphia roots for a shadenfraude knee injury and the other half wonders why good things never happen to us. (And if you think he can’t win a Super Bowl there, assuming he’s healthy, you’ve got a strange idea of what a Super Bowl winning QB on a dominant defensive team looks like. Dilfer-esque.)

All the while forgetting that the last few years have been really, really good.

For the record, I think the rumor is bullshit. I don’t think Reid would dare to make the best team in the conference much better, even if it does mean he’d finally get a quality LB. I think Reid is allergic to quality LBs.

I also cannot imagine that he really wants to run the ball that much, which is what he would do with the quarterback spot in transition. That’s not his idea of fun.

Lastly, I do not think the Eagles would move McNabb off an injury. I think they would much rather roll the dice and see if they could get a full and healthy year out of him, and take their time with Kolb. A transition would happen in one to three years, depending on health and performance. Don is 30, after all, and increasingly fragile.

But I do know this: for the rest of his time in Eagle green, McNabb has to know that the clock is ticking loudly.

I just hope that when his time comes, we show some class, and say thanks. The Eagles will be very fortunate if their next quarterback is anywhere near as good.


The Truth said...

I'd love to know where this rumor is coming from. I can't see the Eagles making that trade. But as a Bears fan, I hope it's true.

Joel Furfari said...

Luckily, the "rumor" was really just sort of empty "what-if-this-happened" conjecture by the inquirer writer. It does constantly amaze me, though, how much a certain segment of the philly media and fan base loves to bash McNabb, who's been a better quarterback over the past six years than all but two other quarterbacks (sorry, but the only ones who've been better are manning and brady... though brees, palmer and maybe roethlisburger might have the potential).

Adam said...

This Cowboys fan has thoroughly enjoyed the McNabb era. The Cowboys have been pretty dismal over the last decade or so, admittedly, but that bitter pill goes down a little easier every time I see McNabb barf in the huddle or chuck one of his patented third down worm-burners. And let's not forget his penchant for the backbreaking interception, or the way he just can't seem to finish a season upright. As long as Donovan McNabb is under center, I know my Cowboys always have a chance against the Eagles.

Anonymous said...

Great article. By the way, Adam the Cowboys fan, your a fucking loser. Ask Tony Homo how he deals with pressure situations - faggot.

DMtShooter said...

I'm glad to see a Cowboy fan that's enjoyed the McNabb era. But I doubt they enjoyed it as much as Eagle Fans enjoyed the Ryan Leaf Era, or the Quincy Carter Era, or the Drew Bledsoe Era...

Anonymous said...

Adam said, "...As long as Donovan McNabb is under center, I know my Cowboys always have a chance against the Eagles." Everybody always has a chance. That's not the point. The point is that the Eagles are 9-3 against the Cowboys in the games McNabb has played since 2000. If I were a Cowboy fan, I don't think I would have enjoyed the large majority of those games.

Rupert Entwistle said...

Strong eldery joke there. Very strong.

Run Up The Score! said...

I'm an Eagles fan who agreed with the Kevin Kolb, but there's something that the vast majority of our fanbase doesn't realize. Donovan McNabb is a top six quarterback in the league. At the worst, he's in the top 8. Guys like that don't grow on fucking trees.

You want a different quarterback than McNabb because you don't like his attitude, or his accuracy, or his haircut? Awesome. Have fun finding a better quarterback. As far as I can tell, the six or seven better QB's aren't going anywhere. Maybe you'd prefer Daunte Culpepper, or Charlie Frye, or Jason Campbell, or Rex Grossman. Or Michael Vick. Or Jon Fucking Kitna.

Tracer Bullet said...

There will come a point, possibly when he's making his acceptance speach in Canton, possibly when we're watching the 2015 version of Doug Pederson embarrass himself, when Eagle fans will realize how good we have it with McNabb. Until such time, I'll just have to assume that anyone who thinks he's any worse than the #5 QB in the league (though I don't know who's better than him besides Brady and Manning) knows absolutely nothing about football and should be treated with nothing but pity and contempt.

Rob said...

No need to worry, Eagles fans. Jerry Angelo would never make a deal like that. Aside from it being too drastic, he still has faith in Grossman. Most people don't, but he does.

Anonymous said...

No doubt the past few years have been some of the best in Eagles history. And no doubt D-Mac has been the most important player on those teams. But if you have the opportunity to make the team better and prolong that good run, you do it - regardless of sentimentality.

As it is, it's worthless to read too much into this, because its basically a "what if" hypothetical without any mention of sources or what we'd be getting back.

Burke said...

thank you for a sober point of view; this sort of rhetoric has been sorely lacking from the rags since Bill Lyons stepped down. Big Five has been nothing but a perfect gentleman, a winner and a treasure since draft day. If he puts up two more years of roughly 30-10, he'll be in Canton. He has played his balls off and had some unfortunate results. Those of us with a solid memory and an IQ above 50 remember that his receivers have been awful most years and DMac has been undermined more by curious play-calling and defensive shortcomings than his own deficiencies. Long live Big 5 (or at least another 3 years)

Anonymous said...

great post. having being weaned on the bobby hoying era of eagles football, i am dumbfounded by the lack of appreciation and the amount of blame that 5 has gotten. granted, being a penn state fan didn't help, but still.

Anonymous said...

As a Philly fan, I'm baffled by some of the comments in this thread. What is the one thing that has eluded us since 1983? No, not a championship game/series appearance by any of the Big 4 (Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, and Eagles have all done it), but a CHAMPIONSHIP. McNabb's had his shots, but he's choked it away everytime he should've won (Ronde Barber, 4 INTs vs. Carolina, 3 INTs in the Super Bowl in very winnable games). He's a choker who has wasted an awesome defense, only to see the championship window now fully shut. Face it, there's no way this team, as currently assembled, can ever beat the Pats or Colts, not to mention the Saints or possibly even the Bears in a playoff game. The time to win a title is over, so IMO it's time to begin looking towards the future.

As for the person who said McNabb will be heading to Canton, he's still got a lot to accomplish before he gets there...

DMtShooter said...

Maybe this makes me the King of All Losers, but if the only standard of whether or not you are a "choker" is a SB ring, then you're hoping the Birds sign Trent Dilfer or Jeff Hostetler.

Also, you're depressed almost all of the time, and can never have a good year unless your team wins it all. So this era of Eagles football is as bad as the Kotite or Rhodes or Marion Campbell.

The last time the Eagles had an awesome defense was 1990, when the Ryan team made an offense of Heath Sherman right, left and center go 10-6. Don is not innocent of big game yakfests, but his defenses have not stopped the run when it mattered.

Finally, isn't a bit much to seed the top four teams in the league in, um, May, much less claim their unstoppable killing machines?

The Saints have turnstiles at the corners, the Bears have a terrible QB, the Pats are trying to win with huge star egos, which never works in pro football, and the Colts were a 3 seed last year before Bob Sanders came back from injury and gave them any ability to stop the run.

For all we know right now, the Steelers might be the best team in football. Or the Chargers. Or the Eagles. Or someone from entirely off the radar. It's the NFL: everyone is an injury away from mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

I'm hardly depressed when my teams don't win championships, especially when there's a reasonable expectation that they won't. In fact, probably my two favorite teams in Philly history are the '01 Sixers and '93 Phillies - two teams that reached (in reality, probably exceeded) their potential on their way to a championship series appearance. The '00, and '01 Eagles fit that bill as well, so I can't rip them (or else I'd stress the Williams INT in '01 or the Sehorn backbreaker in '00).

My "choker" claim begins when a player repeatedly loses games that they should win, and McNabb fits the bill. Blame the rush defense all you want, but they lost 14-3 against Carolina in a game where the QB went 10-22 for 100 and 3 INTs (let me guess, it was the refs fault). Carolina outgained the Eagles by just 18 rushing yards in that game (with many more carries), and the Eagles held Delhomme to 101 yards passing. Sure, it was the run defense's fault alright.

I guess our definition of "awesome" differs, and that's fine. The fact of the matter is that the 2000 Eagles ranked 4th in PA, the 2001 Eagles ranked 2nd in PA, the 2002 Eagles ranked 2nd in PA, the 2003 Eagles ranked 7th in PA (#1 against in rush TDs allowed, btw), and the 2004 Eagles were #1 in PA through the first 14 games when the starters were playing. Maybe not awesome if the 1990 Eagles defense is the last that you've considered, but certainly pretty freakin' good.

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