Today is Donovan McNabb’s 32nd birthday. I can’t imagine it’s a very happy one. He was benched last week (first time in his career, though rightfully so) midway through the Eagles humiliating loss to the Ravens which was on the heels of a truly wretched performance versus the Bengals.
Donovan’s played his whole 10-year career for the Eagles – and has handled himself admirably. On draft day, he was booed by fans that wanted the Eagles to take long-ago-washed-up-dope-smoker Ricky Williams. He was maligned by Rush Limbaugh on ESPN, during the network’s misguided attempt to interject edginess into their NFL pre-game show. He’s been graceful through all that and more. By all accounts, he’s a decent human being, a good husband and father – never on the news for any of the poor behavior exhibited by too many athletes these days. You’d be happy to have your kid put his poster on their bedroom wall.
By most accounts, he’s been successful on the field as well. He leads the Eagles in wins and touchdowns. He’s approaching 30000 yards passing for his career. The Eagles have won 5 NFC East titles in the 10 seasons he’s been there. When he’s “on”, he’s absolutely scintillating – a One Man Gang.
And yet, we’re probably at the end of the road for him in an Eagles uniform. He’s never won the Big Game – coming up tired/sick/confused in the closing minutes of Super Bowl XXXIX. And there were the three NFC Championships left on the field. There have been too many times where he’s seemed bewildered while on the field. His up-and-down year this season is great example of this maddening inconsistency. With everyone healthy this year, the Birds were supposed to contend again and they’re at .500 and in last place. As these things go in the NFL – the coach and QB will shoulder most of the blame.
And so, as a belated birthday present this year, you’ll probably get your ticket out of Philadelphia. I hope folks treat you well on your way out – despite all the craziness and hyperbole, you deserve that.