4th and Gold: McNabb to the Hall in 2018 – according to McNabb
Donovan McNabb will be in the Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible. No questions asked, he belongs in the Hall of Fame with the likes of Elway, Young, Bradshaw, and other legendary names. All of this is according to McNabb himself, of course.
According to usatoday.com, McNabb recently said in an interview that he “absolutely” thinks he belongs in the Hall of Fame, saying “I would vote for myself for the Hall of Fame.”
Growing up watching the Eagles in the McNabb era, I always liked the guy. He was obviously one of the better quarterbacks in the league, and he would frequently make some very exciting plays. The few years that we had to enjoy the McNabb-Owens era was as exciting as the Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson era has been in recent years, where you feel like the quarterback could just flick his wrist, and 60 yards later the receiver would be hit in stride for a touchdown. McNabb’s 14 second scramble before completing a pass down field is a play I’ll never forget. McNabb’s 4th and 26 completion to “Fred-Ex” in the playoffs is a play that will never be forgotten in Eagles history.
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McNabb certainly was a fun quarterback to watch and made some great plays throughout his career, but for every great play McNabb made, there were a handful of throws that left any Eagles fan watching the game thinking “even I could have made a better pass”. When I think of McNabb, like many Eagles fans, I think of him throwing up in the Super Bowl when his team needed him most. I think of his throws on 3rd down that would be rifled into the ground in front of the wide-open receiver’s feet. I think of his inability to stay healthy, and the AJ Feeley’s, Koy Detmer’s, and Jeff Garcia’s of the past who were always needed to fill in as the newest leader of the team.
McNabb had more to say in his interview. He said, ”What makes a Hall of Fame quarterback is, first of all, his numbers, (then) how many times he’s led his team to the big game — which the big game still is the NFC championship, to lead you there — and, most importantly of all, did he make the players around him better. In his time, in his era, was he a top five, top 10 quarterback in the league.” He compared himself to quarterbacks like Dan Marino and Peyton Manning, saying, ”Peyton never won the big game until he won the Super Bowl finally. Dan Marino never won the big game. But does that mean his career is a failure? No, not at all.”
The frustrating thing about McNabb is that even when I agree with some points he makes, he still makes it impossible to like him. I personally do think that the number of championships won is overrated when it comes to measuring a player’s greatness, but for McNabb to put himself in the same category as Peyton Manning or Dan Marino is irritating. This isn’t the first time he has done this either. Just a few weeks ago, before Manning decided to sign with the Denver Broncos, McNabb said, ”Peyton is such an offensive coordinator, so now what does that do to your offensive coordinator? Does he step down? Does he step back? Does he, you know, begin to change the whole offense according to the play of the quarterback? that he has in Peyton Manning? Well I didn’t see that happen, so I definitely don’t see that happening for Peyton.”
If they didn’t change the system for McNabb, they certainly would not change the system for Manning. Statements like these make me wonder what goes on inside Donovan McNabb’s head.
Donovan McNabb was a very good quarterback in the 2000′s. He made six Pro Bowls, and he was almost always in the top-ten for quarterback statistics, and often times top-five. He ranks 17th all-time with 37,276 passing yards, and 22nd all-time with 234 touchdown passes. Statistically, maybe Donovan is right. Maybe he does belong in the Hall of Fame. If you just looked at the numbers, an argument could easily be made. But I grew up watching Donovan McNabb. I know that a major reason why the Eagles did as well as they did and got to five NFC Championship games was because of the defense, led by the likes of Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson, Safety Brian Dawkins, and Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter.
McNabb might have the numbers to be considered for the Hall, but he never had that “it” factor. He never was clutch. With quarterbacks like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, you would rather your team be down 3 with them leading your final drive rather than be up 3 and counting on your defense. That is what separates McNabb from the elite quarterbacks. McNabb will make some great throws, and he will put up some impressive numbers, but in any given year, there were probably a half dozen quarterbacks who you would trust more than Donovan to lead your final drive. McNabb was a very good quarterback, but he was never elite. While McNabb may get his own vote for the Hall, he would not be getting mine.