NFL Analysis: Why Does Everyone Hate Donovan McNabb?

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On the TV show, “Everybody Hates Chris” it basically seems that Chris can’t do anything right. The show is comically based on Chris Rock’s childhood. The character of Chris in the series seems to always get a raw deal. Just when you think he finally has done something right and will get praise of the masses, it tragically blows up in his face. This sums up Donovan McNabb’s career perfectly.

Who would have guessed that Donovan would have a rocky road ahead of him, when he got drafted?  Could the chorus of boos that rained down when he got drafted been foreshadowing of the years to come? It’s possible that the City of Brotherly Love decided that day to never support him? If that’s the case, it still doesn’t explain the hate from everybody else. Why have numerous people treated McNabb as a punching bag? He’s been disrespected by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bernard Hopkins, Terrell Owens, the Shanahans, and you could even say his long time coach, Andy Reid. 

After the last assault on McNabb as a person, I had to try and figure out why he’s so hated. I wondered if it was because he wasn’t flamboyant or combative. When T.O. started the war of words, Donovan took the high road. He’s taken that path his whole career, yet he doesn’t get the credit for it. I thought maybe because he never won the big game, fans turned on him. But, the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl and Andy Reid is still employed after going through those 5 NFC championship games with McNabb. In fact, they recently gave him a long extension. Reid also had another shot to get to the Super Bowl last season but still couldn’t get it done, even with people saying Mike Vick deserved the MVP for the season.  Does Philly still blame McNabb for that lost…of course they do, Everybody Hates Donovan.

As McNabb’s career winds down, we should be discussing his Hall of Fame stats and 5 NFC championship game appearances. Instead we are watching him get benched for Rex Grossman.  To steal the words from Norm McDonald, “What the H” or “Wait, What”. Both of Norm’s popular catch phrases came out of mouth when I heard Mike Shanahan was benching McNabb for Grossman, along with some of Andrew Dice Clay’s patented four letter words.

McNabb’s Career Accomplishments

  • Career Passing Yards -  36,250  – Eagles Franchise Record and 15th in NFL History
  • Career Rushing Yards – 3,400  – Top 5 Most Successful Dual Threat QBs of All time
  • Career Passing TDs – 230 - Eagles Franchise Record and 6 TDs away from 20 of ALL-TIME
  • Career Rushing TDs – 28
  • 6 X Pro Bowler
  • 5 NFC Championship Games  -  4 in a row and 5 in 8 years (Should have taped opponents plays)

McNabb has put together Hall of Fame numbers. If just a couple of those games had gone his way, there would be people calling him one of the greatest of all-time. He has the resume of big time, memorable plays. He has the stats. And even though he hasn’t won a Super Bowl, he’s a proven winner.

Remember this….Playoff game against Green Bay, crucial moments, 4th and 26. There’s no one who’s going to complete that, in this situation. McNabb did, to Freddie freaking Mitchell.

Then they said McNabb wasn’t tough, but they forgot about the game where he injured his ankle. He left the game and got it bandaged up. He thought it was a sprain so, he continued to play through the pain.  All he did was throw for over 250 yards and 4 touchdowns. Oh, by the way, they realized after the game he had a broken fibula. No big deal, he didn’t go to the media and say “look at me, look what I did injured”. No, he just kept winning. He kept getting hurt over the years but kept coming back and winning.  Even without the support of the hometown fans or the franchise.

Remember who caught the 4th and 26? Freddie Mitchell!  That’s right. This is the type of talent at receiver that surrounded McNabb for his entire career, until he got T.O and then what did he do?  He took the Eagles to the Super Bowl and lost by a field goal. Terrell left after the next season but McNabb had proven what he could do with a playmaker. The media killed him when he asked for a playmaker a couple seasons after Owens left. Why? How different would Peyton Manning’s career or Tom Brady’s career have been without Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss etc. McNabb had one and a half seasons with a game-changer. The rest of the time he had Hank “I fumbled the onside kick for the Colts that last the Super Bowl” Baskett, Freddie “One Play” Mitchell, Kevin Curtis, James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant, Greg Lewis, etc. You get the picture. People use to say that he had a decent core of receivers but that’s because he made gourmet pasta out of Ramen Noodles. What did any of these receivers do outside of Philadelphia? Wash cars, sell real estate, talk about playing with McNabb, drop an onside kick that hit you in your chest on the only play that you even touched the field (Baskett)?

Let’s look at Donovan’s career in comparison to four other stellar quarterbacks and see if Donovan’s really to blame for no Super Bowl in Philly or the Eagles’ front office / Andy Reid.

Dan Fouts - When people talk about Dan Fouts, he doesn’t get nearly the criticism that Donovan McNabb has gotten over his career, but fact of the matter is, Fouts only threw 12 more touchdowns in his career than interceptions. 254 to 242 to be exact. McNabb has 230 TDs to only 115 INTs. McNabb never threw more than 13 INTs in Philly, yet Fouts had 5 seasons with 20 plus interceptions. Fouts also had Hall of Famers, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joyner to throw the ball too. His third guy was 4-Time Pro Bowler and 2-Time 1st Team All Pro, John Jefferson. But who do you think will be remembered more fondly?

Jim Kelly – Before Donovan lost 4 consecutive NFC championships games, Jim Kelly lost 4 consecutive Super Bowls a decade earlier. Kelly got to throw to Andre Reed for most of his career. Donovan got T.O. for a little over 20 games. Still, Kelly was a first ballot Hall of Famer, even with only having 7 more career touchdowns and 60 more interceptions. Kelly lost 4 straight Super Bowls and Fouts never even made it to the Super Bowl, but both players got to spend their whole NFL career on one team (Chargers and Bills).  Not so for Donovan.

Kurt Warner – Warner is the perfect case of what could have been if the Eagles would have built a better team around McNabb. With the Rams, Warner had Marshall Faulk in the backfield and Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce out wide. Warner was able to get a Super Bowl win while playing with this talent and almost a second. When the talent dried up, Warner had to move on to New York. He didn’t have the premier receivers with the Giants and most people thought his career was over as a starter. He caught on with Arizona and it looked as if he was going to become Matt Leinart’s mentor. But, it’s amazing what having guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin can do, to resurrect a career. We all know that Warner almost got another Super Bowl with that tandem. Honestly, what do you think Donovan could have done with Holt / Bruce or Fitzgerald / Boldin, instead of Mitchell / Curtis. Remember, these Kurt Warner teams got in the way of McNabb’s legacy in the NFC. How different would their reputations be if Eagles vs. Rams had the wideouts switched?

Philip Rivers – Rivers is mentioned as one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL. On every ranking that I see, Rivers is usually far ahead of McNabb. He hasn’t taken near the criticism that Donovan has, yet he hasn’t even made it to a Super Bowl. Rivers has a losing record in the playoffs and last season he had the #1 ranked offense and defense and didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. The Chiefs won the AFC West and the Raiders went 6-0 in the division, despite only having 8 wins. How does Rivers have a better reputation then McNabb without being able to win the weakest division in the AFC with the top offense and defense? Rivers also had a sure fire, first ballot Hall of Fame running back, in LT for the first several years, not to mention more 6’5 receivers than any team in history. All he has to do is lob it up to Vincent Jackson or Malcolm Floyd and they’ll go get it. Once again, Donovan would have been able to win at least a few of those Conference Champion games / Super Bowl, if he had LT plus a couple 6’5 receivers and the support of a #1 defense.

I’m sorry folks, I’ve broken down this man’s whole career and I still can’t understand why the Shanahan’s benched him for Rex Grossman. Why he’s not “black” enough for the convict known as Bernard Hopkins.  How he doesn’t fight through adversity hard enough for T.O. who’s thrown every quarterback under the bus. I’m sure Rush Limbaugh will just say, ”I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.” Yes Rush, because the media has always looked out for the best interest of the black quarterbacks.

I truly believe that it’s his humble, quiet nature that makes it open season on him. Or maybe it’s the Madden Curse. I’m sure 50% of you McNabb haters are going to shrug off the stats above as my love for McNabb or some garbage but I’ve never been an Eagles fan or a McNabb follower. I’m just astonished at how much hate this Hall of Famer gets. Now excuse me as I eat this Chunky Soup with Mrs. McNabb…umm, is that real vegetables?

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Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock