Let me paint the picture for you...
Last night, at about 8ish...I was in my annual fantasy football draft room (at Buffalo Wild Wings aka BW3's) and I have a pretty nice squad on my hands: RB Brian Westbrook, RB Larry Johnson, WR Marques Colston, WR Calvin Johnson, WR Marvin Harrison, TE Kellen Winslow, and RB Laurence Maroney...now obviously I am devoid of a QB but with it being a 10-team draft, everyone else had drafted a QB. In the 8th round, I had the 2nd-to-last pick, and I heard TWO quarterbacks picked that weren't named McNabb, they were QB David Garrard and QB Phillip Rivers. I was stunned. There's no way I would ever believe in life that those 2 quarterbacks are better than McNabb. Luckily, I was still able to get my QB by the time it was my pick, but that was the motivation for me to write this article about my favorite player in the NFL.
Yeah I said it...(Leon, don't get me for saying that) Donovan McNabb is my favorite player in the NFL. Has been since Syracuse. When I first saw him, he reminded me of Randall Cunningham, my all-time favorite player. Strong arm, great awareness, quick feet, and a knack for making a big play. Plus, he was kinda witty, had a bit of flash on him when necessary, and played hard. Never was in trouble, and was a bonafide leader of the hardest fans' team in football, the Philadelphia Eagles. You know the Eagles, cheering when Michael Irvin broke his neck at Veterans Stadium? Throwing snowballs with batteries on the inside at away team's players? Yeah, you know them.
Brian Westbrook owes Mac Five (and Mac Five owes Westbrook) a lot of love, because McNabb has consistently found a way to get the ball to #36 at all times (maybe, and probably because there's been no one else to throw to...) The Eagles went to 4 consecutive conference championships, and Super Bowl 39 (XXXIX) where the Eagles were three points away from the championship.
**Aside - This is the game where McNabb became increasingly fatigued in the 4th quarter, some say he dehydrated and vomited in the huddle, some say he had the wind knocked out of him in an earlier hit, regardless of all that...he did make a very slow and deliberate drive down the field in the 4th quarter, but didn't give the Eagles enough time to make one more sustained drive. Its the Super Bowl and McNabb probably was dehydrated, beat up (4 sacks), and a bit nervous. ITS THE SUPER BOWL! What do you expect? It was a gritty performance, and one play here or there could've won it for the Eagles. End aside.**
Then there's the Terrell Owens debacle, first off let me say this, I am a big T.O. fan. I really just wish this could've worked out better. When Donovan finally had a playmaker, Philly was a real problem. It made all of their additional receivers that much better, it gave Westbrook extra room as 8-in-the-box was no longer an option for defenses, and the defense gained confidence because they had more confidence in the offense. But lets not overstate this, when Philly acquired Donte Stallworth in 2006, McNabb was having an MVP season with 18 TD's and just 6 interceptions. When Don's had playmakers, the Eagles have played exceptionally well. So, I don't ever put too much into T.O. causing demise in Philly, but it'd been nice to keep him there.
The point is this, Philadelphia, fantasy owners, and fans of football have labeled this man as soft. Soft?!?!?? 2 of the 3 injuries occurred on pass plays where no one was open and Don was making a play. MAYBE IF SOMEONE WAS OPEN, he'd find someone to throw to before getting destroyed! That third injury, the "sports hernia" well, let me ask you this? Have you ever had a hernia? Tom Brady has, don't remember? Well Brady played thru it, and the Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos 27-13 (can you imagine the Patriots losing to Denver now?) and had a very poor game. This was the year after the Patriots beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl so it wasn't like they had a weak team.
What more do you want from your quarterback? From your favorite player? This is why I hate Cowboys fans that aren't from Dallas, people who are all of a sudden Patriots fans, and are Yankees fans, Lakers fans, Red Sox fans, Celtics fans, Red Wings fans, etc. You've got money, great players, and win on a regular basis. I get it, it makes sense, and go kill yourself. Along with being a Jaugars fan 4 life, my favorite player is McNabb, you can have Moss, Brady, Manning, L.T., Reggie Bush, etc. but my guy always holds his head high, doesn't make excuses, is never in trouble, and continues to be a leader. Yet you call him soft?
So now in 2008 I have selected you, Donovan McNabb, to be my starter in fantasy football. But, in reality, you've always been my starter. Because we remember what Rush Limbaugh said about you, we remember how the Philly fans booed you when you got drafted, we remember when you and T.O. battled to the end, and we remember you for giving it your all in good and bad times (4 TD's against Arizona with a broken ankle, sports hernia, 4th and 26, dehydrated in the Super Bowl), the point is that if no one else remembers I remember. So bring back moonwalking in the endzone, get back on a Madden cover, make that #5 shine, because I appreciate you fam. As everyone else should.
(P.S. this is a lot of "love" to give to a man, so I'm gonna insert the Cam'ron phrase that pays to excuse myself...)