The JMRA Hall of Fame is opening its doors for a new group of inductees. Our first new entrant is a man who was once the toast of the NFL; now his career is just that, a heavily burned piece of toast that might as well have flames shooting out from each side.
DONOVAN MCNABB, QB, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, WASHINGTON REDSKINS, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The rise and prime of an athlete can be a wondrous thing to watch. It’s full of promise, brilliance, and the sheer excitement of what’s to come.
According to a study by psychologist Harvey C. Lehman, athletes, composers, and authors amongst other fields typically achieve their top performances in their early 30s.
The story of Donovan McNabb is quite the opposite.
When McNabb entered his 30s, his career didn’t hit an apex quite like Peyton Manning in 2006 (30 years old during a classic regular season performance and when his Colts won Super Bowl XLI) or Tom Brady in 2007 (30 years old during his 50 touchdown season and when New England completed a 16-0 regular season). While the latter mastered the position by 30, McNabb regressed, regressed, and regressed some more by his 30th birthday. By 30, McNabb suffered a season-ending sports hernia injury and torn ACL within nearly a calendar year.
From there, the descent of McNabb was in full unison. After losing the 2008 NFC title game, he bounced back briefly in 2009, thanks to emergence of speed merchant DeSean Jackson. However, by the end of the ’09 season, it became Philadelphia was going to throw its support behind McNabb’s backup Kevin Kolb for 2010, and not the man who helped make the Eagles a relevant NFL franchise again.
Stops in Washington and Minnesota managed to further damage his once-bright NFL portfolio.
Instead of being remembered as a dazzling playmaker and borderline Hall of Fame quarterback, McNabb is going to remembered as the guy who was too out of shape to run a two-minute drill in Washington; the guy who didn’t understand that regular season games could end in ties; and tragically, the man who was too tired to execute a hurry-up drill during Super Bowl XXXIX.
McNabb will not be remembered as the man who led a team to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl over an eight-season span in Philadelphia; or the man who bailed the Eagles out on 4th and 26; or the man who is the greatest quarterback in Philadelphia Eagles history.
Statistics and the greatest era of Eagles Football be damned.
McNabb’s face is one of unfulfilled dreams and what could have been.
RECOMMENDED DONOVAN MCNABB READING:
April 5, 2010 – The Donovan McNabb Era Ends In Philly
October 3, 2010 – 25 Reasons Why Eagles Fans Should Cheer Donovan McNabb On Sunday
November 1, 2010 –Donovan McNabb & The Two-Minute Drill
May 12, 2011 – Bernard Hopkins Says Donovan McNabb Is Not Black Enough