I've come to the shocking conclusion that Donovan McNabb is one of the most unfairly maligned players ever to play in the NFL. Actually, McNabb is a big boy and if he get's his feelings hurt, he should be mature enough to look at his giant piles of money and get some comfort, but that's not my point. I don't care if McNabb gets his feelings hurt for his sake. I care for the sake of us as fans being able to look at the facts and not be a bunch of dumbasses when it comes to evaluating talent, and the facts pretty much point to the fact that McNabb is an incredible football player.
I'm going to keep the logical arguments short because most of you don't care. As a starter, McNabb and the Eagles have only missed the playoffs twice since he became a full-time starter in 2000. The two years the Eagles missed are years McNabb missed multiple games due to injury and often played well less than healthy. Five of those years saw a visit to the NFC championship game. As for stats, lets just say he's in the top 25 in a whole slew of passing stats and that's ignoring that he has been a major threat running the ball. He's also has the second lowest interception percetage ever after Jason Campbell despite throwing more passes than most. Brett Favre isn't even close when it comes to not throwing the ball to the wrong team. Favre pretty much throws the ball as far as he can, hopes the guy wearing the right jersey catches it, and knows people will schlob his knob regardless of who gets the ball. I hate Favre and hopes he dies young of a bad case of infected anal fissures. I hated Favre before he couldn't stay retired, so I'm special. The rest of you Favre haters are just Johnny-come-latelies hopping on my Favre Hate Train.
Going back to McNabb, sure he only made it to the Super Bowl once (where the Eagles lost by 3 points to the Patriots during New England's invincible streak), but that record of 14 playoff games since 2001 is incredible. All playoff games are big games. Winning an average of about two a season doesn't define choking to me.
So why is McNabb so maligned? Precisely because of where he plays. Philadelphia is full of assholes. Seriously, they named their city "The City of Brotherly Love" only because they wanted to lure more tourists into town so they could club them over the head with a stout piece of old-fashioned lead pipe to steal their tennis shoes and throw them over a telephone wire. You can't give away hard door prizes at a Philly sports venue because the bastards will pelt the players with anything dense enough to cause bodily injury to their own players and each other. I'll give them a pass on booing Santa Claus. Apparently that Santa really sucked, but these guys turn on their own faster than any other fan base in the world. They're mean like squirrels too used to free handouts at a state park campground. The bastards bite. If McNabb had been anywhere other than Philly or New York (too much scrutiny and too many expectations in that jaded city for anyone to be truly beloved), he would have been a well loved local icon like Favre. The fact of the matter is that the national sports media is heavily influenced by the local sports media. After all, most of the stuff filed on a city's sports teams for ESPN or the like is filed by a dude based in that city. Green Bay isn't the most critical of localities. Favre helped himself by being on a bunch of Super Bowl teams, but his huge flaws as a player were overlooked. Down seasons weren't blown out of proportion. He didn't have to worry about getting beaned in the back of the head by a battery. Had Atlanta ended up with McNabb instead of Michael Vick, do you think he'd end up with the same chip on his shoulder about how his fans treated him? Heck, no. Atlanta fans will love you if you just turn in mostly winning seasons. Being able to complete a few passes would have been a huge upgrade over Vick. There's a reason that the Braves were never too harshly criticized for not being able to win more than one World Series during their lengthy stretch of dominance. Atlantans were just happy that they had a team that didn't always suck for once. It's big news for the Yankees to even have a season where they have to fight for a playoff spot.
But, you know what? No one was saying that McNabb sucks (except the Philly fans when he has a bad game). Most people realize that the guy is one of the best to play the game in the last ten years. He's not really underrated, just over hated.