What’s Keeping McNabb In Philly?

Donovan McNabb’s situation is an interesting one. After helping coach Andy Reid deliver the best decade of professional football the city has ever seen, McNabb is currently viewed by many to be “on the wrong side of 30,”  “inconsistent,” and in a situation where the backup QB’s Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick can step in and do his job just fine.  Rumor has it that everyone from the Oakland Raiders to the Carolina Panthers to the St Louis Rams are interested in acquiring McNabb from the Eagles, and why wouldn’t they be?

Look at the man’s resume with Philly: [via]

The Eagles have made the playoffs in eight of his 10 years as a starter.

The Eagles, under McNabb, have won six NFC East titles since 2000.

The Eagles, under McNabb, have played in five NFC Championship games with one Super Bowl berth since 2001.

McNabb has a career record of 101-56-1, good enough for a .643 winning percentage. He’s third behind Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the last ten years.

The Eagles have suffered only two losing seasons since 1999, the year McNabb was drafted.

When was there a time in Eagles history when they won like this?

Never. Not even back in the days of Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren.

Donny’s stock is currently at a premium, there is no doubt that other teams around the league that need a steadier hand at QB should be panting at the thought of McNabb joining their offense.  The Rams, Raiders, Panthers — yes. But what about Washington? The great Deion Sanders who played one season with the Redskins earlier last decade always said that if you’re going to change teams, why not head to your former rivals’?  That’s exactly what he did when he jumped ship in Dallas and was swept up by Dan Snyder.  Sanders had a few interceptions that year, but chose to retire after that one season.

Back to McNabb now — it’s interesting to think that the only team in the NFC East that would be able to offer McNabb a starting position out of the gate would be Washington.  Eli Manning is the franchise player in NY, Tony Romo isn’t going anywhere in Dallas, and if the Philly front office chooses to deal McNabb anywhere you can be damn sure they would NOT want him coming to DC.  Why not?

Because Donovan McNabb is the only reason the Eagles have been able to stay out of the bottom of the NFC East, that’s why. His mobility, his downfield vision — the past few seasons McNabb has truly been able to elude the type of pressure that other teams and other quarterbacks have not been able to avoid.   The Eagles offense in fact is built on McNabb’s ability to step up in the pocket while keeping his eyes fixed downfield, and if there’s nothing setup in the flats or out deep he can take off and pickup significant yardage that way.  McNabb is as elusive and dangerous a weapon as he has ever been — and his touch seems to have only improved with age.

In 2008 it was the reason the Eagles advanced past the Giants in the second round of the playoffs, even before Arizona.  And the next week – it was McNabb’s comeback that made up for Philadelphia’s highly touted but blown apart defense led by Brain Dawkins at the hands of Arizona.

In 2009 – McNabb is the reason Philadelphia didn’t succumb to the Redskins and the Giants. But he clearly was off his game against Dallas. In fact — this may be the very reason he is rumored to be on the block — those 3 losses to Dallas and a sub par offensive performance may just be the leading reason these rumors abound… especially when Michael Vick was able to come in for one play and drop a bomb to Jeremy Maclin for a touchdown when McNabb couldn’t.  Yes – in 2009 down the stretch when it mattered — McNabb’s play should and does come under fire. After 10 years of stellar play, a shutout at the hands of Dallas followed by another playoff loss to their most hated NFC East rival leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

That right there may be what’s really behind this mess. NOT the wrong side of 30 stuff, NOT the lack of Superbowl victories – the two back to back ass handlings delivered by Dallas to close out the season.

On the other hand, I think what’s truly keeping McNabb in Philadelphia these past couple of seasons is the thought that if the Eagles lose McNabb — they would find themselves at the bottom of the NFC East and you CAN NOT make the playoffs that way.   Dallas, Washington, and New York all look that more dangerous if McNabb the wild card is out of the picture. Are you willing to gamble away your divisional wins by trading the player that most accounts for them? Especially when it comes to the Redskins?

And there it is, the final glimmer of truth. The dread of accumulating 6 losses — all to division rivals… because you traded the guy who knew what it took to win those games, and consistently delivered over the past decade. That above all else is what’s really keeping McNabb in an Eagles uniform… fear.


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