Donovan McNabb is probably never going to play in the NFL again, unless he’s willing to take a job as a backup. Even then, he’ll probably still complain about being a backup and demand that he be allowed to compete for the starting job. At least that’s what I assume is the thought process of any GM looking for a competent veteran, because otherwise he’d be a Miami Dolphin.
It seems that McNabb may have accepted this idea now as well, because he’s already taking the next step in his career – promoting himself for the NFL Hall of Fame. According to McNabb, he’s as good as in.
“What happens a lot of times is we look at what the list says, so we talk about the five NFC Championship Games, the six Pro Bowls and then we come to the end, ‘Well, he never won the big game,’ ” McNabb told Mark Kriegel of FoxSports.com, via the Philadelphia Daily News. “Well, Peyton never won the big game until he won the Super Bowl. Dan Marino never won the big game. Does that mean his career is a failure? No, not at all.” (Via NFL.com)
That’s right, the big game is the Super Bowl, and Peyton Manning never won the big game until he won the big game. Aside from the fact that Manning and Marino are two of the most proficient passers in NFL history, that’s incredible logic right there. But let’s go ahead and destroy that logic for the sake of building a self-beneficial argument.
“First of all is his numbers. How many times has he led his team to the big game?” McNabb said. “The big game still is the NFC Championship Game, the game to lead you there, and most importantly of all, did he make the players around him better? In his time, in his era, was he a top-five, top-10 quarterback in the league?”
Okay, that’s more convenient, making the NFC Championship Game the “big game”. The Super Bowl is just the Pro Bowl play-in game at this point, so what matters is the conference championship. That must be why Jim Kelly is in the Hall of Fame. He sucked at winning Super Bowls, but they don’t matter. He was, however, awesome at winning the AFC Championship, and that’s the “big game”. But if that is the argument, it’s pretty weak, because McNabb was 1-4 in his big games.
I want to be fair, though. First, since McNabb invoked Manning and Marino as examples, let’s compare this trio.
2. Dan Marino – 61,361
3. Peyton Manning – 54,828
17. Donovan McNabb – 37,276 yards (ahead of Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly, and Sonny Jurgensen, but behind Drew Bledsoe, Kerry Collins and Dave Krieg)
2. Dan Marino – 420
3. Peyton Manning – 399
21. Donovan McNabb – 234 (behind almost every HOF QB, ahead of Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw and Y.A. Tittle)
2. Dan Marino – 4,967
3. Peyton manning – 4,682
14. Donovan McNabb – 3,170 (ahead of Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly, Johnny Unitas and Steve Young, but behind Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde and Kerry Collins)
But McNabb also had a pretty solid rushing game, so let’s take that into consideration as well. He was obviously clearly better than Marino and Manning at running.
6th – 3,459 rushing yards, 29 rushing TDs (95 fumbles) (behind Mike Vick, Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton and Steve McNair, and ahead of John Elway)
I also want to point out that in 13 seasons, the guy only started every regular season game 4 times. I know people will argue that it’s an irrelevant point, but it just really jumps out at me.
Now let’s go back and visit those 5 “big games” that McNabb led his Philadelphia Eagles to. As previously stated, McNabb was 1-4 in NFC Championship Games in his career. Can we blame him for his performances in those 4 losses?
2008 NFC Championship Game – 28/47, 375 yards, 3 TD/1 INT (Arizona 32, Philly 25)
2003 NFC Championship Game – 10/22, 100 yards, 3 INT (Carolina 14, Philly 3)
2002 NFC Championship Game – 26/49, 243 yards, 1 INT (Tampa Bay 27, Philly 10)
2001 NFC Championship Game – 18/30, 171 yards, 1 TD/1 INT (St. Louis 29, Philly 24)
This is debatable, but without actually going back and re-watching these games – I ain’t making John Clayton green – I’m pinning 3 of those losses on McNabb’s poor play. I’m willing to bet that a lot of Eagles fans will agree. But what about that Super Bowl?
Super Bowl XXXIX (2004) – 30/51, 357 yards, 3 TD/3 INT (New England 24, Philly 21)
That’s obviously not entirely McNabb’s fault. Sure, those 3 picks sucked as much as anyone could suck, but some blame has to fall on the defense. Either way, McNabb certainly has a case for the Hall, but I say no. And my basis for that is the 3 seasons that I had him as a fantasy QB and I didn’t win once.
I know, it’s baffling that I don’t have an actual vote.