According to ESPN, the Eagles have traded the greatest quarterback ever to suit up in Philadelphia to the Washington Redskins. Compensation will be Washington’s 2nd rounder (37th overall) this year and a 3rd or 4th rounder next year depending on performance, per NFL.com reporter Jason LaCanfora. Final language is still being discussed.
No matter who comes back, it likely will not be enough to replace #5. For the past 11 seasons Donovan McNabb helped lead the team to its longest period of sustained success in its history.
Unfortunately a Super Bowl win was not part of that success and the front office decided it was best to move in a new direction. While I am disappointed to see him go, my feelings for the team will not change. McNabb should have stayed, but I plan to root for the Eagles just as hard this season.
The make-up of the team will definitely be different and it will be interesting to see how things play out, but first we should take a look back at some of the good, bad, and interesting moments we had with #5 throughout his time in Philly.
DRAFT DAY (1999): The fanbase and the city wanted running back Ricky Williams, so when he wasn’t chosen, fans booed the man that would become one of the greatest to ever wear midnight green.
GOV. RENDELL APOLOGIZES TO MCNABB (December 5, 2009): This one of the reasons why I love Rendell – he was a great mayor, is a great governor, and he’s just a great person. Check out this clip where he apologizes to McNabb about draft day.
MCNABB RUNS FOR OVER 100 YARDS VS. REDSKINS (November 26, 2000): Before he developed into the QB that he is today, McNabb relied on his speed. This was nowhere more evident than in this late season game against divisional rivals the Redskins. While he passed for just 137 yards with just a single TD and an interception, he ran for 125 yards, including a 21-yard TD score and a 54-yarder that set up David Akers’s game-winning field goal.
MCNABB THROWS FOUR TD PASSES ON A BROKEN ANKLE (November 17, 2002): The Eagles were dismantled the week before, and early in this mid-November game McNabb’s ankle took an absolute beating on the Vet’s turf. Rather than coming out, #5 played through the excruciating pain to pass for 4 TDs and would on an absolutely brilliant performance.
RUSH LIMBAUGH’S COMMENTS (September 28, 2003): Blowhard Rush Limbaugh made his infamous comments about McNabb that pissed almost everyone off. The most important thing to consider though is that whether or not you felt that McNabb had played well up until that point was moot – Limbaugh made it all about race, and that’s flat out wrong and exactly what the conversation should not be about.
4TH AND 26 (January 11, 2004): This is one of those plays everyone remembers where they were when this happened. After a bye week, the Eagles were facing the Packers in the divisional playoff games, and late in the 4th quarter they were down 17-14. After some penalties and a sack, the Eagles had a huge hill to climb with a 4th and 26 and no timeouts left. What happened next was something that every fan had playing in their heads, but no one expected it to happen. When McNabb threw the ball and Freddie Mitchell pulled it down, getting the first down, I couldn’t believe what I just saw. The Eagles fans crowding the NYC bar that was showing the game stared in disbelief at what had just happened, then started cheering. After several high fives and the tying field goal, we knew it would be ok. The Eagles pulled out the win in overtime, 20-17.
14 SECOND SCRAMBLE VS. THE COWBOYS (November 15, 2004): One oft-forgotten skill of McNabb is his ability to avoid defenders in the pocket, and it was nowhere more evident than on his play against Dallas in 2004. Unable to find an open receiver and doing everything he could to avoid a sack, #5 ran back and forth for over 14 seconds until he threw the ball downfield to an open Freddie Mitchell. FredEx, who was again in the right place at the right time, caught the ball for a 60-yard reception, sealing the win against the Cowboys.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WIN (January 23, 2005): After three straight NFC Championship game losses, McNabb and the Birds were finally able to get over the hump in his hard fought battle. The team made it to the Super Bowl on the back of an amazing performance from McNabb – two TD passes (both to Chad Lewis), no interceptions, and several key rushes.
DONOVAN DOESN’T KNOW A GAME COULD END IN A TIE (November 16, 2008): Not to rag on the guy, but this is kind of funny.
BENCHING VS. THE RAVENS (November 23, 2008): Even a franchise player can get benched, and that’s just what happened when the Eagles played the Ravens last year. By halftime, he was 8 for 18 for 59 yards and had two interceptions and a fumble. That’s a quarterback rating of just 13.2, which is absolutely terrible. The week before wasn’t much better as he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in an overtime tie (loss) with Cincinnati.
While you can blame the running game and defense as well, the truth was that McNabb was dismal, so when halftime rolled around in Baltimore Andy Reid benched him. It was a decision that was both expected and unexpected, especially given the relationship between these two. Apparently this was what McNabb needed to light that fire under his ass. Both his, and the team’s, season turned around dramatically as they closed out the season winning all of their games but one and making the playoffs. They lost in the NFC Championship game to the Arizona Cardinals.
These past few years have forced us fans to say goodbye to many of our longtime favorites, Brian Dawkins signed with the Broncos, the brilliant Jim Johnson passed on, Brian Westbrook was released, and now Donovan McNabb has been traded.
Things don’t stay the same forever, but knowing that, it’s still hard to say goodbye no matter how that exit is made. With the Kevin Kolb era about to begin, the Eagles are now a mostly young, fresh-faced bunch, much like they were at the beginning of the ‘00s.
Let’s hope this new bunch can eclipse the success we’ve gotten used to, and bring the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia where it belongs. It’s in the hands of Kevin Kolb now.