Posts Tagged ‘Donovan McNabb’
This week we are all over the NFL like white on rice on a paper plate in a snowstorm. What’s Wrong Witchu Baseball? Top 5 NFL Free Agent Signings ever, plus, of course, twitter shoutouts. It’s extra long and packed with excellence!
This week, NFL, NFL and more NFL. Lockout, Free Agency, all that. Plus a DOUBLE shot of What’s Wrong Witchu, Top 5 sports rivalries and twitter shout outs.
There are times I write at the request of others, like here where my uncle requested a Tiger Woods piece.
There are times where I write about epic journeys, like here during the Blizzard of 2009.
There are times something pisses me off so badly I have to mock it, like here with Sam Dalembert’s epic perpetual fail.
And, there are times where I need to write just for me, like here, when the Eagles ripped out my heart by trading my favorite player ever.
Like that night, tonight, I write for me. You can follow along if you like.
I am conflicted on how I feel about Michael Vick being the leader of my favorite NFL team. As I write this, I don’t know how this column is going to end. Its purpose tonight is to help me work this out.
I am going to talk in detail about his failings. If you are bored with that, move on.
I have always liked Michael Vick the football player. He is special. He has a unique skill set never before seen in the NFL. Lightning fast with a howitzer on his left shoulder, he scared me to death whenever he played my team, whether against Florida State or the Eagles. Somehow, he always lost, likely because he was trying to do it all himself.
He was once sued for allegedly intentionally transmitting an STD to a woman. Allegedly, he used the alias Ron Mexico while getting tested for STDs. The NFL will not allow you to personalize a jersey with that last name on it.
But it will allow you to buy a jersey for your dog with Vick’s last name on it.
Two men in a truck registered in his name once were arrested for distributing marijuana.
Once, while out on bail, he tested positive for marijuana.
And the dogs.
Full disclosure: I am not a dog person. At all. I have a scar on my left hand from a dog bite when I was trying to pet a friend’s dog with the friend standing right next to the dog. I do own a dog, only because my six year old son wants one.
Her name is Katy.
I don’t like her. Well, she’s alright, I guess. But given a choice, I wouldn’t have her.
Having said all that, I would never hurt her. Never. I would not do the things that Michael Vick did to the dogs in his home. I would not fight her, or allow her to be fought. I would not drown her. I would not electrocute her. I would not slam her to the ground repeatedly until she was dead. I would not shoot her.
When this story broke, I didn’t have a dog. Since then, every fantasy team I have ever had, in every sport, has been called Bad Newz Kennels, after Vick’s dog-fighting operation.
I thought he was a thug, would always be a thug, and thus was deserving of my scorn.
Funny thing, life.
I have done things in my life of which I am not proud. I am very, very grateful that they are not out for everyone to see. (I have never intentionally killed anyone or anything, except bugs.) I have been in bad situations, and, on balance, made far more wrong decisions than right.
However, I am not that person anymore. I won’t get into details, because, frankly, it’s none of your business, but, suffice it to say, most people would view me differently if they knew about my past.
What if we didn’t know what Mike Vick did? What if his foibles were not public knowledge?
I wouldn’t be writing this, that’s for sure.
When the Eagles signed him, my initial reaction was excitement. I recalled his talent, his human highlight reel plays, and what that could bring to the Eagles. My thought was, the man just spent 19 months in federal prison. He’s paid his debt to society. (Many people disagree. They have that right.)
Think about that for a minute.
Ever been picked up on anything and spend a day, or even a few hours in the county jail? Probably not. Ever feel like you were trapped at, say, your cubicle? Probably.
That’s nothing compared to Leavenworth.
Imagine, for a moment, that you, as a direct result of your actions, now live a life in which your every single action is at the mercy of someone else. I mean everything. When you wake up. When you eat. When you go to the bathroom, without a door, by the way. When you go to bed. Imagine, that you are forced to live in a cage, like the dogs you tortured and killed were. Imagine, learning for the first time in your life, that everybody doesn’t think dogfighting is ok, and, in fact, that it is not only a crime, but heinous, twisted and sick.
And having to sit with that, in a cage, every day, for 19 months.
There are those that say that wasn’t enough. They say that he should never be allowed in the NFL again. That he should never be a role model for children.
I am not one of those people.
The reason is that I have been given a second chance myself, and, God willing, I will not waste it. Also, I feel that no sports figure should be a role model, because I don’t really know them.
Mike Vick revealed that to us all.
Has he been redeemed? Is he still a thug?
I don’t know.
He says he’s changed. That he’s a family man.
He is definitely a better football player. He is not killing dogs anymore. He is bringing awareness to dogfighting prevention in a way that no one else can. Is that enough?
Who knows. Frankly, that’s not my call. I’m not in the judging business.
I have two young sons aged 10 and 6. Neither of them really have any clue who Mike Vick is, and even if they did, know better than to idolize any celebrity.
So, I guess the question is, am I ok with him being the leader of my favorite team?
I’m gonna say yes. Would I let him dog sit Katy?
I’m gonna say yes to that as well. Because there is no chance he is stupid (sick?) enough to ever harm a dog again. And isn’t that the point here? He did some horrible things. Horrible. Has he changed?
Again, I don’t know. But I think he knows better than to do them again. I can’t read the man’s heart. He seems more humble than he was before. He seems to understand that the world does not revolve around him. And he knows that his past behavior cannot be repeated.
I don’t need more than that.
How about you?
Already with the death threats.
Garrett Hartley, you better be glad these picks are for entertainment purposes only, because you cost me a win last night. Your two (not one, TWO!) easy misses last night created a push.
Which, if these picks were not for entertainment purposes, would have cost me money.
So, the next time I pick the Saints, and you cost me a win, you are DEAD TO ME.
So, anyway, with no further ado, and, I cannot emphasize this enough, for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY, Week One picks:
Green Bay at Philadelphia (+3): Know this now: I am going to be picking the Eagles every week. Even on weeks like this, when I know they are going to get pounded like Kim Kardashian at a chess match, I’m picking the Eagles. Sometimes I’ll justify it. Sometimes I won’t. Take it as read. Eagles cover here.
Carolina at N.Y. Giants (-6.5): Ah, the half point hanger. You know, when the late touchdown cutting the final score to 20-14 costs you? Except here, the Giants will be riding the emotion of The First Game Ever At Fake Giants Stadium(tm), while the Panthers will be riding the arm of some guy named Matt Moore. The Giants are better than you think. They win easy here, take the Giants less the points.
Miami at Buffalo (+3): Miami. Great city. Great beaches. Great clubs. The football team as of late? Eh. But they are playing a Buffalo team so bad that Chan Gailey is actually being paid to coach it. Buffalo has a chance to be historically terrible. Miami wins by a lot, give the three.
Atlanta at Pittsburgh (+2): When was the last time the Stillers got points at home in an opener? Look, I know Ben “She Can’t Say No If She’s Passed Out Drunk” Roethlisberger isn’t playing. But I also know that Mike Tomlin has never lost on opening day. Never. You know what else I know? You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask on the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t bet against Tomlin. On opening day. Take the Steelers and the points.
Detroit at Chicago (-7): These are not the Matt Millen Lions anymore. Combine that with the fact that these ARE the Jay Cutler Bears, and you have the UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK. Detroit covers. Shoot, they might even win, starting the Lovie Smith Deathwatch(tm).
Cincinnati at New England (-4.5): Coach Belichick? Yeah, there’s a Lou Cifer on the phone, something about your deal with him being up. I’m so over New England. And I believe that Cincy is the third best team in the AFC, behind Baltimore and New York. Take the Bengals and the points.
Cleveland at Tampa Bay(-3): This game stinks. I mean peee-yooo. How many teams would be an underdog to Tampa Bay, which, for the second consecutive year, starts the season with me being unable to name three of their guys? (Is Doug Williams still there?) I’ll tell you how many: two. The only reason Cleveland isn’t the worst team in football is because Buffalo might be the worst team in football HISTORY. Cue the Eric Mangini Deathwatch(tm). Tampa rolls, give the three. *blinks* Did I just say that?
Denver at Jacksonville (-2.5): If a team stinks and no one shows up, does it make a sound? Only in Jacksonville, my friend. How in the world is Jacksonville favored here? Are you kidding? I would lock this one if not for the Sunday Night Bludgeoning we have this week. Denver wins by double digits. Who set this line, Jack Del Rio’s grandbaby?
Indianapolis at Houston (+2): Imma tell you something, Houston is for real. They are gonna win a lot of shootouts this year. The offense is ridiculous, and I have a huge man crush on both Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Schaub is going for 5k this year, and it starts this week when he rings up Indy for 450 (that’s fo-fiddy) and four TD’s. Houston wins with some ridiculous Arena Bowl type score, like 68-65.
Tennessee at Oakland (+6): Will the last person off the Vince Young Bandwagon(tm) please turn out the lights? Oh, wait, that’s me. I still believe, Vince. But the Raiders are better than you think. Titans win a close one, but Raiders cover. Tom Cable hits Chris Johnson with a chair.
San Francisco at Seattle (+3): Say, did everybody suddenly forget that Pete Carroll is a lousy NFL coach? The world will be reminded Sunday. San Fran works them like those kids in The Temple of Doom, covering the three easily.
Arizona at St. Louis (+4): I am so tempted to pick against Arizona every time they are favored, especially on the road, but only Tampa Bay prevents the Rams from being the worst team in the NFC. Plus, now that they have a QB that doesn’t make me want to puke, Arizona might not be so crappy. Take the Cards, give the four.
Dallas at Washington (+3.5): As if I didn’t hate Dan Snyder enough, I have to listen to Redskins commercials (since I live in the DC area) talking about Donovan McNabb (who for the rest of the season shall, in this space, be referred to as He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned, or HWNSNBM, for I am lazy) USING THE VOICE OF LEGENDARY EAGLES RADIO ANNOUNCER MERRILL REESE. I wanted to vomit. Now, I am forced to root for the FREAKING COWBOYS, because I hate the Redskins so much. Daniel Snyder, I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns. I hope you get leprosy. Cowboys by THREE TOUCHDOWNS. STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm).
Baltimore at N.Y. Jets (-2.5): I so want to say, “People, slow your roll. The Jets are a fine team, but come on, this is a little silly. Aren’t we getting just a little carried away?” But I can’t. I love, love, LOVE this team. I love the swagger, I love the coach, I love that dude with the fireman’s hat. They win an instant classic on a last second field goal, but Baltimore covers the tight 2.5 in this AFC Championship game preview. Must See TV.
San Diego at Kansas City (+4.5): Quick, name five guys on the Chiefs. No, sorry, Tony Gonzalez isn’t there anymore. Yeah, anyway, so, take the Chargers and give the points. This one is like stealing.
Penn State at Alabama (-12): Penn State shocks the world and covers the 12. If this column is missing next week, it’s because Nick Saban had me wacked for putting the Hoodoo Jinx(tm) on his Crimson Tide. WE ARE!
It was Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 8:17 pm when I got a text message from my friend David.
“WOW!!! McNabb to the Skins,” is all it said.
I had heard the speculation from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer on Twitter earlier in the week. I had resigned myself to the fact that the Eagles were bound and determined to trade the greatest quarterback in the team’s history, a borderline Hall of Famer who is eight months younger than Peyton Manning.
But to the Redskins?
In the division?
My initial reaction was anger. I was angry that they had traded him to a division rival. It just seemed to reek of unjustified arrogance, typical of Andy Reid.
“Not only are we gonna trade you, we’re gonna trade you in the division because we think you are done. Oh, we are going to say all the right things publicly, but internally, we think Kevin Kolb is better. And we will prove it.”
They say they were doing him a favor by keeping him close to home. They say they had better offers from other teams. Maybe they did. We’ll never know.
Here’s the thing, though. When the Eagles have moved on from players like this, they are almost always right. We have pitched a fit over, among others, the following players: Duce Staley, Troy Vincent, Jeremiah Trotter, Bobby Taylor, Jeremiah Trotter again, Brian Dawkins and now, Donovan McNabb.
Those last two hurt more than any. But they were right about all of them so far. Are they right now?
That’s not going to be discussed here. Not now. It’s too fresh, and, let’s be honest, I love the man.
He is my favorite athlete of all time. He went to the NFC championship – three times – with Todd Pinkston starting at wide receiver.
Instead, I am going to talk about the greatness that is Super 5. Thus there will be no mention of his failure to win a title, his vomiting in the Super Bowl, his refusal to run, his not knowing the overtime rules, his constant throwing behind guys or at their feet, or his tendency to disappear in championship games.
Discuss all that amongst yourselves. I put it out there just to show that I recognize his faults, but man, what about…
Stanley Richards getting juked out of his underpants.
On November 26th, 2000, McNabb made the play that epitomized his early career. He had broken a run to the near side and was in the open field, when Redskins safety Stanley Richards came up to make the tackle. McNabb gave him a fake that is difficult to describe in words, leaving Richards flailing in comical frustration.
You remember it. Stanley Richards sure does. You stood up out of your seat and said “Ohhhh!” Everybody did.
Super 5 accounted for 90% of the team’s offense that day in leading the team to victory. A star was born.
And remember where you were when…
He threw four touchdowns on a broken ankle.
It was 2002, week 11. On the third play of the game, McNabb was sacked and rolled up by several Arizona Cardinal defenders. He went to the locker room, got his sprained ankle taped, came back out for the second drive and then went 20-25 for 255 yards and four touchdowns.
After the game, oops, my bad, his ankle was actually broken. IN THREE PLACES. I didn’t know ankles HAD three places to break.
That is the stuff of legend. I laugh at people who have the temerity to question his toughness. Try doing anything – even sitting down – with a broken ankle.
He had a game for the ages. On a broken ankle. A. BROKEN. ANKLE.
Ooh! Ooh! What about…
The 14.1 second scramble against Dallas.
Bonus points for this because it was against Dallas. If I hadn’t seen this play, and someone told me about it, it would have been hard to believe.
He drops back, looks, sees nothing, breaks a tackle, rolls right, rolls right some more all the way to the far numbers, turns around, runs all the way back to the near numbers and throws the ball – across his body – 58 yards down the field to Freddie Mitchell.
My first thought when I saw it was that I had done that on Madden a thousand times with Seneca Wallace, then complained about it being unrealistic.
Not for Super 5.
Oh, and for those who say he never made comebacks, how about…
Fourth and 26.
January 11, 2004. Lincoln Financial Field. Millions of Eagles fans thinking, “Oh, no, not like this. Not like this.” One minute, twelve seconds to go, no time outs, trailing the legendary Brett Favre by three. McNabb rallies the troops.
“We got this. 74, double go, on one, on one, ready, break.”
A twenty-six yard slant to Freddie Mitchell (again!) later, and the Birds were in business.
Two field goals later, they were in the NFC Championship.
I ain’t gonna lie, I screamed myself hoarse and cried. You did too.
Keep it real.
Finally, a weapon. Terrell Owens finally gave McNabb the wideout he needed. After tears of throwing to guys named Na Brown, the Eagles finally had a legitimate threat, and McNabb responded by completing 64% of his passes for nearly 4000 years, 31 touchdowns and a passer rating of 104.7. They went to the Super Bowl where they lost to the New England Cheaters, but what a great season for McNabb.
He hasn’t been the same since.
But we’re not talking about that.
He holds the NFL record for most consecutive pass attempts completed over two games. He has the best interception ratio of all time. He has the second best touchdown to interception ratio of all time, behind Tom Brady. He has the third highest winning percentage among active quarterbacks behind Brady and Peyton Manning. And he was the first NFL quarterback ever to throw over 30 touchdowns and under 10 interceptions in a season in 2004.
Here’s what the stats don’t show. I met him once, in a driving blizzard, and he stopped to take a picture with me. I mean, it was snowing hard. He didn’t have to stop. But he did. That’s the kind of man he is.
He doesn’t get arrested. He never gets in trouble. All he has ever done was bring it, every single day, to a city that may not fully appreciate him until he is gone.
I am not looking forward to seeing him at FedEx this year. I will be there, rooting for the Eagles, probably in a Kevin Kolb jersey.
But it will hurt. A lot.
Greatest Eagle ever?
Chicago Cubs fans are lovable losers.
We are obnoxious blowhards.
Buffalo Bills fans are fiery and passionate.
We are ignorant and emotional.
Washington Redskins fans are knowledgeable.
We are stupid and undeserving.
Why is the Philadelphia fan so widely hated?
Is it because we hate ourselves? Because we threw snowballs at Santa? Because we booed Donovan McNabb and cheered Michael Irvin’s career ending injury?
It is because we have the audacity to demand excellence.
We don’t boo indiscriminately. Take the Santa incident. First of all, it happened in 1968. Most people act as if it happened last Thursday. It is forty-one years old. Get over it. The guy who played Santa has.
The fans were angry at the team, not Santa. They vented their frustration with an awful football team at Santa. The team was ending a terrible season, and has a band start playing “Here Comes Santa Claus.”
A happy song? At the end of a 2-12 season? In Philly?
I wasn’t alive, but I would have been booing the team that day as well. What should we do at the end of a 2-12 season? “Great effort, guys, we’ll get em next year?”
It is not that kind of party. You want that kind of soft acceptance of a season full of sacks of awful? Try Detroit. We don’t want it here.
We booed Donovan McNabb? He seems to think so. He even seems to carry a grudge 10 years later about it. But why were they booing?
For months, the fans wanted the Eagles to draft Texas running back Ricky Williams. Even Ed Rendell, the current Governor of Pennsylvania, asked the team to draft Williams. The local sports station, WIP (which stands for We’re Idiots, People) sent 30 morons up to New York with explicit instructions to boo any pick but Williams. Thus, because a handful of buffoons boo the team’s pick, not McNabb per se, the entire fan base booed McNabb?
No. I will not accept that. Dissatisfaction with the team’s decision, cannot be extended to an entire city personally attacking a single player. To do so is absurd.
How about booing Michael Irvin? I got nothing. That was inexcusable and embarrassing. And, of course, we are the only ones to do that, right? I mean, no Yankees fans were happy about A-Roid’s injury, right?
And, of course, NOBODY cheered when Tom Brady went down last year.
That kind of thing only happens in Philly.
NFL Network’s Deion Sanders called us stupid and said he hated us. NFL Network’s Jamie Dukes said we don’t deserve McNabb.
On behalf of the entire city, let me say this.
We are passionate. We are knowledgeable. We are frustrated with coming close and not getting the ring. We know the team is too. That is why we continue to show up and cheer when they make great plays.
And boo when they don’t. This will not change.
Charlie Manuel said Phillies fans were the best in the world. Andy Reid has said it also about Eagles fans. We demand excellence and boo mediocrity. If you don’t like that, don’t play here. Go play in Atlanta, or New Orleans or St. Louis, or some other city that doesn’t care.
But when you win, nobody will throw a parade like we will.
Don’t believe me?
Ask Jimmy Rollins.