In the spring before the 1999 NFL Draft, Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell had a message for the Eagles organization:
“If you don't draft Ricky Williams, we'll all meet at city hall and burn the Vet down.”
Williams, a running back out of the University of Texas, was among the best college football players in the nation and highly sought after by many NFL teams.
Tom Modrak, the Eagles general manager at the time, had a different player in mind for his ball club, however, and selected Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb. When McNabb’s name was called, the Eagles faithful booed the young man like he was a menacing villain in a movie. Needless to say, McNabb was not a very popular figure in Philadelphia for his first couple of years.
Oh, how cruel Eagles fans can be.
By ‘00, his first full year in the league, McNabb was selected to the Pro Bowl. He also finished second in MVP voting behind St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk. He has been the backbone of the Eagles organization since ’00 and has carried the franchise to four NFC title games and one Super Bowl. McNabb has played with a broken ankle, bruised ribs and various other injuries for the Eagles, while Williams has spent more time being tested for marijuana than actually playing.
McNabb has been to every Pro Bowl since ‘00, except for injury-riddled seasons that kept him out of Honolulu in ’05 and ‘06. In ‘01, he led Philadelphia to their first NFC Championship game since 1980, but lost to the heavily favored Rams 29-24.
Unfortunately for McNabb and the Eagles, the loss to the Rams wouldn’t be the first time they would suffer defeat in the NFC title game. In ‘02, the cocky Tampa Bay Buccaneers trumped Philadelphia on their way to a Super Bowl victory and in ‘03, the Eagles fell again on their home turf to the Carolina Panthers.
In ‘04, however, the Eagles added controversial but very talented Terrell Owens to their receiving corps. Owens and McNabb connected for 14 touchdowns and a franchise best 13-3 season on their way to yet another NFC Championship game. The Eagles finally got over their NFC Championship Game jinx by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 27-10. The win sent Philadelphia to their first Super Bowl since 1980. The win, however, was the last time that Owens and McNabb would be smiling together.
Super Bowl XXXIX turned out to be a disaster in more ways than one. Not only did the Eagles lose to the Patriots 24-21, but there also were reports after the game that McNabb could not call the plays for the final offensive drive due to sickness. He denied the rumors, but the writing was on the wall for the Eagles. Shortly into the ’05 offseason, Owens started demanding a new contract, sighting that he was vastly underpaid and under appreciated by the organization.
Owens then targeted McNabb in his rampage for a new contact, leaving the two to have several off the field sparing matches through the media. The eventual outcome was a catastrophe. On the opening night of Monday Night Football in ‘05, the Falcons would get their revenge on the Eagles, handing Philadelphia a 14-10 loss and a serious bruise injury to McNabb in the first quarter. He never seemed right after the injury, and sat out most of the season. The Eagles finished last in their division and Owens was eventually booted from the team.
McNabb suffered another serious injury in ’06, giving way to 36-yeard old Jeff Garcia to take the Eagles back into the postseason. The city of Philadelphia seemed to embrace Garcia, giving way to speculation that McNabb’s days as an Eagle were down. Garcia signed with Tampa Bay in the ’07 offseason, however, ending the speculation. McNabb is currently rehabbing and should be completely healthy for the start of the regular season.
Rendell did eventually keep his promise about tearing down Veterans Stadium if the Eagles didn’t draft Williams. Of course, the fairly brand new Lincoln Financial Field displays a huge photo of McNabb on one of the sides of the stadium.Oh, those crazy Philadelphia Eagles fans.
Philadelphia Eagles: Donovan McNabb
The official website of the Philadelphia Eagles provides in-depth career notes, stats and a small personal section on their star quarterback.
NFL.com: Donovan McNabb
Small bio on McNabb, but the true value of this site from NFL.com is the amount of stats they provide on Donovan.
Rotoworld Player Page: Donovan McNabb
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Donovan McNabb Wikipedia Page
Find a comprehensive background on Donovan McNabb's life and football career at Wikipedia.com.
The official website of Donovan McNabb brings you news, photos, stats, a multimedia section and information on his foundation.
Latest on McNabb
McNabb rebounded from an injury-riddled 2006 season to turn in a solid 2007. While the Eagles failed to reach the postseason, McNabb finished ninth among all quarterbacks with an 89.9 QB Rating. He threw for 3,324 yards, 19 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
News and Commentary
McNabb comments shortsighted
In a 2007 interview with HBO, Donovan McNabb noted that black quarterbacks are more criticized more than their white counterparts.
McNabb’s working, mentally and physically
Following his season ending knee injury in ’06, Donavon McNabb is apparently feeling healthy both mentally and physically.
Donovan McNabb has gone from draft-day enemy to the toast of Philadelphia
Interesting article about how McNabb was booed by fans and even not wanted by Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell on draft day in 1999, but then he was the talk of the town after leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance in Jacksonville.
Eagles are Super
After three straight losses in the NFC Championship games, McNabb and the Eagles finally taste victory in a 27-10 beating of the Atlanta Falcons, to advance them to Super Bowl XXXIX.
McNabb denies he was sick at Super Bowl
After reports surfaced that McNabb was sick during the Eagles final drive in the Super Bowl, McNabb tried to squash the rumors himself.
McNabb addresses Owens controversy
After a long and drawn out circus, Donovan McNabb makes his final comments over the feud he had with wide receiver Terrell Owens.
On the media criticizing black quarterbacks more than white ones:
"Let me start by saying I love those guys (Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer),” McNabb said. “But they don’t get criticized as much as we do. They don’t. I pass for 300 yards. Our teams wins by seven. [They say,] ‘He could have made this throw. They would have scored if he did this.'"
On being how he responses to criticism:
“I'm a professional athlete. I'm a hard worker. That's the thing that's set me apart from all this mess. The way I handle it is to focus in on football and do what I have to do.”
On Terrell Owens:
"It's unfortunate what the end result was with [Owens] not being able to get on the football field with us, but you have to move on."