Donovan McNabb continues to stir the pot with Hall of Fame comments

McNabb in happier times, before he was all crusty and miserable(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
McNabb in happier times, before he was all crusty and miserable(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

Donovan McNabb felt the need to speak again this week, setting the Philadelphia sports scene ablaze by proclaiming to be a Hall of Famer.

Donovan McNabb, what did we do to hurt you?

Oh, that’s right, Philadelphia Eagles fans booed you at the 1999 NFL Draft. I would say that I had forgotten, but that story will never die.

The chip that’s been on McNabb’s shoulder for most of his career surfaced again this week, as he made self-serving comments about his Hall of Fame status, namely that he feels he should already have a bust in Canton.

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McNabb’s primary point of attack was Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, whose stats McNabb targeted as being inferior to his own. And in this case, he has a point. Compared to Aikman, McNabb’s 4,000+ extra passing yards and 70-odd additional touchdown passes do compare favorably, as does all of the extra value he added by running the ball.

But, professional sports are a results-based business, and so it was an ultimately futile attempt by McNabb to largely dismiss Aikman’s three Super Bowl rings.

While I do personally feel that Hall of Fame standards in all sports often weigh championships too heavily when valuing a player’s legacy and their candidacy for enshrinement, I believe that the lack of a title severely hurts McNabb in this particular case.

You can pull off the feat of making the Hall of Fame without ever winning a title if you were clearly the best player at your position for a length of time, as evidenced by an all-time great like Dan Marino.

But for someone that was merely among the best in the sport rather than clearly at its zenith, the impact of a championship is almost a necessity if said player is ever going to reach that sport’s Hall of Fame.

For McNabb, he is right on the borderline, and it’s possible that he was only one win away from being a surefire candidate to enter Canton.

If McNabb could have led the Eagles past the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, he’s almost certainly in.

Or, going another route, if the Eagles could have made at least three Super Bowls under his guidance instead of just one, it would be hard to ignore that accomplishment, even if he never took home the ultimate prize.

Since McNabb only got to the big game one time, and the fact that it ended horribly for him, it leaves little else for potential voters to point to besides his raw statistical numbers, which were very good, but likely just shy of being classified as Hall of Fame worthy.

It remains to be seen, and maybe never will be completely known, if McNabb speaking as brazenly as he did this week ends up hurting his case.

Perhaps the selection committee will see him as having broken some kind of code. After all, we saw what they did with Terrell Owens, and he was a guy who actually had an airtight case, but had to wait until his third try.

Speaking of McNabb’s former teammate, the irony is not lost on me just how much he’s acting like Owens.

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Maybe when you’re no longer playing, there’s no such thing as talking out of turn, but that’s what McNabb’s comments feel like. It’s the kind of thing that got Owens in trouble so many years ago.

It also speaks volumes about McNabb’s reputation in Philadelphia that a former Eagles quarterback, and a very good one at that, can make Eagles fans laugh by suggesting he was as good or better than a Cowboys quarterback.

Eagles fans aren’t stupid; they know that three Super Bowl rings are better than none. Nice try, Donovan.

Somewhere along the line, McNabb and Philadelphia fans completely lost respect for each other.

Maybe it all started so horribly with the booing at the draft that it never even had a chance to develop. Or perhaps it all just came crashing down in the wake of the team’s repeated playoff failures.

It is a fool’s errand to try and pinpoint the exact reasons why McNabb is seemingly so reviled in a town where he had a large amount of success.

But comments like these as well as McNabb’s recent remarks about Carson Wentz ensure that he will never be embraced in this town like Brian Dawkins, David Akers and many of his other teammates who also never won a Super Bowl as an Eagles player.

The suggestion that McNabb is a Hall of Fame kind of player is not, in and of itself, a ludicrous statement. But for the man himself to say it? Well, that’s just an embittered former athlete refusing to accept reality or take accountability for his shortcomings.

No matter what, No. 5 will always love himself, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.