With his Kansas City Chiefs just days away from the biggest game of their lives, coach Andy Reid decided to have his former quarterback Donovan McNabb speak to the club for some reason.
This sounded made up.
But Andy Reid did, in fact, have Donovan McNabb visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, presumably to give a pep talk and “motivate” them ahead of their Super Bowl clash with the San Francisco 49ers.
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The 49ers, by the way, had Jerry Rice visit their team.
I think I might have to give the edge to San Fran on this one.
But, back to McNabb and the lunacy of this situation. On one level, you get it. Donovan and Andy spent 11 years together on the Philadelphia Eagles, many of them highly successful. But “highly successful” doesn’t always end in championships. It sure didn’t in Philadelphia.
So you really have to wonder why someone who a.) has no connection to the Chiefs except that his former coach is there now and b.) never actually won a Super Bowl would have any clout in this situation.
No doubt, many players in the league today enjoyed watching McNabb when they were younger and just learning the game. He did some fantastic things in his day. But he was neither so fantastic nor such a locker room presence that he commands attention and inspires others. After all these years, McNabb can’t even rise above a spat with Terrell Owens. Is this the kind of player you want talking to your team just days before the Super Bowl?
For Andy Reid, yes, it apparently is.
Despite this, you could almost forgive the fact that McNabb never won a Super Bowl as a player. Many great ones did not. Brian Dawkins didn’t. But there are levels within that group, and Dawkins would have been an infinitely better choice to motivate a team than McNabb. And maybe he would have done it, if Andy Reid wasn’t completely dismissive of the greatest player he ever coached.
Even beyond the absence of a Super Bowl ring, and the fact that he literally choked during his one crack at it, there are other problems with choosing McNabb to speak to a team.
For one, he was a flat-out bad teammate. If you want to hear about individual success, McNabb is a decent choice. To expound on the importance of the greater good, not so much. And then there are the legal troubles that he has faced in the years since his retirement. Because of this, McNabb has churned through jobs at multiple networks as he has fallen out of favor in the media industry.
Donovan McNabb couldn’t even make a successful post-playing career for himself. All he needed to do was say interesting things about the sport he played for decades, and he failed at that. He wasn’t very good at it to begin with, and he ultimately lost his chance due to his own behavior. Some example.
For a borderline Hall of Famer, McNabb sure seems like a man without a team. Perhaps that’s why Dawkins or some other former player of Andy Reid’s would never speak to another club, even as a favor to their old coach. Eagles fly forever, and McNabb just isn’t one.
Maybe the Chiefs still go out and win on Sunday. But if they lose, regardless of the circumstances, the decision to have Donovan McNabb talk to his team about the concepts of winning and success will be one that Andy Reid never lives down.