Donovan McNabb believes he’s the most unfairly criticized quarterback in NFL history.
Everyone else believes he’s losing his mind.
In fact, I wish I could go back in time and swallow my swig of water before I saw the news.
The former Eagles, Vikings and Redskins quarterback appeared on ESPN First Take on Friday (just as he did on Thursday when he questioned whether Robert Griffin III could fit with the Washington Redskins) and made a head-turning statement.
It began when McNabb criticized New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow and First Take provocateur Skip Bayless stepping in to claim Tebow, probably the most polarizing player ever to play the game, received more heat than he deserves.
“Tim Tebow,” Bayless said, “is the most unfairly, over-criticized quarterback in the history of this league.”
“I am,” McNabb continued. “Nobody has been criticized as much as I have.”
Albeit the second overall selection in the 1999 NFL Draft has taken tons of criticism in his 13 NFL seasons, determining whether it was unfair is a matter of opinion. There’s no question Rush Limbaugh once offered a bone-headed assessment of McNabb and he was unfairly booed on draft day, but it’s widely believed that the amount of heat he received mirrored the quality of his play.
The 6-2, 240-pound signal-caller led the Philadelphia Eagles to four straight NFC East division titles (2001-2004), along with five NFC Championship contests (2001-2004 and ‘again in ’08) and one Super Bowl, where the Eagles lost to the New England Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX.
He spent 11 seasons in Philadelphia and is the Eagles’ all-time leader in career wins, passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass attempts and pass completions. Quite possibly his most memorable individual play throughout his career became known as “4th and 26” against the Green Bay Packers in the 2003 NFC Divisional Playoff Game.
As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com writes, “When McNabb played well, he was rewarded with cheers, Pro Bowls and endorsements. And when McNabb played poorly, he was booed, traded and finally released.”
In McNabb’s defense, his latest statements were probably less foolish than when he came out and said he was expecting a second overtime in the 13-13 tie against the Cincinnati Bengals in November of 2008.
Should the Syracuse alum hang up his cleats before the start of the 2012 NFL season, McNabb finished with 37,276 yards and 234 touchdowns to 117 interceptions with an 85.6 quarterback rating, 59.0 completion percentage (3,170 of 5,374 passes) with an additional 3,459 rushing yards and 29 scores on 616 runs in 13 seasons.