It’s amazing how life works. People always love you when you’re up but it takes falling down on the mat to find out who your true friends really are. Donovan McNabb is learning that lesson right now.
As someone who has covered Donovan McNabb for years, I personally have never liked the man. I felt he was political, acted as if he had overcome adversity more than ANYBODY else, ran people out of town and played politics with Andy Reid. With that being said, it was hard not to respect a guy who played with a broken foot, who lead the distraught franchise to 4 consecutive NFC Championship games and who will one day have a bust in his honor in Canton, Ohio. It’s hard not to respect Donovan McNabb. Someone, Mike Shanahan did not get the same memo.
If Mike Shanahan was a stock, he would’ve gone from Blue Chip to the Pink Sheets overnight. The renowned coach comes in with all of the pedigree in the world and Daniel Snyder has handed over the keys to the castle. This is about as wise as giving a 16 year-old with no experience the key to your new stick shift. It just didn’t make sense. With that said; Shanahan went out and traded for McNabb and wanted Donovan to lead the Skins back to the promise land. There was only one problem: THE TEAM IS NOT THAT GOOD…
The Washington Redskins sit with a record of 5-9 and simply are not that talented. Perhaps Shanahan is the reason for this? As bad as the team was last year, the Redskins had a fantastic defense. The first day on the job, Shanahan decides to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and publicly insulted Defensive Tackle Albert Haynesworth in the media. And then there was the trade for Donovan and trust me, there was controversy with this trade and Andy Reid literally did McNabb a favorite. As Fr. Brendon V. Sullivan once taught me, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
McNabb was traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Redskins for a second and third round pick. There were some incentive clauses but that was basically the deal. We do have sources whom have come out and stated that the Oakland Raiders wanted McNabb and offered more and even his old Offensive Coordinator Brad Childress had pondered leaving Brett Farve in Louisiana where he could play on his cell phone and send text messages all day instead of coming back to Minnesota. Still, even with BETTER trade offers on the table, Andy Reid felt that he owed Donovan McNabb something and traded him to a division rival for less compensation. A questionable move but the deal was done.
The 2010 Season:
Let’s face. Mike Shanahan’s son Kyle never liked the idea of McNabb and it appeared midway through the season that Kyle Shanahan preferred to have Rex Grossman lead the team. Yes Chicago fans, the same Rex Grossman you called “Sexy Rexy”, the same guy who was losing to your arch-rival Green Bay Packers in 2006 and claimed he was more concerned about his New Years Eve plans and the same guy who San Diego Chargers Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera called a “Mental Midget.” This was the guy the young Shanahan wanted and eventually, this is who he got. Congrats.
After putting McNabb down in the press, stating he would be lifted from a 2-minute drill from being out of shape, and trading two high draft picks for him, the Redskins signed McNabb to an extension and gave him a raise. It’s hard to understand exactly what the thought process was here but these are the facts. Fast forward 4 weeks…
McNabb benched, Shanahan press conference:
Not only did Mike Shanahan bench Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman, he came out and said “I’m not sure if Donovan will be back next season.” This led McNabb to telling the media he felt disrespected. For once, it’s hard not to agree with Donovan McNabb.
Perhaps the most perplexing issue is the way the Philadelphia media is eating this up. During his heyday, there was not a writer in the Philadelphia market who would say a bad word about McNabb. Now, headlines such as “McNabb falls on his face” and “McNabb underachieves” are being blasted off of the keyboards of many uneducated writers. Many Philadelphia writers are saying that Vick is a hero and McNabb was never that great. Here’s a newsflash guys, you traded McNabb to have Kevin Kolb as your signal caller and furthermore, as great as Michael Vick is, and by the way he should win the MVP Award this season, it was Donovan McNabb who pushed for Vick to come to Philly.
It’s fair to say you’re disappointed that Donovan McNabb underachieved during his time in Philadelphia. It’s fair to say that Andy Reid and McNabb could’ve taught a course in Political Science. It’s fair to say that it was time for Donovan McNabb and the Eagles to part ways. To write bad things about a player you supported for over a decade and whom did not badmouth the organization and to have a Mike Shanahan trash a man who has contributed more to the history of the NFL than Shanahan’s entire family, well, that’s just not fair. Hang in there Donovan. There’s a plane ticket to Minnesota or Arizona waiting in your inbox. Enjoy the flight.