Sunday, November 30, 2008

Donovan Rides On The Highway of Broken Stars

As fashionable as it is to pronounce the Donovan McNabb era dead and buried, I will hold off for the moment. The more I think about it the less surprised I will be if he's back next season. If Eagles fans know one thing about Andy Reid, besides that he has the parenting skills of Peter Griffin, it's that he's one stubborn fat man. He coaches with the mentality that whatever he's doing is right, will work, and should not be questioned, even if it's consistently wrong, does not work, and defies all logic. If logic and reason, not to mention salary repercussions, agree that Donovan McNabb should be in another uniform next year, well goshdarnit Andy will do the opposite. Which I'm ok with(fire Reid). But regardless of what happens after the season, I think it's worth re-tracing some of the important moments in Donovan's career, a rocky ten years of sustained drama fairly conventional for a superstar athlete in Philadelphia.

Being a superstar in Philadelphia means three things: you will be loved, you will be hated, and you will eventually leave. Philly fans are blood-sucking agents of adulation, a tireless mob of vampires constantly seeking the pacifying tonic of success, which a superstar can provide like no normal athlete. Superstars have the most blood, their blood tastes the best, and they're easier to find and eat than some puny bench-warmer who looks like everybody else and has sour blood. And that's what happens here in Philly, we eat our stars alive. They arrive on the scene with wide smiles encased in fresh-faces, unaware of everything except their own talent. They leave with wrinkles and exhausted eyes. Sometimes their eyes are exhausted due to concussions. Sometimes due to weed. But always exhausted.

Charles Barkley was traded in the prime of his career, sick of losing and made sicker by the sight of the early 90's uniforms. Eric Lindros went from The Next One to trade bait before the cobwebs cleared from his last concussion. Scott Rolen scoffed at a $100 million contract offer and high-tailed it to St. Louis, where the country grammar didn't include booing. Allen Iverson got traded after a decade of drama so pronounced it should have been shown on daytime television. Thus Donovan McNabb is just another in a line of superstar talents who's career will be heavily debated but unanimously labeled "disappointment". Here's what I'll remember:

Kiss The Don's Pinky: Moments of Greatness

Breaks Mark Carriers Ankles: I don't remember the year but I remember the play like it was yesterday. McNabb under pressure, scrambles to his left, avoids Bruce Smith, finds some running room, and is about five yards from the end-zone when confronted by Redskins safety Mark Carrier. Don squares up, shimmies like MJ in the Thriller video, leaves Carrier and his broken ego in a heap on the field and scores a touchdown.

Broken Leg Heroics: against Arizona in 2002, Don breaks his leg, then FINISHES THE GAME AND THROWS FOUR TOUCHDOWNS. Amazing. When I play old man basketball with my dad and assorted weekend warriors I often excuse myself from competition when I jam my finger or scrape my knee. People who accuse Don of being a wimp all-too-easily forget this effort.

4th and 26: Playoffs, at home, Green Bay and Brett Favre. 4th and 26 says it all and doesn't require much review. However it is worth noting that overall Donovan played a ridiculous game that day and merely capped it off with 4th and 26. I have the video, come over and watch if you don't believe me.

14 Seconds of Heaven: in front of a national audience in 2004 Donovan embarrassed the Dallas defense by spending more time on the run than Jason Bourne. After scrambling for an eternity he unleashed a throw Troy Aikmen called "the best throw I've ever seen" into the annoying hands of 1st round bust Freddie Mitchell. Supreme effort.

2004 NFC Championship Game: Don finally gets the Eagles into the Super Bowl with a strong game in a pressure-packed cauldron. Leads the Birds to a convincing win over Atlanta, throws a couple TD's, doesn't turn the ball over, hoists a big trophy over his head afterwards.

Donovan Needs Klonopin: His Moments of Infamy

Draft Day: He gets booed upon being drafted. Not his fault but part of his legacy here.

2002 NFC Championship Game vs. Tampa: coming off a broken leg, Donovan is stuffed by Tampa's defense and the Eagles lose one of the most painful games I have ever seen. Honestly not all his fault(fire Reid) but he certainly didn't play well and the final image from that game is of Ronde Barber returning a terrible McNabb pass ninety-something yards for a touchdown.

2004 Super Bowl: Mystery shrouds this game and maybe we will never know why exactly the Eagles played the second half as if it were a company cookout game of flag-football. The reality remains that McNabb threw three awful picks, was incapable of running a hurry-up offense at the end, and essentially turned in a turd of a game on the biggest stage. This game dogs him to this day, and will forever.

Don vs. TO, and TO wins: I can't really blame Donovan for not stooping down to TO's lunatic level of outright insubordination, but what I wanted was to see him stand up, call TO a fucking idiot, challenge him to a fistfight, and shatter TO's glass jaw. Unfortunately he played it too cool, tried to massage the situation and likely lost the respect of everyone in the locker room. A good punch to TO's jaw back in 2005 would have been like George McFly knockin Biff the fuck out in 1955: not only would TO be catching TD's in Philly now, he'd also be washing McNabb's car and applying two coats of wax.

Ties?: After a dismal tie against dismal Cincinnati, Donovan admits he had no idea NFL games could end in a tie. This is just annoying.

Maybe the final chapter in Donovan's career here will take a dramatic turn for the better. Maybe not. But if I had to guess I'd put my money on him leaving town like so many superstars before him, with a suitcase full of cash, a medicine cabinet full of anti-depressants, and just enough blood in his body to win for a new team in a new city.

On a sidenote, I grappled with whether or not to write about the 1st Annual Dalembert Awards Banquet and Stripper Extravaganza and decided to leave it up to my editorial comrades to take it on. I look forward to seeing in words a summary of events which I could scarcely find adequate language for.


  1. an early contender for next year's Dalembert Award

  2. Couldn't agree more with my main man Stand. Don I have love for, but the window of opportunity has merely closed on him and this team. I think he can absolutely lead a winning team, I just don't think it will be this one.

    And perhaps I'm crazy, but I sort of miss Freddie Mitchell.

  3. All who agree that this should be nominated for next year's Dalembert Report Awards, say I. IIIIIIIIIIIIII!

    Freddie Mitchell is a Falcon, and should be picked up by them.

  4. "This will follow you for the rest of your career. Your legacy in the league, Donovan, will be throwing up in the Super Bowl, Rush Limbaugh and now, ‘I didn’t know there were ties in the NFL.’” -Warren Sapp

  5. Warrne Sapp, albeit right, is a turd nugget.

  6. looks like someone's been watching "Dancing with the Stars". Falcon.

  7. Garbage pail kids cards... They were collectable and cool...

  8. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can watch the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.