As we scroll through the Eagles' history, one excruciating season after another, there is a common...
As we scroll through the Eagles' history, one excruciating season after another, there is a common thread at the end of every campaign: A loss in a divisional playoff game. Losses in three consecutive NFC championship games. A loss in Super Bowl XXXIX. A loss in another divisional playoff game. Another conference-title game loss. A loss in the wild-card round. And nearly all of them came with Donovan McNabb at the helm.
No surprise there, of course. Philadelphia wouldn't be Philadelphia without McNabb to blame for all that plagues this team, which is something he accepts with as much ease as he accepts all those trade rumors. The thing is, while this city is so quick to blame McNabb, so willing to part ways with a quarterback good enough to tease it into championship relevancy, the one thing that hasn't been said enough is that McNabb did not miss those chances at Super Bowl glory all by himself.
Andy Reid was right there by his side.
And that's the way it should stay.
If, indeed, this city, these fans and the Eagles' organization are idiotic enough to get rid of McNabb, fine. But don't forget to ship the head coach right out of town with him.
Insanity has clearly gripped this city. Maybe the Phillies are to blame. After all, they do have a World Series championship in this millennium, with two straight Series appearances. Perhaps Eagles fans have said, "Hey, Phillies fans don't have to wait anymore. So what the heck is going on with this football team?"
The thing is, that question can't be asked of McNabb without it being asked of the terse-speaking coach (through news conferences, anyway) who arrived in 1999 and became the head of football operations in 2001 - and still doesn't have a Super Bowl championship on his resume in 11 seasons.
So why have there been rumors about McNabb being traded?
Who's the guy who picked those players at wideout since Terrell Owens departed in 2006? Who's the guy who has failed to find a durable runner, especially for all those times when Brian Westbrook has been injured? Wasn't it McNabb who passed for 3,553 yards in 14 games this season, guiding the Eagles to yet another playoff appearance?
We keep hearing that Reid has declared McNabb "the quarterback of this team." Forgive me for saying this, but where's the love for McNabb from everyone else? Particularly the kind of love constantly expressed for Reid?
Reid received a four-year contract extension this season. At the time, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said, "It was inevitable. There's no point waiting" to award the extension. "I've always valued stability."
With Reid, that is.
With McNabb, the emphasis is placed on winning, evidently. But how can you have one without the other?
Reid is 108-67 since arriving in Philadelphia. Lurie is absolutely right: His coach has brought stability to a franchise that had lacked it for quite some time. The Eagles always have heart. Most of the time, they're competitive. And for my money, Reid should stay - as long as no one has a problem with McNabb staying, either.
But if you're going to have a problem with McNabb - who has played with a grand total of two big-time receivers (Owens and DeSean Jackson) in his career - you had better have a problem with Reid.
Just like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and now Drew Brees have captured titles that McNabb has not, the same could be said for Tony Dungy, Bill Belichick, and Sean Payton regarding Reid.
"It's crazy to be talking about Donovan being in another uniform," Eagles tight end Brent Celek said during Super Bowl week. "Donovan has done so much for our franchise. He is our franchise. I've got faith in all of my teammates. Especially Kevin Kolb, because I know he's going to be a special player someday. But nothing can take away from what Donovan has accomplished for our franchise."
McNabb, for all his flaws, is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He's still a playmaker, someone opposing defenses have to plan to stop. Let Celek say what he will about Kolb's potential. But talk to me once Kolb becomes a No. 1 option someday.
Maybe I'll care.
Until then, until Kolb shows a pulse compared with McNabb, perhaps we can put to rest all of these rumors about McNabb's ending up in Arizona, Cleveland, Denver, or possibly Minnesota, in the event that Brett Favre decides to spare us a little drama and finally retire.
If not, then maybe it's better for McNabb to hop on the next flight out of town. As long as he takes Reid, his partner in crime, with him.
Fair is fair.
By Stephen A Smith