Former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb might or might not be a Hall of Famer.

Former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb might or might not be a Hall of Famer.

by Ryan Meehan

The news came down today that former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb will retire as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles when September of 2013 rolls around. The news should not be a shock to anybody, as McNabb did not play in 2012 and his career was likely over a few years before that.

But of course, the “Is Donovan McNabb a Hall of Famer?” question is now ripe for discussion. My goal here is to present a little bit of a different angle here, as opposed to the ones you will likely hear over the summer. This is not going to be an argument about statistics, but instead one about how we look at situations like this.

First off, in this country you have to remember that as a culture we love having two opposite sides and fear compromise like the plague. Look at our current political system – You’re either a “democrat” or a “republican”. And if you’re anything else, you’re “crazy”. Sports is the same way. It’s why we like to put two guys that look nothing like each other in split screens to debate things that neither one of them knows the true answer to.

The Hall of Fame is a touchy subject because in the NFL it means that you are either immortalized with your own bust or remembered as the guy who never got into the Hall of Fame. So what the sports media is telling us is that it all comes down to that one question: “Should Donovan McNabb be in the Hall of Fame?” When in reality, there are two questions here:

1) “Should Donovan McNabb be in the Hall of Fame?”

2) “Should Donovan McNabb NOT be in the Hall of Fame?”

And belieive it or not, I believe that the answer to both of these questions could very well be “no”.

Now, before you act on your first instinct to clear out of this page and never return to SBM, hear me out…The fundamental problem with this being a definite “yes” or “no” question is it doesn’t let you get away from it without giving a maybe, and that’s exactly what Donovan McNabb is when you put his whole career into perspective. Looking back on his body of work, I personally think that he is right on the line of being HOF-worthy, but this is where my point gets a little unorthodox:

Maybe Donovan McNabb IS the line. Maybe he legitimately doesn’t teeter one way or the other. Sure, it’s not the type of answer a sports fan’s brain is looking for but it’s a possiblity that we don’t really explore as much as we should. I’ll go over that more at the end of this piece.

Putting that aside for a moment, for the sake of argument let’s go ahead and do the whole “case for” and “case against” thing, and then I’ll tell you what I think the real answer is.

The case for:

Donovan McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to five NFC Championship games: All four from 2001 to 2004, and 2008.

The case against:

He lost four out of five of those games, and in the one where he did win he went on to lose the following game in what would eventually be one of the least memorable games in recent Super Bowl History.

The case for:

Dan Marino also never won a Super Bowl, and he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The case against:

Marino put up record numbers very early in his career, and without question is a much better quarterback than McNabb ever was. Marino also played in the same era as Joe Montana.

The case for:

McNabb has better career stats than Joe Namath, and it’s really not even close.

The case against:

Namath was part of a game that literally changed the current setup of professional football, and in my opinion even then he shouldn’t be in. I get that he guaranteed a victory against all odds, but I think that this idea that we wouldn’t have Super Bowls if it weren’t for Namath is a tad overexaggerated. If I had a vote Namath wouldn’t be in the Hall.

The case for:

McNabb has 37,276 career passing yards. Statistically, this is usually enough to make it into the pro football Hall of Fame. By comparison, Namath only has 27,663.

The case against:

Statistics aren’t everything, and in my opinion Dan Fouts shouldn’t have been a first ballot HOFer and he has 43,040 yards. By comparison, that’s almost sixteen thousand feet, or almost one third of a mile.

Now, obviously I could keep going on and on until the end of time. But like I said earlier, maybe he’s not really on either side. I guess if I HAD to go one way or the other, I would say that he probably shouldn’t be in. And if I had to cite two basic instances where his character would be put into question, it would be 1) throwing up in the Super Bowl and letting Terrell Owens walk all over him on the sidelines of that game, and 2) not knowing the overtime rules. But here again, I don’t think that as a writer it has to go one way or the other.

Like I said earlier, the idea of being forced into one camp or another is part of American culture, and in my opinion I think that’s a bunch of shit because it eliminates a possibility. You hear ESPN hosts say things like “Get off the fence!”, when in cases like this one – maybe Donovan McNabb IS the fucking fence.

Think about that for a second – maybe he IS the fence. Maybe he IS the line. Maybe instead of being the straw that breaks the camel’s back, dude just passes out with the straw in his hand and the camel lives. And when he wakes up next morning, he sees Rush Limbaugh on TV explaining how the media has been very desirous that a straw of that particular hue be successful in killing camels.

So what do you think? I would really like to see some quality banter in the comments section of this article. Let me know what you think, and we’ll discuss it further.



Filed under Sports


  1. Just out of curiosity, if this debate ran into overtime, would Donovan McNabb know the rules?

  2. Your “for” cases are exceptionally weak.

    1) “Donovan McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to five NFC Championship games:” So what? At some point, you have to deliver, especially when you consider they should have won at least two more of those games (Panthers and Cardinals come to mind).

    2) You self-answered the Marino question. To be fair, I would compare McNabb to Fran Tarkenton, who also never won a Super Bowl, but who actually was a great quarterback.

    3) You’re right. Namath is in the Hall strictly on Super Bowl III. He also has more career interceptions than touchdown. He couldn’t even score with Suzy Fucking Kolber.

    4) “McNabb has 37,276 career passing yards.” Yeah, let’s look at teh guys two spots either side of McNabb on that list.

    Dave Krieg, 38,147
    Boomer Esiason 37,920
    Donovan McNabb 37,276
    Jim Kelly 35,467
    Jim Everett 34,837

    There’s only one Hall-of-Famer on that list, and he won four straight AFC Championship Games and tore up the USFL before going to Buffalo.

    Besides, Kerry Collins has 40,000 passing yards, for fuck’s sake.

  3. Pingback: SBM Exclusive Feature – Tales of Depression and Sorrow: The New York Giants | Sports Blog Movement

Let's Hear What You've got!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s