So I’m driving to Asheville a couple of Sundays back, and on the radio is Mike Ditka and some other guys, and Ditka is talking about Donovan McNabb. He’s talking about how Donovan McNabb is one of the all-time greats, blah blah blah, and I’m thinking, “whatever he’s smokin’, it must be the good stuff”. So I decided, semi-enraged in a football sort of way, to list all the QBs in the NFL I thought were better than McNabb, and I counted eight—which is funny, because that’s exactly the assessment of ESPN.

In fact, my list of “guys better than McNabb” is identical with ESPN’s with one exception; I put Marc Bulger ahead of McNabb, and had Matt Hasselbeck in a group called “throw a net over Donovan and these guys”. In retrospect, I think ESPN has probably got it right, and Bulger belongs in that net instead of Hasselbeck, who is better than McNabb. In my “McNabb Net”, I had Vince Young, David Garrard, Jeff Garcia, Derek Anderson, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning, as I recall, although Eli is certainly on the iffy edge of that group. I didn’t have Jay Cutler there; I’m not convinced on him yet.

But the point remains: Donovan McNabb is a bit-better-than-average QB, at best, and always has been. If you look at the stats, that’s apparent. Some years he’s rated fairly well, while many years, he’s middle-of-the-pack. If you count playoff performance, that’s apparent. Donovan McNabb had one really outstanding year, and that’s when he was throwing to TO. Other than that, it’s basically run-of-the-mill with a few highlights. He’s fine, but he’s not worthy of Mike Ditka’s silly overpraise.

I ain’t saying Rush Limbaugh was right or wrong a few years ago, I’m just sayin’…Donovan McNabb is a really nice, classy guy, and he’d be an upgrade for a lot of teams when he leaves Philly this year, but at his best, he’s really a top-end-of-average QB.

4 responses »

  1. Jack Brooks says:

    Limbaugh got pasted for making a non-racist “racist” remark — that commentators’ motive for praising McNabb too highly is because he’s black. Which of course wasn’t a hateful or racist comment. It wasn’t even about McNabb, but about the motives of his peanut gallery. I think it was a generalization based on Limbaugh’s reduction of everything down to Liberalism vs. Conservatism, but ESPN didn’t like having its agenda pointed that way. Their agreement with Limbaugh did stipulate that he stay away from politics (a dumb stipulation, since that’s like demanding that a seal not bark and clap its flippers). So now everybody’s terrified to say anything bad about McNabb, and they lather undeserved praise all over him, as of they need to make up for the terrible thing Limbaugh did. White atonement guilt in the form of sports commentating!

  2. Chris says:

    Well said, Jack! McNabb just doesn’t have the talent of a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning to elevate the game of his teammates. And for the people here in Atlanta that have started talk about him coming here, they’re crazy. He’d wish he’d stayed in Philly if he came here. His legacy will be of a decent QB and a guy who liked bringing up his race whenever he thought it was appropriate. That’s it.

  3. Byron says:

    I think you’re pretty much on target. Rush’s words that the media wanted to see a black QB succeed were harmless enough; I want to see black QBs succeed, after seeing them discriminated against for so many years by being turned into wide receivers, etc. There’s nothing wrong with the media having that desire, just as there’s nothing wrong with me having that desire. Warren Moon blazed a great trail in that regard.

    It’s also true that Donovan McNabb has been overrated for years.

    Now, whether the first caused or contributed to the second is a matter of speculation/opinion; Rush has his, others have theirs, and we all know what opinions are like.

    Rush’s fault in the matter was not having the wherewithal to realize how his remarks would be taken. It was a pretty big lapse of judgment on his part, any way you slice it. It wasn’t racist in the slightest, but it was fairly dumb to say.

  4. As I’ve said before, the NFL is the opiate of the masses.

    I’d rather see Ditka and the guys sitting around pontificating about the number of months it will take for Iran to get a nuke.

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