I know it’s not nice to talk about a guy who can’t defend himself because he’s laid up with a sports hernia, but oh well. The Great McNabb Debate rages on. The other day, Brett, a loyal BSJ reader, mentioned in a comment on this blog that “Donovan is NOT a great QB—we all need to accept this.” I hear you, Brett. But right now, there is only one great quarterback—Peyton Manning. After that, Donovan McNabb is as good as it gets.
How efficient is he? Donovan’s career completion percentage is 58.4% with a best (last year) of 64 %. Manning and Daunte Culpepper are more impressive, with averages of 63.9% and 64.4%, respectively, and bests of 67.6% and 69.2%. But he’s on par with Tom Brady (61.7%/63.9%) and Brett Favre (61.5%/65.3%) and way ahead of Michael Vick (54.2%/56.4%).
Look at it another way: How many interceptions does he throw for every TD? Donovan has a career 49% rating (interceptions/TDs). Peyton the Great is up at 53% and Brady the Bowl-Winner is at 54%, Favre and Culpepper keep each other company at 63% and 64%, and Vick makes me laugh with 73%.
Yardage? Donovan’s 3,875 yards from last year isn’t earth-shattering, but it’s better than Brady or Vick have ever put up, and Culpepper’s only beaten it once. Touchdowns? His high through the air is 31, which Vick and Brady have never touched, and Culpepper and Manning have beaten only twice apiece—and only Culpepper has more TDs on the ground.
No player in recent memory has galvanized Eagles fans like McNabb. Charismatic, hard-working, and clean-living, he lets us and his teammates concentrate on the game by never instigating any unnecessary drama. He’s also often done the unthinkable, busting memorable moves and in one game throwing four touchdown passes on a broken ankle.
3. Team Success
As I stated in my last post, since 2000, when McNabb took over, the Eagles are 64 and 28—as compared to, say, the Patriots’ 60 and 32—and they’ve won the NFC East four times and the NFC once.
4. Extra Credit
Even Donovan’s harshest critics can’t deny that he possesses true game-breaking potential. There’s always the possibility he’ll break a play that changes the game completely, whether it be a daring run or a deep pass. Also, no other QB has suffered such inadequate receivers. With the obvious and crucial exception of T.O., Donnie has never had a serious and consistent option.
Big talent. Little box.
So why all the frustration? A few reasons—and, yeah, they’re big ones.
1) He can’t throw a ten-yard pass. If hitting a receiver in the toes was good, he’d be Johnny Unitas.
2) He’s a Mama’s Boy. Can’t he balance those soup commercials with a Colt 45 ad or something?
3) He got tired in the Super Bowl. Allegedly.
Is Donovan McNabb overrated? Yes. He’d have to be. People love the guy like he carried scores of elderly people out of a burning building when, really, he’s nothing more than an above average QB. But he is that, and except for Peyton Manning, there’s nobody better.