Shutdown Corner - NFL

I think most people were a little surprised at the raucous and overwhelmingly positive reaction that Michael Vick got from the Philadelphia fans last night. Every time Vick stepped on the field, it sounded like Rocky Balboa just stepped into the ring. When Vick completed a pass, it sounded like Rocky just knocked out Clubber Lang.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course. I'm glad that fans are supporting Vick as he tries to rebuild his life, and I can't blame Eagles fans for being excited about the acquisition of a potentially dynamic new player. The possibilities for Vick are endless. I'd be psyched, too.

But I can't help but wonder what Donovan McNabb(notes) was feeling when the crowd went bananas for Vick. I don't know if McNabb's ever been cheered like that in Philadelphia. And yet, the second a convicted dog murderer takes the field, he gets a reception like Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III. I couldn't blame McNabb if he was standing there thinking, "Maybe I should start an underground gerbil-fighting operation."

I know there are a lot of fans in Philadelphia who do love and support McNabb; in fact, it might even be most fans. I think that's the right attitude. McNabb is one of the great quarterbacks of all time, and certainly the best Eagles quarterback of all-time. Consider:

McNabb is fourth among active quarterbacks in career touchdown passes, trailing only Brett Favre(notes), Peyton Manning(notes) and Tom Brady(notes). He's got the third-best touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history, behind only Brady and Steve Young. His career winning percentage is an outstanding .651. A paltry 2.09% of his throws are intercepted, which beats Brady, Manning, Joe Montana, Dan Marino or anyone else you want to name. He's the Eagles all-time leader in yards, attempts and touchdowns.

And yet, the relationship between McNabb and the people of Philly has always seemed rockier than it should be. There's been a ridiculous amount of support (which is to say, any support at all) for Kevin Kolb(notes) to take over as the starter. It's always seemed like there's been a groundswell of people who wanted to push McNabb out the door and find someone new.

At the very least, I think it's fair to say that McNabb has never enjoyed the kind of universal support that Brady has in New England, Manning has in Indianapolis or Ben Roethlisberger(notes) has in Pittsburgh. Even second-tier guys like Kurt Warner(notes), Drew Brees(notes) and Eli Manning(notes) seem to have more support in their cities.

McNabb's given his all to the franchise, in times when they've provided him with a good supporting cast, and in the times where they haven't. I just wonder if he felt a tiny bit underappreciated last night when a convicted felon walked into the game and got the kinds of cheers that McNabb hears way too infrequently.

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