Donovan McNabb says he’s the most criticized quarterback in NFL history

Chris Chase
Shutdown Corner

The Donovan McNabb pity party continued on Friday when the former Philadelphia Eagles star said he was the most unfairly criticized quarterback in the history of the NFL.

Making himself out to be a football version of St. Paul, martyr McNabb made the comments during a 13-minute segment on ESPN's "First Take." While debating whether Tim Tebow should be on Twitter, Skip Bayless made the assertion that the New York Jets backup was the "the most unfairly, over-criticized quarterback in the history of this league."

"Negative — I am," McNabb interrupted. "I am. Nobody's been criticized as much as I have."

You want some cheese to go with that persecution complex? When was McNabb ever criticized by the mainstream press? He was rightly praised for being a top-tier NFL quarterback during his prime and was vehemently defended against any suggestion he wasn't. The racial aspects of Rush Limbaugh's comments aside, most analysts also disagreed with his football take (that the defense carried Philadelphia). McNabb began his career 56-23, won a playoff game in five of his first six seasons and advanced to four straight NFC championship games. Even when he lost his first three, criticism was rarely lobbed his way. It was similar to how Peyton Manning rarely got called on his middling playoff record.

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Then McNabb made the Super Bowl and frittered away much of the fourth quarter by huddling when his team was trying to make up a 10-point deficit. He reportedly vomited in the huddle during one of the drives. There were rumblings of McNabb's late-game problems, but hardly a national uproar.

If Philadelphia fans were tough on him, that puts him in a special club reserved for every recent Philly athlete not named Chase Utley.

The media sided with McNabb in his beef with Terrell Owens the next year. When McNabb went a pedestrian 26-22-1 over the next four seasons, few mentioned his decline. Andy Reid later traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins and the focus was mainly on how Donovan could help his new team, not that the trade signaled how little faith Andy Reid had in his former quarterback. Trading McNabb to a division rival was one of the sharpest rejections of a major quarterback that the league has ever seen. It wasn't viewed that way at the time.

If you had to pick one extreme or the other, the media treated McNabb with kid gloves. Imagine if Jay Cutler threw up in a Super Bowl huddle or if Michael Vick lost three NFC championship games in a row.

Consider this: Over the past two days, McNabb has blamed his failures on coaching, brought down a player who hasn't been drafted yet and whined about how the media didn't treat him right. He's shown that he can be self-serving and phony. Yet he made it through 13 NFL seasons without the press calling him on it.

Thanks, Pro Football Talk

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