Any allegiance I had to the Philadelphia Eagles ended last night. You see I was never really an Eagles fan. Instead, I am a Syracuse fan, who happened to live about 2 1/2 hours from Philadelphia and who rooted for #5. Therefore, I wanted the Eagles to do well.
I've always been a San Francisco 49ers fan. Always of course starting when they got good. So go ahead call me a bandwagon fan. In some cases, it is true. But I was young, impressionable and the Colts, who were my team, had taken the Midnight Mayflower voyage out of Baltimore.
So when Donovan McNabb became a Philadelphia Eagle, the Eagles had every opportunity to reel me in. To make me an Eagle fan. To get me hooked. I never really wanted that - because from McNabb's first moments as an Eagle - the relentless and unnecessary boos on draft day - when he was selected over Ricky Williams - right until the end he was never appreciated for everything that he was to the franchise.
I tried to explain to my Eagle loving friends that it was a good move. That Donovan was so much more than an option QB. So much more than a run first kind of signal caller. To this day, I don't think they understand what they had.
In 11 seasons (if you count the rookie one - where he basically redshirted), McNabb led the Eagles to five NFC championship games. Prior to his arrival the Eagles were little more than an afterthought in the NFC East picture. The Division was dominated by the Redskins, Cowboys and Giants before #5's arrival - and you had to go way back to the days of Ron Jaworski, Wilbert Montgomery and Harold Cahrmichael to really feel any differently.
With McNabb's initial success some of the boos disappeared. But in recent years as the Eagles got close to the summit they started to reappear. All of a sudden the job that McNabb was doing wasn't enough. The smiling face that he brought, the constant playoff trips, the engaging personality, the consistent success was all overshadowed by a perception - fair or unfair - to be unable to win the big game. The thought that someone else could do better, provide more, flooded the airwaves.
So now the Eagles management has decided to move on. A year ago they brought in Michael Vick, at McNabb's urging, and gave the convicted felon another chance. Several years ago they drafted Kevin Kolb - and he has worked diligently as the understudy - and might very well be ready to take over the reins. From a pure football standpoint, it is probably obvious that McNabb's better days are behind him. Having three capable quarterbacks didn't make sense - and trying to move one of them to help other need areas - also made sense. I'm not trying or going to argue that. I might even be able to be convinced that McNabb had the most value on the market - therefore it made the most sense to try to deal him.
But there is something about all of this that still bothers me. Bothers me tremendously.
In sports, so often we root for the uniforms and not the guys in them. It is the rare exception where we really root for the player. Today's hero - gone tomorrow is all of a sudden a bum. In contrast, the opposing team's villian - all of a sudden wearing the home team's colors is forgivable and loved.
Still this morning, I think there are more Eagle fans happy that he is gone, then there are that still want him around.
I'm not one of them.
Probably never was.
Never will be.
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