The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for Fanhouse.com

A (triumphant?) return

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With apologies to Michael Vick, Sunday's game in Philadelphia is all about Donovan McNabb.

In fact, for the last 11 years, almost everything about to pro football in Philadelphia has been related to McNabb, something that his return as the quarterback for the Redskins on Sunday will accentuate.

Remember that Philadelphia fans are a unique breed, passionate about their teams and their heroes but quicker than any fans in North America to turn on them when they are deemed to have failed. There's been no better example than McNabb, who led the Eagles to eight playoff berths, five NFC East title games and a Super Bowl in his 11 seasons as their quarterback, but was booed as often as he was cheered, especially late in his term there because he never won an NFL title.

So it had to be refreshing for him when he was traded to Washington. And refreshing to those of us who have viewed him as one of the NFL's more accomplished quarterbacks of the past decade. What better spot to be in for your career's late middle age than helping rebuild a team under a coach, Mike Shanahan, who's a quarterback guru? My guess is that Vick and the Eagles win on Sunday, but wouldn't it be sweet if Donovan, so often blamed for Philly's failure to take home that title, upsets the hometown team.

If that's cheering in the press box, sorry because I'm also rooting for Vick, who in three games for the Eagles seems to have morphed into a top-drawer NFL quarterback, something he never really was when he was touted as such in his years in Atlanta.

With the Falcons, he was an athlete more than a QB, depending on his legs more than his arm and never quite accurate or consistent as a dropback passer. He's changed enough to get coach Andy Reid to change his mind about bringing back Kevin Kolb, his designated quarterback of the future. Whatever happened during those two years and whatever might happen in the future, the time off seems to have given him time to mature as a man and a football player.

In any case, they're both better off. Right now, Vick has a better supporting cast on offense -- I'm sure McNabb would prefer throwing to DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Brent Celek than Chris Cooley, an aging Santana Moss and an otherwise blah corps of receivers.

The final irony: it was McNabb who urged the Eagles to sign Vick after he completed his 18-month sentence for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. And it was McNabb who mentored him last season when Vick was his backup.

In any case, Donovan won't mind the booing in Philly.

He's heard it for most of his career.

By Dave Goldberg  |  September 30, 2010; 1:45 AM ET  | Category:  Dave Goldberg , Donovan McNabb , Michael Vick , Philadelphia Eagles , Quarterbacks , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Would you please stop the "poor mcnabb he was booed draft day" nonsense?

First of all, it was a handful of people. But more importantly, every top draft pick is booed, particularly if is not the person who was considered the top choice of the fans. It happens every draft day.

Watch the next one if you don't believe me. Almost all the top 10 get a big cheer and a few boos.

And anyway, if McNabb wore pants, he would laugh about it and use it to inspire him to greater things.

Now, it looks like Andy Reid can turn any QB into one capable of winning. For the Eagles, Vick looks like the McNabb of 5 years ago before all the injuries. What does that tell everyone?

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | October 1, 2010 6:42 PM

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