The Donovan McNabb era (1999-2009) with the Eagles ended abruptly with his trade to the Redskins. His career record with the Birds: 92 wins, 49 losses and 1 tie...and five NFC Championship game appearances, with a Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.
I'm still dazed by The Trade...not that it happened...but the way it went down. I was glued to the NFL Channel all night long, watching Andy Reid's press conference (announcing the trade) loop over and over...I was trying to absorb it all, to read any kind of emotional or body language coming from Reid...He was calm, too calm, repeating the phrases "it's a business" and "Donovan knows this is just a business"...and then I realized the odd timing of The Trade on Easter Sunday night (why not wait 'til Monday business hours?) was all about money---McNabb was due to receive a $5 million roster bonus on Monday if he remained an Eagle.
At that point, I became angry with Reid. I thought to myself, "Calm down, don't post the article yet, weigh in other viewpoints..." But I couldn't shake this feeling of wanting to yell back at Andy Reid (or his talking clone on my TV screen): "No, Andy, it's NOT just a business, it's way more than just a business...It's an era of pop culture that just blew up in our fans' collective face...it's little kids with #5 jerseys running around Philly's sandlots pretending to be the guy you just traded...it's losing the Face of the Franchise. And as smart and comical as McNabb was, as wacky as he could be, as streaky on the field, and as close as he got us to the Lombardi trophy, we claimed him as one of us. Some say he was flawed in accuracy or mechanics, but he was ours, and McNabb's body of work convinced us he wanted to win as an Eagle and retire as an Eagle.
Even McNabb's biggest haters are denouncing The Trade... not that their hate target is gone, but that the Eagles didn't get enough in return (two Draft picks, one in the 2nd round this year), that the Eagles traded him to our rival in the same division , and that the Eagles didn't get a deal done for him in Oakland or Buffalo a month ago when his stock held its highest value.
As for the Washington Redskins: good for them. McNabb will give them a new edge at QB if their O-line can keep him off his back. McNabb will give the 'Skins a better chance to beat the Giants, Cowboys and....er, Eagles. And make no bones about it: McNabb wants right now to beat the Eagles badly (first matchup coming October 26). But it is strange, and arrogant of Reid, to think we can let McNabb go to a Division rival without painful consequences down the road. As former Eagle Brian Dawkins was quoted today: "The Eagles will be very sorry one day, very sorry indeed that they pulled off this trade."
I'm only capable of quick impressions about the trade at this point...My word associations would be "numb", "disposable culture", "disrespect", "short memory", "detached", "mercenary" and "selling of souls"... I'm frustrated at Andy Reid's robotic approach to aging veterans as completely asset-based, instead of recognizing personal exceptions who can still make winning contributions and be identified with this team.
I'm also worried that Kevin Kolb (McNabb's heir) might turn out to be a bust like Jay Cutler in Chicago...and I don't even know where to begin guessing where Mike Vick ends up in the league, now that his "trade value" has been diminished by the exile of McNabb. At this point, I'd rather have Jason Campbell as a QB with big upside over Kolb.
If we end up with Kolb and Vick as QB's, don't be shocked if the Eagles end the 2010 season with a 6-10 record. It's as tough a schedule as you will find in the NFL this year. And I hate thinking that the Eagles are intentionally conceding the NFC East in 2010 so they can reload big-time in the Draft with a bunch of extra picks...but it feels like that.
So much for loyalty among professionals and faith in your star players...And now, Andy, you have to overpay Kolb just to extend his contract, way before you even really know what he will produce.
Leave it to Lord Brizer, the outstanding "gatekeeper" at the fan comments section at the Eagles' NFL website, to add a fresh perspective to McNabb's trade: "Broached before, my gut feelin' (on McNabb to the Redskins): number one, McNabb accepted defeat too graciously, which did not sit well here; two, is there some 'hidden' metabolic/physical issue, i.e., COPD, asthma, diabetes, etc.?; and number three, McNabb is not very deceptive as an NFL QB...he could have been great...maybe, under Shanahan, he just might get there..."
But then Lord Brizer put this thought in my head: "In classic battles...in which warring tribes like the Goths or Huns fought...the strongest would surface by forcing the weakest tribe to help it defeat its primary adversaries...So you think the Giants or Cowboys are happy about this trade? I sincerely doubt it...Business has to trump loyalty...Look for a mid-round QB pick and maybe even Garcia returning...Prospice!"
Thanks, m'lord, I need that...This too shall pass...pun intended. Right now, I just can't make myself like The Trade, or the way it went down.