Tuesday, March 30, 2010

City of Brotherly Ungratefulness Won't Appreciate McNabb Until He's Gone

For most sports towns, most of the population builds a social bond with star athletes.

Not in Philly. Disgruntled fans are always unsatisfied and judgmental of a star player’s underachievement, and as a result, they turn on any athlete.

Why must an unhappy fan base belittle and boo a megastar whenever they are unsuccessful? Why must ignorant fans boo and deride a superstar whenever he elevates a hapless franchise as a whole, but fizzles at a moment when a needed win is at stake?

Shame on them for ridiculing, mocking and demanding a trade for any player who struggles to find his swagger, before finally cheering him on months later.

In Philly, the wishy-washiness and hostility burns out a typical athlete, who shows loyalty in order to pacify an unappreciative town. No matter what, this is a town that will never be content, or pleased with championships because of it selfishness and ungratefulness.

This makes an infuriated town look bad, and inspire all people living in an insensitive environment to boo any major franchise, an unsympathetic ritual that the masses in the City of Brotherly Love endorse.

It’s not hard to forget that this is the town that humiliated Santa Claus, when they booed him during halftime. And it’s not hard to forget that this is the town that taunted Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt.

But to this day, I’ve never understood why the town censures Donovan McNabb on every throw, every move, and every decision. Sadly, he’s the most polarizing sports figure in Philly, if not sports in general, lambasted and blamed any time the Philadelphia Eagles fall short. With all the latest trade rumors swirling around, there were unpleasant callers on sports-talk radio this weekend, chatting about the all familiar trade talks.

While a large population continuously blasts the franchise’s winningest quarterback, whose name has been mentioned in trade rumors for the past few years, his peers have referred to him as a rare breed, a natural talent, and the best in the world.

All of a sudden, it appears the Eagles are content with changing the culture. All of a sudden, it appears half of the town is burnt out of McNabb.

Ever since owner Jeffrey Lurie purchased the franchise, the Eagles have dealt with unnecessary drama, whether it centered Terrell Owens who dismantled the team and divided a relentless core. Over the years, the front office has chosen to practically stay under the salary cap and avoid spending enormously on a star player.

For a long time, the franchise has been cautious on spending, and as a result, has suffocated in recent seasons -- as thoughts of making a substantial playoff run and delivering a title were very unlikely. The point is, McNabb isn’t the problem to the recent failures, and if anything, he has been a remedy that has heightened the team's chances.

It’s almost fair to point fingers at him, but not too many are blaming it all on McNabb after he strongly drove a once-potent franchise to a Super Bowl before the Eagles fell to the New England Patriots. You may even wonder how he managed to steer the Eagles into the biggest game, while withstanding the nagging T.O. mess.

It seems a bond has been broken, since McNabb stumbled in the Super Bowl in 2005. It wasn’t long ago, when he gaffed in the biggest game of his lifetime, evidence that he collapsed under tremendous pressure in a crucial game. Embarrassed by it all, he conducted himself with class and blamed himself for any blunders.

Yet, the egotistical fans still ripped out the heart and soul of an inspirational leader, describing him as the scapegoat. They’ve scolded him, and rebuked him for any miscues.

Today, we are hearing trade rumors. And why should anyone be shocked? Why would any athlete want to play in a city where he isn’t welcomed? So today, some are curious to know where he might land, and when he will land elsewhere. With apologies later, the Eagles will regret dealing McNabb if the organization decides to trade its franchise player. Maybe once he’s gone, the masses in Philly will appreciate what type of superstar ran the Eagles' prolific offense.

All fans are willing to wave farewell to McNabb. Fans refuse to defend their franchise quarterback, who is bearing adversity because of his deficiencies and uninspired ways. Perhaps all fans lack a real understanding, if they’re willing to allow the Eagles to trade McNabb.

This is nonsense. He doesn’t deserve foul treatment from an organization that he has given it his all.

Just to refresh everyone's memories, he has played with the Eagles for 11 seasons and appeared in five conference championship games and had a lone Super Bowl appearance. It’s amazing how a town all of a sudden doesn’t mind giving away a star player, someone who has engineered the Eagles.

This is almost similar to handing over an iPod for a Philly cheese steak, or changing the menu at McDonald’s by discontinuing the McRib sandwich for a new and unheard-of sandwich.

Obviously, it’s clear the Eagles plan on establishing a new foundation and moving forward, trading their top player and giving the opportunity to backup quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Wait, what the hell? The guy who surrendered two interceptions. Kevin Kolb was the replacement who came off the bench when coach Andy Reid benched McNabb after a horrendous first-half in the Eagles’ humiliating 36-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. And the week before, McNabb was mocked because he was unaware that a game could end in a tie. Throughout his scrutinized career, he has been damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

So with all the reports circulating, maybe it is time for McNabb to part ways and end a fragile relationship with fans and executives. Either way, there are other teams probably more appreciative and would love to have a star player who can suit their offense.

This year, McNabb is expected to make $11 million. His contract expires next season, but why does it matter to anyone in the so-called City of Brotherly Love? Rename it the City of Brotherly Ungratefulness. If the Eagles were aiming to lock him into a long-term contract, forget about it.

With all this drama, McNabb may consider retirement or may be willing to play elsewhere. There’s one team that has expressed interest. For now, the Oakland Raiders are front-runners and already had conversations with the Eagles to presumably acquire the quarterback, in which owner Al Davis is comfortable with taking a gigantic risk.

By moving McNabb in the upcoming weeks ultimately will dictate the Eagles’ offseason moves, particularly if they receive a high draft pick in return, or a prospect the organization can groom.

However, the fans and Eagles won’t appreciate McNabb until he’s gone.