Donovan McNabb in GQ: “In Philly, Nothing’s Ever Good Enough Unless You Win a Super Bowl” | Robert Littal Presents BlackSportsOnline
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Donovan McNabb in GQ: “In Philly, Nothing’s Ever Good Enough Unless You Win a Super Bowl”

by Robert Littal | Posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
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Donovan McNabb has always been an interesting player to me.

On the one hand, I think his success as a quarterback is severely underrated.  People forget how bad the Eagles were before McNabb took over and not to sound “Lebronish” I believe the Philadelphia fans did get a little spoiled by the success the Eagles had.  McNabb sans for the year he had T.O. never had the best receiving core, but he always made it work with what he had.

It is very difficult to go 4 NFC Championships and 1 Super Bowl.  That shouldn’t be seen as a failure.

On the flipside, McNabb seems to be missing something that wouldn’t allow him and the Eagles to get over the hump.  They loss NFC Championship games they should have won.  McNabb is very media savvy, he could be very Favre like behind the scenes in his manipulation of management and media.  His role in T.O.’s departure was much bigger than you think and it wasn’t because of T.O.’s contract.  Lastly, the Eagles if McNabb just plays better than average beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but on the biggest stage in the biggest moment he for lack of a better phrase “ran out of breath”.

A lot of duplicity in the career of McNabb and when it is all said and done, I am not sure how he will be remembered.

He sat down with GQ Magazine for an extensive interview.  Read can read the full version here (it is a compelling read) but here are some of the quotes:

Did Michael (Vick) ever watch you and say how do you deal with this?

Yeah, Mike would say, “I don’t know how you handle that.” Kevin (Kolb) said the same thing. I said, “Look, let me explain something to you, what you have to do, I’m laying something out there for you to learn from, because here in Philadelphia, nothing’s ever good enough unless you win a Super Bowl,” and he’s like, “Yeah…” and I said, “The most important thing you have to do is handle it well,” because Kevin can get fiery, and I said, “Don’t do it, because once you get fiery, then all of the sudden you look like you’re on the defense, and now they’ll really start coming at you.”

So were you upset the Eagles traded you within the division?

I was more happy that it was over. Every year for the last three or four years, it was the same drama, me and Brett Favre, going back and forth, “Is Brett going to play, is he not, are the Eagles going to trade Donovan, is this it for Donovan McNabb?” Brett does what he wants to do, he’s his own man. For me, I just believe in keeping everything to myself and continuing to stay focused on the goal at hand–to win a Super Bowl no matter what team I’m with.

I asked Governor Rendell if he had any questions for you, and he said to ask you if T.O. had not gone crazy, how many Super Bowls would you have made it to?


The whole T.O. situation, it was unfortunate, to say the least. When we both decided to make that move and bring him over to Philadelphia, the atmosphere changed in the locker room, the atmosphere changed in the city of Philadelphia. Every time we stepped out on the field, it wasn’t, “Are we gonna win?” It was, “How much are we gonna win by?” and everyone had that confidence in the locker room that they were going to make a big play to either score or put us in position to score – I’m talking about defense, special teams, offense. And it’s unfortunate how everything panned out afterwards, and we’ve talked about it to this day.

Here’s the question every Eagles fan wants to know. It’s the Super Bowl, you’re down by 10 to the Patriots late in the fourth quarter. Why did that touchdown drive take so damn long?


We were trying to figure out if T.O. was in or if T.O. was out, because of his leg. T.O. wanted to be in. We were trying to rotate different guys in and get the personnel together and things of that nature. The play calling was a little slow, maybe, but it made it look like we were just kind of standing around. We were hustling, it was just blown out of proportion.

Interesting seems like he is blaming T.O. for Super Bowl fiasco, but I will let you guys be the judge of that.

Someone asked me if McNabb was a Hall of Famer.

I had to pause and think. What that means in my mind is he isn’t. To me, Hall of Famers you shouldn’t have to think to much, if at all. I am not sure how things are going to work out with the Redskins (my gut tells me not well), but we will always wonder how great McNabb could have been if he just had that something extra that can’t be describe in words.

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Displaying 5 Comments
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  1. TO was playing hurt… seems to me like he was blaming the coaches for the play calling,or for having TO in the game. But, if he didnt play they would've blamed TO anyway. no win situation across the board.

  2. Matt says:

    McNabb doesn't even come close to blaming Owens. Try reading again what he said: "We were trying to figure out if T.O. was in or if T.O. was out, because of his leg. T.O. wanted to be in." Pretty clearly, that says Owens was hurting but still wanted to play, and the offense wasn't sure from play to play whether he would be returning to the field. This is the kind of stuff that fed most of the ridiculous McNabb media controversies during his time in Philly.

  3. Giovanni says:

    No disrespect, but the viewpoint of the writer might have been completely missed by me, because I couldn't understand the wording/grammar outside of the GQ scripted sentences.

    In any event, coming from somebody living right outside of Philly, his words on "nothing ever being good enough" is right on the money. Its funny how long and hard fans have chanted to see McNabb impeached, but they don't realize how good of a QB he really was. Now is going to be the dark ages of the Philadelphia Eagles.

  4. Abdul says:

    Donovan had to deal with so much crap in Philly. Yes, he could have played better in big games, but he got them to big games. He made chicken salad out of chicken (bleep) for years in Philly. He has been a very good QB for years in this league. The state of QB in the league is not very good in most cities. I am from Buffalo, NY. Our QB status is among the worst in the league. I would trade the entire roster for McNabb. Whether he signs a long-term deal in Washington or maybe ends up in Minny, he will finally have the benefit of coaching who values the running game. McNabb is much better in a more balanced offense than what he had in Philly. Yes, he put up great numbers in Philly, but he can be a more efficient QB in a more balanced offense. I think he will get that in Washington eventually.

  5. Damon says:

    How was he blaming To? If anything he was blaming the ppl responsible for getting the right ppl out on the field on time, hence the coaching staff. I don't see how you got To out of that, especially when he plainly says To wanted to be out there. You had a biased view against McNabb since the who To thing went down.

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