July 31, 2019
Donovan McNabb is no longer the only person advocating for his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, still thinks the world of his old franchise quarterback in Philadelphia.
Reid was asked Wednesday whether he believes McNabb deserves to be enshrined in Canton. There was little hesitation in Reid's reply.
"I'm his biggest fan," Reid said. "I was there. I know he belongs there. When you're talking about the great players in the National Football League, five championship games, a Super Bowl, all those things. Good football player, man. Great football player."
It's at least interesting that Reid felt a need to upgrade his adjective from good to great at the end of that quote.
The final point Reid makes does warrant some consideration: McNabb helped usher in an age of mobile quarterbacks who could be equally dangerous from the pocket. One could say the same thing about Randall Cunningham, however, and while McNabb was better than most or all of the players who followed in his mold (Aaron Brooks, Byron Leftwich, Vince Young, David Garrard, Daunte Culpepper, Jamarcus Russell, even Michael Vick and Cam Newton), does being the best of that group elevate him enough?
The fact that McNabb isn't a surefire Hall of Famer doesn't mean he isn't a legitimate candidate. No one would deny that he was a very good player, but given the Eagles' ultimate shortcomings while he was in Philadelphia, affirming his greatness is a hard sell. Then again, that wasn't held against Jim Kelly after his near-misses in Buffalo.
Reid coached McNabb for a decade and clearly saw some special, memorable moments from him that helped define that era of the NFL. You would expect nothing less than for him to vouch for his old quarterback.
Earlier this year, McNabb claimed he's "absolutely" a Hall of Famer based on his numbers alone. He made his case partly by tearing down Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who may have thrown more interceptions than McNabb, but also won two Super Bowls compared to McNabb's zero.
Maybe, from now on, McNabb should just let others do the Hall of Fame talking for him. He has an unhelpful way of getting on everyone's nerves, which is something he knows and seems to relish. His comments about Carson Wentz are a perfect example.
Reid is a lock to get into the Hall of Fame as a coach. His current quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, certainly appears to be embarking on a potential Hall of Fame career himself.
McNabb may find his way into Canton someday. The benefit of time and the performance of the upcoming crop of quarterbacks over the next decade may end up reinforcing what McNabb brought to the NFL. For now, it's a debate that usually leaves him on the outside looking in.