Thursday, January 27, 2005

One big, fat reason to root for Donovan McNabb

"I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team." - Rush Limbaugh (the big, fat idiot pictured above), claiming Donovan McNabb is overrated by the libreral media on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Sept. 28, 2003.

It seems appropriate at this point to note that since Limbaugh's big, fat idiotic comments, McNabb has won 28 starts while losing just 5, has led the Eagles to their third and fourth consecutive NFC championship games, has been voted to the Pro Bowl for the third and fourth times, has thrown for nearly 7,000 yards with 53 touchdown passes against 19 interceptions, and has the Eagles one upset victory away from their first Super Bowl victory. Whether his skin is black, white, orange, periwinkle or mauve, this much is true: since Limbaugh opened his cigar hole and spewed his ignorance, McNabb has been perhaps the elite quarterback in the National Football League.

Limbaugh's stats aren't quite so impressive. His biased, borderline racist assertion caused a predictable commotion and eventually got him fired from ESPN. Two weeks later he checked into drug rehab for addiction to painkillers after his maid spilled the beans (so to speak) to a tabloid. So it's possible that, yes, he actually was high when he ripped McNabb. Which would be his best explanation yet.

What bothers me is that McNabb, one of the most genuine and jovial star athletes of this era, still has to answer questions about Limbaugh's comments. (Hey, I've got a question: What the hell was Limbaugh doing on ESPN anyway? That's like Stu Scott getting a gig on 60 Minutes.) During that headache-inducing hypefest known as Super Bowl Media Day, McNabb is certain to be asked about Limbaugh a thousand times if he's asked about him once.

It's not fair that he still has to deal with this garbage - hell, I considered not writing about it, just to do my puny part in letting the story die. (Then I remembered I have seven readers, including you, mom.) But I know that McNabb will handle his inquisitors - even the ones who aren't liberal - with his usual humor, honesty and grace. I also know he'll remind me why, even though I'm rooting for the Patriots to prevail, I'll also be rooting for him to perform well.

And there's the irony, really: I couldn't have cared less how well Donovan McNabb played quarterback . . . until that big, fat idiot told me I did.