Posts Tagged ‘Donovan McNabb’

Donovan McNabb retires as a Philadelphia Eagle; Number to be retired

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog






Donovan McNabb retires as a Philadelphia Eagle (Image via

Donovan McNabb retires as a Philadelphia Eagle
(Image via

Donovan McNabb was at the NovaCare on Monday morning to retire from his NFL career as a Philadelphia Eagle. Just before he took the podium, Jeffrey Lurie revealed even more news about his team’s former quarterback: That McNabb’s #5 jersey will be retired, never to be worn by another Philadelphia player.

The retirement ceremony will take place when Andy Reid makes his return to Philadelphia with his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, on September 19. McNabb will be only the ninth player in Eagles history to be bestowed the honor.

Former teammate Brian Dawkins introduced his good friend McNabb at the NovaCare. An emotional McNabb spoke from the heart about giving his all on the field, his teammates, and his historic relationship with Andy Reid. And he confessed that his greatest regret –”not being able to get a parade down Broad Street to celebrate a Super Bowl win.”

“To everyone that’s here, everybody that’s watching, to all the fans, I truly love you.  I gave everything I had when I stepped out on that field, I never complained.  When you see ‘5’, you knew ‘5’ was going to give you what he’s got.”

McNabb continued with words of advice and encouragement for current Eagles players preparing for the upcoming season:

“To all you current players that are playing now, play with passion, play with heart, trust the man next to you, understand he’s going to give you what he’s got. “

All told, the numbers from McNabb’s time in Philadelphia are staggering. He is the Eagles’ all-time leader in pass attempts (4,746), completions (2,801), yards (32,873) and touchdowns (216). He was one of just four players in NFL history to amass 30,000 passing yards, 200 TD passes, 3,000 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns in his career, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers John Elway, Fran Tarkenton and Steve Young. Despite throwing the ball more than any other signal caller in team history, McNabb ranks fourth in NFL history in interception percentage, throwing a pick on only 2.25% of all passes. He’s the winningest quarterback in team history, securing 92 Ws while in Philadelphia.

It’s no question that the honor is deserved for the most prolific quarterback in franchise history. The fact of the matter is that, in a very short period of time, a very bad team began to enjoy the level of success we still expect from the Birds. Not just making it to the playoffs, but making a deep run. 4 NFC Championships.  5 trips to NFC Championship games. 1 Super Bowl. Unlike the brutal years that preceeded McNabb’s time as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, he led an Eagles team that was fun to watch. Though still alluded by the ultimate prize, the team and its fans enjoyed an unprecedented level of success with McNabb under center.

Do you agree or disagree with the move?

Below is video of McNabb at his retirement.

Follow Philly Sports Muse on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.


Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports


How his father’s dream became DeSean Jackson’s reality

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell





Whether or not you consider yourself to be a fan of DeSean Jackson or even the Philadelphia Eagles, the  documentary “The Making of  a Father’s Dream“ is worth a watch for anyone ranging from football fanatics to those who appreciate a compelling family story.

As the tagline of the film, “It takes a village to catch a break,” indicates, the documentary is about so much more than DeSean. It’s about family. Parenthood.  Siblings, both by blood and by friendship. It’s about football and the drive and determination to fulfill a dream.  It’s a story that portrays a father’s love for his family and vice versa.

Though we now know Jackson as a wideout with a swagger, this film helps you understand  where that stance comes from. What is interpreted by some as arrogance is actually an unshakeable confidence that Jackson has in himself and his abilities. The movie introduces you to an entirely different side of the man who refers to himself as “D-Jack”.

Bill Jackson’s overwhelming desire to have a son play in the NFL pushed him away from older son Bryon for a time after an incident where Bill held a gun to Byron’s head after his son told him that, after two years in the NFL on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, he was ready to fulfill another dream–to be a filmmaker. But Bill’s determination kept him close with DeSean and allowed him to be “Pops” to several men without father figures who just missed out on achieving their own athletic aspirations but came together to help DeSean fulfill his. This group, comprised of Darrick Davis, Irving Booker, Gary Cablayan and Travis Clark–to this day is known as “Team Jackson.”

The film features DeSean from five years of age, when older brother Byron began pursuing his love of filmmaking through the start of his NFL career. We see a small but talented and energetic DeSean in Pop Warner, showing an ability that put him far above his peers even then. We witness family sacrifice with, mom Gayle moving from Atlanta to LA so that Jackson could attend NFL manufacturing powerhouse Long Beach Polytech High School.

We witness how the desire for independence after DeSean begins attending Cal almost pulls the receiver away from Team Jackson as they develop an intensive summer  workout routine for him without his input. But ultimately, he knows that they are all striving towards the same goal and he completes the grueling training schedule.

And that’s what makes this particular story special. With DeSean, it wasn’t just Bill who wanted to see the dream of his son being in the NFL fulfilled. This son’s passion matched the desire of his father. And that’s what made it work.

Bill Jackson is not presented with a soft, fuzzy lens. His positive qualities—his love, humor, strength and drive–are shown right along with those that were not his best –notably, when the pursuit of his son’s dreams became overbearing for others. DeSean had to walk a difficult line at Cal between team and family when his father publicly criticized the lack of playing time his son received. In fact, the Bill factor is why many believe that DeSean, widely believed to be a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, fell to the second round before being selected by Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles.

A particularly interesting scene shows Jackson on the phone with Reid after being drafted and coming back into the room with his family to announce that, although DeSean thought it was rude, Reid told the rookie, “don’t bring your dad around here, we don’t want that kind of trouble.”

But it was a call that had to be made. This was now DeSean’s journey to make.

That didn’t keep Bill from beaming with pride and telling the world about his son’s success. He paraded around Pittsburgh, his hometown, in a #10 Jackson jersey along with a Terrible Towel. When asked about it, he tells Steelers fans that he’s a lifelong fan of the black and yellow, but he’s an Eagles fan now because his son plays for the team. The level of pride Bill has at his son’s accomplishment virtually jumps off the screen.

The combination of Jackson with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb gave DeSean a stellar rookie year, becoming the leading receiver on the team and helping the Birds make the NFC Championship game his rookie year. But that professional success was bittersweet, as Bill is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early in the season, a particularly lethal and fast-striking form of the disease. The once powerful  Bill is transformed into a much thinner, frailer version of himself.  Shown lying in his hospital bed, he wears an Eagles knit cap with #10 Jackson jersey draped across his legs, reminded of his son’s success as he tries to fight the disease with what little strength he has left.

Bill passed away in May of 2009 and we witness Pops’ ashes become one with the ocean, spread by the family who knew how much he loved the sea.

Jackson’s second season was also bittersweet against the lens of his father—a tremendous year that led him to become the first player in history to be selected in two positions for the Pro Bowl—both wide receiver and punt returner—but an achievement that his father never witnessed. But Bill was there—the game was played on what would have been his 65th birthday.

Bill’s tragic end inspired Jackson to create the DeSean Jackson Foundation, an organization which seeks to bring awareness and research funding for pancreatic cancer. Hearing Jackson and his mother speak about the Foundation demonstrates that it is a cause that brings the same passion we see from the player on the field into his off -field work.

“The Making of a Father’s Dream” is the ultimate Father’s Day tribute to Bill Jackson. Though he is not here to see the film, his presence and impact loom large in the 18 years of footage that culminated in the creation of the documentary. Check out a preview below.

The film is now available and can be seen on inDemand, Comcast, Verizon Fios, and other cable systems around the country. Please check your local listings for details.

Follow Philly Sports Muse on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.


Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Will upgrades at the Linc put Philadelphia in contention as a Super Bowl host city?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell






The Philadelphia Eagles announced over the weekend that Lincoln Financial Field would undergo a Stadium Revitalization Project over the next two years, intended to enhance the fan experience at games.

Included in the project, which will conclude prior to the start of the 2014 season, includes Wi-FI (whoo hoo!), an additional 7,000 seats, 2 additional HD video boards, bridges connecting the upper levels of the stadium and imagery to connect great moments and players of the team, including 34 murals placed along the upper and main concourses. The project will total $125 million.

Of the planned improvements, team owner Jeffrey Lurie said,

“This is an exciting and new era for the Philadelphia Eagles. Just watching the new HD boards will be fun as the game will be captured in a powerful way for fans. And celebrating players and pivotal moments in games is a wonderful way to showcase the Eagles proud history as a team. Fans will see these all around the stadium.”

While improving the fan experience at games is certainly a goal for the Eagles organization, might there be anything else motivating the team to implement the changes?

With the improvements and state-of-the-art technology, Lurie says that seeking to host the most prestigious event in American sports certainly is a possibility.

Lurie said to CSNPhilly,

 “You know, that wasn’t the intention. But certainly when I’m on the Super Bowl committee, when you’re bidding for a Super Bowl, the committee looks very closely at your stadium and your city, what you can host, and Philadelphia would be a great place.”

Like the rest of the football world, Lurie will have his eyes closely on New York as they host the big game in 2014. Should the weather prove to be a non-factor in the game, then he sees no reason why Philadelphia can’t serve as host to the game one day.

“We’re going to root for a decent weather day in New York and New Jersey. We think we have a great city here to host it, and a great stadium. And I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way.”

That will all be determined at a much later time. For now, have fun looking through some of the renderings of what the Linc will look like at the project’s completion next year.

“McFive” will be back at the Linc as part of the team’s history.


What the new concourse in sections 104 and 105 will look like post-project.


Was there any doubt as to B-Dawk’s image in updated Linc? It’s pretty much mandatory.


Follow Philly Sports Muse on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.


Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Donovan McNabb to retire as a Philadelphia Eagle in September

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell





Donovan McNabb will retire as a Philadelphia Eagle in September

Donovan McNabb will retire as a Philadelphia Eagle this fall.

Though no official announcement has been made by the Eagles organization, McNabb announced the news while conducting an interview on NBC Sports Radio on Monday.  The ceremony will likely take place on September 19, when his former coach Andy Reid will be present at the Linc with his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs.

It seems these days that McNabb has a healthy outlook on the many fans who loved him in Philadelphia versus those who were outspoken about their dislike of the former Eagles quarterback.

“There was never any animosity from the Philly fans.  The handful of fans that are the ones that are kind of being seen, they’re not a high percentage of fans who truly appreciate what you were able to do while you were there.  I have nothing but love for the Philly fans, even the ones who were highly criticizing me or opinionated in any way.  I can’t get upset at them because my job is to get out on the field and be productive.  That’s what quarterbacking is all about.”

While McNabb was never able to bring the ultimate win home for Philadelphia fans, this move is a no-brainer.  He led the Eagles to a level of success that we all now long to reach once again.  Love him or hate him, McNabb deserves for his football career to formally come to a close in the place he called home for 11 seasons.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.


Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Understanding “Overrated”

Friday, April 26th, 2013

by Cory Jefferies


If some of the greatest players in the history of North American sports can be overrated from the narratives told about them and the social statuses given to them to describe their level of greatness, surely it isn’t too hard to figure out how or why a great player can be overrated DESPITE the player’s GREATNESS.  “Overrated” doesn’t automatically run mutually exclusive to extremely horrible, over-hyped players.  I think 99% of fans miss this point.  Well, maybe more like 87-90%.

Let me point out 3 types of overrated players:
#1. You can be HORRIBLE & OVERRATED (see JaMarcus Russell’s draft day position).  See Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Leaf, and Kwame Brown’s draft position, plus their actual production.
#2. You can be AVERAGE & OVERRATED.  For example, see discussions on whether or not guys like Derek Fisher or Robert Horry are Hall of Famers.
#3. You can be GREAT/ELITE and STILL BE OVERRATED.  See Steve Nash winning two consecutive MVP awards.  See Derrick Rose’s MVP season where he averaged 23 ppg & 8 apg but was outplayed in every sense by LeBron James.  See Michael Vick’s best season in Philly and Donovan McNabb’s career in Philly as well (DESPITE his otherwise nice playoff resume).  Just because you are elite doesn’t exempt you from being overrated.  If people say that Kobe Bryant is better than Michael Jordan, even though Kobe’s surely one of THE greatest players ever, he’s simply overrated.
My point: Whether you are awful, marginal, above average, mediocre, good, or very good, the narrative people have for you can make you overrated.
Cory Jefferies for War Room Sports

White Quarterback II: Why Rex and Caleb are More Employable Than Donovan McNabb

Monday, October 15th, 2012

By Charles Modiano






Donovan McNabb is still seeking an NFL job, and never before in NFL history has a quarterback so accomplished found himself so suddenly unemployed. In quieter news, 31-year old quarterback John Beck made the Houston Texans team despite an 0-7 career record with a 67.6 passer rating. In the NFL, there are no white versions of McNabb’s free-fall or African-American versions of Beck’s remarkable life preserver. There are also no Black Tim Tebows or White Vince Youngs (out of league despite 31-19 starter record). After five years of failure, Alex Smith’s redemption is positively heartwarming — until you realize he can only be white. Hasn’t McNabb earned Smith’s respect?

In the famous Harvard study“Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal?”, resumes with White-sounding names received 50% more callbacks than identical resumes with Black-sounding names. As McNabb awaits callbacks, exactly how and why Rex Grossman and Caleb Hanie became more employable than Donovan McNabb in 2010 and 2011 demands a fuller explanation. Unlike the 2010 seasons of Alex and Troy Smith (out-of-league), these resumes aren’t quite identical. A closer look at Rex’s rise and Caleb’s climb not only reveals an NFL system of white privilege for quarterbacks, but more significantly[1], it reflects how hidden forms of employment discrimination  routinely operate across America.

How did we get here? Houston head coach Gary Kubiak explains his hiring of John Beck:

“[Beck] gives us some security here. He knows our system moving forward.”

Yes, John Beck knows Gary Kubiak’s “system”. Here is why:

As a longtime assistant coach, Gary once learned “the system” under head coach Mike Shanahan with The Broncos before he hired Mike’s son Kyle to help employ “the system” with The Texans before Kyle left to join Dad to teach “the system” to Beck with The Redskins. In April, Beck was cut by Mike, but still learned “the system” just well enough to be signed two weeks later by his friend Gary.

Did you get all of that Mr. McNabb?

While Donovan’s critics like to unfairly obsess over each under-thrown pass [2], his alleged demise has been falsely exaggerated by any objective measure or historical comparison. McNabb completed 19 of 24 passes in his final game played (with two drops), his 2011 passer rating surpassed 15 other starting QB’s, and his last two teams combined for an 8-21 record after he left

While his 2011 break with The Minnesota Vikings can be reasonably justified [3], the choices by coaches Mike Martz and Mike Shanahan were both indefensible and instructive. However, the minds of Mike and Mike tell an interwoven NFL story about the power of “genius” white coaches, “sticky” Black stereotypes, and a complex system of white privilege.  Lets review:


1) “The System”: Why Mike Martz Chose Caleb Hanie

Following the 2011 season, longtime Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo was fired, and celebrity Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz “resigned” at the end of his contract citing “philosophical differences” with head coach Lovie Smith. Here is why: After quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a season-ending injury, the 7-3 Bears allowed undrafted and untested Caleb Hanie to steer their playoff ship although he had never started a single NFL game. As Hanie insurance, The Bears also picked up Josh McCown who had been out of the league and coaching high school football. 

How did these men become qualified? They both knew Mike Martz and his offensive “system”[4]. Meanwhile, McNabb requested his Vikings release with the very specific hopes for a Chicago homecoming. To many Bears fans, the low-turnover McNabb running a ball-control offense on a defense-first Bears was an absolute no-brainer — just not the brain of Mike Martz.

Knowledge of Martz’s system trumped actual skill, and head coach Lovie Smith[5] made the mistake of deferring to Martz – the man who once gave Smith his first defensive coordinator position a decade earlier. As the former Offensive Coordinator of the 1999 Super Bowl Champion Rams, Martz had been credited as the architect and “genius” behind of “The Greatest Show on Turf”. By 2001, Martz became the Rams head coach and notably gave the Super Bowl away to the underdog Patriots. In Too S’Martz for His Own Good, the late great Ralph Wiley wrote:

These would-be football geniuses kill me. Don’t they kill you?

They come along now and then, like Mr. Mike Martz. Before the game teaches them the basic humility needed for any martial art, you can almost hear ‘em thinking, “Oooo, my system is so smooth. Oooo, lookit. I made separation. I made open space. I. I. I. My scheme is so sweet.”

Know who’s next in line? Spurrier. And we encourage them. Media types. “Brilliant scheme. Yada-yada.”

…Because you knew the Rams would throw it.

That ain’t genius. It’s ego, run amok.

Genius in football is simpler than that.

It’s not exploding receivers out of set like quail out of a covey.

In football, genius is simple: Do what they don’t expect you to do.

If they expect you to run, pass. If they expect you to pass, run.

Ten years later, genius in football was as simple as picking Donovan over Caleb Hanie.

But Martz never learned.

While the Rams Hall-of-Fame talent like Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and Isaac Bruce could turn countless coaches into Einstein, Caleb’s  familiarity with Martz’s “system” produced four straight abysmal losses low-lighted by an anemic 41.8% QB rating – half that of McNabb in 2011.

Why did Martz believe he could turn Hanie into Kurt Warner?: Because he still believed he turned Warner into Warner! Speaking of the former stock boy turned MVP, Martz remarked“You all know the story about the grocery clerk, right?”  Warner wasn’t “Cinderella”, that was Martz. 

Distracting media discussions on Martz “system” replaced a very simple question: If Denver coach John Fox can completely overhaul his career-long system in a single week to accommodate a 46.5% passer named Tebow, why can’t Mike Martz adjust his for a 6-time all-pro?

Hadn’t McNabb earned Tebow’s respect?

Instead, the “system” has indirectly become one of the NFL’s greatest systems of white privilege that rewards quarterback-ups and has-beens. Predominantly white coaches create systems that often reward predominantly white quarterbacks, their past personal relationships, and the perceived ability to employ their playbooks. This perceived ability comes at a cost frequently chronicled by Black Athlete Sports Network and The Starting Five. BASN’s  Gary Gray asks:

“Over 65% of college quarterbacks are African American. What happened? Do these men forget how to play the position when they enter the pro level?”

TSF’s Michael Tillery also sees a systemic problem:

“The system of evaluating quarterbacks should be based on merit and not what our perception of what a quarterback should be.”

The great irony is that adherence to “the system” is often a statement on the coach’s own intellectual inability to adapt to player talent.  McNabb agrees:

“I thought the Bears would call. So many people continuously talked about the Mike Martz offense… If you want to win and win now, you go out and get a better quarterback and you cater your offense to his strengths, and obviously the strengths of your team.”

Unfortunately for McNabb, Martz was not alone. Sticky stereotypes from his previous year with The Redskins may have also come roaring back. On talk radio, the refrain went a little something like this: “Well if McNabb can’t even grasp the rigors of Shanahan’s two-minute drill, then how will he pick up Martz’s complex playbook!”

2) “Sticky Stereotypes”: Why Mike Shanahan Won the War

The root of Donovan McNabb’s downfall began with Kyle Shanahan – the Redskins Offensive Coordinator who never really wanted him. Kyle shared Martz’s inflexibility and sense of entitlement, but not his resume.  As a poster boy for affirmative action, Kyle obtained all four of his coaching jobs through his Dad by the age of 30. 

Kyle would sour on McNabb almost immediately in 2010, and prefer Rex Grossman because he knew Kyle’s “system” from their previous year with the Texans. Like Martz, Kyle either wouldn’t or couldn’t adapt to fit into McNabb’s superior strengths, as Eagles coach Andy Reid once did for McNabb, and then once again for Michael Vick. Kyle’s flaws and family ties would quickly become Donovan’s burden.

Humiliation #1: Rex Grossman ”gave us the best chance to win”. 

The Washington Redskins were 4-3 in 2010 and head coach Mike Shanahan famously benched McNabb at the end of a winnable game in favor of Grossman who fumbled the game away on first play. Kyle likely made initial benching call.  Afterward, ex-coach  Tony Dungy reacted:

“If I’m Donovan McNabb, I’m hot. I’m your starting quarterback. As a coach, I can’t take you out of a game we have a chance to win if I believe in you.”

Humiliations #2 and #3: Too dumb and lazy

Instead of admitting his terrible error, Mike Shanahan humiliated McNabb twice more by criticizing both his mental and physical ability to run the 2-minute drill. Shanahan’s actions were strongly denounced by many former coaches and quarterbacks (see Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw). Critics called Shanahan’s actions “completely dumb” and “personal, intended to injure McNabb’s reputation”, and more charged that “the race card had officially been dealt” with “racial coding… [worthy of] firing a coach” as Shanahan “knowingly treated McNabb like a N-­—”. McNabb reflected back in 2011:

“When you start to challenge my intelligence, you’re gonna challenge my manhood, everything that I’ve been able to accomplish throughout the years, that’s disrespectful.”

But Shanahan did far more than challenge his intelligence — he challenged his long-term future employment prospects. Shanahan’s “reference” wasn’t just an individual attack – it was institutional. For an African-American quarterback in a league that has a long and continuing history of devaluing Black intelligence at the QB position, being essentially called “dumb” and “lazy” is like a felony conviction to be seen on all future job applications.

Never mind McNabb’s 92-59 record with the Eagles; his five NFC championship games; or that a closer look at Shanahan’s coaching career reveals far more “Trent Dilfer”[7] than “John Elway”. If Mike Shanahan questioned McNabb’s intelligence, then sports media repeats it, sports radio debates it, and then it becomes fact.

Humiliation #4: Shanahan chooses Beck over McNabb

Not long after Mike Shanahan declared he would only welcome McNabb as a “back-up” in 2011, he had automatically granted John Beck the opportunity to compete for The Redskins starting job with Grossman. Both Shanahans saw something very special in Beck. Kyle stood on a table in 2007 insisting Beck be drafted with the 11th pick, and Mike effusively praised him and stated: “I think the world of him”. Whatever Mike saw in Beck would trump McNabb’s 107 – 0 advantage in career wins.

Beck would go 0-3, the “Beck-Rexperiment” would produce a 6-13 record in 2010-11, and Shanahan would quietly admit defeat sans apology. He would cut Beck, and trade a bunch of Redskins draft picks for super-prospect-in-any-system Robert Griffin III. Mike would keep his job, keep his son, keep his ego, and possibly even restore his genius. RG3 might soon make all but McNabb forget:

Rex failed. Beck failed. Kyle’s system failed. Mike’s judgement failed. And no “system” will ever turn Rex or Beck into Elway.

Humiliation #5: League chooses Shanahan over McNabb

In this copy-cat league, McNabb’s past pass-ups justify future pass-ups. This writer displays the popular circular logic:  

“All I have to say is this, the Texans and Bears both lost their quarterback mid-season in 2011, and they still didn’t give McNabb a call. What does that tell you?”

Two simple explanations are Martz’s egomania and the decades-long Kubiak-Shanahan friendship, but that was not the author’s point. 

Hiring McNabb now must first require the mental capacity to acknowledge that the genius Mikes were dead wrong, and Donovan was right. Too many fellow GMs, coaches and complicit media members are incapable of drawing this conclusion, no matter how many stats, dumb decisions, or reels of Caleb Hanie videotape turn up. None of these facts are more powerful than their belief in the “genius white coach” – a myth enabled by a sports media that can’t seem to apply such labels to the Tony Dungys or Mike Tomlins[6]. 

The quarterback decisions of Shanahan and Martz weren’t merely “incompetent” — but constituted coaching malpractice. What if McNabb was white? What if Rex-Beck were Black? Is Martz just an equal-opportunity egomaniac? While we can and should ask these questions, the answers still miss the systemic point. Institutional racism is not about Martz or Shanahan.   It’s about the incredible widespread trust in their judgment which is inseparable from their own whiteness.

That’s why Donovan McNabb remains unemployed.

3) “It’s Bigger Than McNabb”: The Real Problem

“I’m not training to be a backup in this league. … I want to be the guy out there battling and going through the ups and downs. I want to be that guy.”

Many in media have argued that McNabb needs to get a “grip on reality” and tone down his lofty expectations of ever competing for an NFL starter position. But the quote above is not from McNabb, but John Beck who just naturally expects to receive what McNabb has spent a Hall-of-Fame career (see Jim Kelly) pursuing:


The real problem is not with McNabb, but with those coaches, writers, and fans who have the audacity to expect more “humility” from McNabb than the John Becks. Donovan has eyes, and can see the suffocating white privilege all around him from John to Rex to Caleb to Josh to Kyle to Mike and at least 50 QB’s who know all about “systems” their arms can’t cash. He clearly sees that his accolades haven’t gained him half the line of credit of Kerry Collins or Todd Collins. McNabb sees all of this. The real problem in the NFL, sports media, and America is this:

Friends Trump Facts: McNabb never built up a “coach’s friends network”[8] like Beck. In America, 70-80% of all jobs are obtained through “networking” – the most common mass form of employment discrimination. This “hidden job market” produces “hidden white privilege” as bosses naturally tend to hire family, friends and others who look, think, and act like them. Kyle Shanahan is more rule than exception. I have also benefited from networking. I earned my very first job as a teen through my Aunt, my first career opportunity through my brother, and when I messed up like Kyle, I didn’t have my intelligence questioned.

System Trumps Skill: Caleb over Donovan is not abnormal.  In corporate America, “the system” is called “corporate culture” and “fitting in” to existing white cultural norms is preferred to maximizing the skills of more qualified employees of color. Whites are also more likely to have their specific individual strengths noticed and nourished (see Tebow). Studies also show that an African-American male with a Bachelor’s degree is just as likely to be unemployed as a white male with a high school diploma (slide #10). As a white college graduate, if I really wanted to identify with the employment barriers of college-educated African-Americans, I’d have to return my degree.

Stereotypes Trump Stats:  Shanahan’s stereotype – not McNabb’s resume – stuck like glue. Such stigmas and stereotypes do not stick equally (see Kerry Collins’ transgressions). Princeton studies also reveal that a white man with a felony conviction has an equal or better chance at employment than a Black man without one. As a white job seeker, if I really wanted to understand Black employment challenges, I’d have to mug somebody and do time first.

Ego Trumps Winning: Don’t coaches like Shanahan, Martz, and others  “just want to win football games”? No. Not quite. Ego-maniacal NFL coaches (which are most) want to win games, win their way, and receive the credit for the victories. I have also held jobs where only 30% of my skill set was being used, and my worth was being (mis)judged because my strengths were ignored. While incredibly frustrating, it still did not stop me from obtaining other jobs within my profession.


In arguing the case of white quarterback privilege, the most common resistance has come through variations of the following “common-sense” question:

“In a billion-dollar enterprise, wouldn’t any team definitely hire the best quarterback that could help their team win?”

Problem #1 with the question: It assumes winning is always more valuable than whiteness as the face of a franchise. While elite talents like Vick, RG3, and Cam Newton will always find homes, Michael Tillery asks the opposite economic question“Is the fear Black quarterbacks will take over the league alarming enough there will always be resistance for the status quo to submit to their physical and mental prowess and unequivocally give them a shot?”

Problem #2 is sports history: The “wouldn’t any team help itself?” logic has long been an enabling tool in justifying discrimination. It once helped deny Black players from entering Major League Baseball as The Sporting News editorialized in 1945: “There is not a single Negro player with Major League possibilities.”  The white press, white fans, and owners at the time largely accepted this reasoning at the expense of pennants and millions in ticket sales (see Brooklyn Dodgers).

More recently, this question was turned on its head when the collective judgment of all 30 NBA General Managers refused to draft or sign Jeremy Lin because they subconsciously perceived stereotype before skill. In linking Asian to African-American stereotypes, David J. Leonard writes“Race matters when thinking about Lin’s recruitment (or lack thereof) out of high school and his path to the NBA, as race matters when talking about employment discrimination.”

In the intentional scenario, McNabb is being black-balled like Satchel Paige, Curt Flood, and Barry Bonds (see 2008) before him. In the unintentional scenario, McNabb is this year’s Jeremy Lin before the Linsanity. In either case, the racial impact is just the same (cue Jay Smooth).

Donovan McNabb is the story of employment discrimination and white affirmative action in America.

But just don’t tell John Beck “the system” is rigged. He believes he earned his job.


Charles Modiano of, for War Room Sports

[1] Beyond stereotypes based on intelligence that discriminate against African-American QB’s, many have argued that stereotypes based on athleticism have discriminated against white players at “skill positions” – even if not near a McNabb level. Stereotype research suggests that this is also likely true to some degree. While anything less than a meritocracy at any position should be corrected, such bias would not be symbolic of any widespread racial discrimination that happens in the everyday lives of whites. Employment research indicates that people of color are discriminated against in all positions at every level. If for example, athletic stereotypes on physicality were preventing whites from gaining fair access to hard labor blue-collar jobs, then that stereotype would gain far greater importance. However, the exact opposite is true. White Quarterback Privilege is especially significant precisely because it mirrors institutional white privilege in employment prevalent across society that is founded on the notions of white male supremacy in intelligence and leadership. This real-world context is the foundation that inspired this article.
[2] McNabb often underthrows the ball when missing receivers, which visually appears far worse than sailing overthrows. This is a strength disguised as a weakness as missing low over high prevents interceptions (only two in 2011). This is one reason why McNabb has the second best touchdown-to interception ratio in NFL history (behind Tom Brady).
[3] Some have misused Christian Ponder’s promotion to Viking starter by head coach Leslie Frazier to indicate that McNabb was “beaten out” by a rookie. This is false. Ponder went 1-7 with a 70.1 passer rating, but was reasonably seen as a necessary investment in Ponder’s future growth for a non-playoff-bound team.
[4] Martz “system” was once helped bring the Rams a Super Bowl when he had Hall-of-Fame talent, but has never produced results in any other stops.
[5] The Chicago Bears firing of GM Jerry Angelo, but not of  head coach Lovie Smith suggests that the pivotal decision to stay with Hanie and pick up McCown was ultimately Angelo’s, and not Smith’s final decision.
[6] In contrast to Martz, Tomlin’s brilliance was displayed in his deference. As defensive coordinator in Minnesota, he ran a very successful 4-3 defense. While new coaches customarily change defenses regardless of player talent, Tomlin won a Super Bowl in large part by keeping The Steelers 3-4 defense under Dick Lebeau in tact.
[7] Shanahan’s legacy and “genius” is largely based on two Super Bowl Championships with John Elway and Terrell Davis – not the other 16 years that produced only one single playoff victory and artificially inflated regular season win totals due to the Mile High altitude. Shanahan’s away record while with Denver was under .500.
[8]Andy Reid – who has publically supported McNabb – was his only head coach in Philadelphia, so past head coaches are not scattered all around the league to rehire him.  

T.O………….Your Life is Calling You!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

By LeRoy McConnell III

Hey T.O. it’s me, your Conscience!  The Ghost of T.O. past, present, and future awaits us!  Terrell, someone asked how you were doing these days and you politely told them, “I’m in hell.”  Now how could that be?  You are T freaking O! 
Shall we stroll down memory lane?  We beat the odds getting to the NFL in the first place!  We were able to observe the legendary work ethic from the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, Jerry Rice.  We lasted 15 seasons, been one of the top receivers in the game for over a decade, and our career numbers will hold up against any receiver that has ever played in this league.  Where did we go wrong?  Why are we in such turmoil? 
_*The Ghost of T.O. Past*_
Let’s be quite frank Terrell; we $H*T on a lot of folks to get to this “hell” we find ourselves in.  Yes we did!  WE REALLY DID!  Since our memory is short, let us reflect on the past that may have led to our misery.  Remember when we, (I mean *you*) did all of those wonderful things to people!
Jerry Rice’s last home game as a 49er; you caught what was then an NFL record 20 receptions while Rice was on the field.  That was really the beginning of T.O. (me, me, me!).  Out with the old, in with the new, right?
How about Jeff Garcia?  You implied that he was gay in an interview!  Goodness, there was nothing I could do to stop you from opening your mouth that day.  Twenty-four hours later, you typically denied ever saying it.
Standing on the STAR in Dallas!  I was telling you “NO, NO, NO”!  You did it anyway. Genius move!  I just wish I had gotten credit for that one.  When you did it a second time I could only shake my head, but it was still genius!
When you played with Donovan McNabb (then quarterback of the Philadelphia  Eagles), he had his best years as a quarterback when he was throwing you the ball on every down.  But you defecated on him by announcing to the world that he was tired and had poor conditioning during the Superbowl.  Your criticism of Donovan ended what could have been a dynamic duo.
The Dallas Cowboys, you remember them?  It seemed to be a perfect match even though the “Glorified Gym Teacher” (Bill Parcells) used to call you “The Player” instead of your real name or nickname.  (Now that’s funny)!  I truly believe you enjoyed playing with Romo.  You even shed a tear for him when he was accused of letting Jessica Simpson wreck the team!  That all changed in the last year of your contract when you decided to rip Romo because he was secretly designing plays and allegedly holding private meetings with Jason Witten.  But Terrell, you were still the man in Dallas.  You were getting your usual share of the ball despite leading the league in drops.  Why mess with what was working?  As in years past, our antics were no longer cute and we, I mean you, were no longer pursued by elite teams.  You were only getting one year deals from Buffalo and Cincinnati.   

_*The Ghost of T.O. Present*_

Why are we “in hell”?  It has been a difficult year.  For the first time in 15 years we didn’t lace ’em up for any team in the NFL, because of an ACL tear in our knee.  What made matters worse was the fact that our injury happened right before a lockout year.   

We held a televised mini combine in October.  Not one NFL team showed up for our workout.  Let’s stay positive.  When they see the footage, word will get out that we are as healthy as ever.  Soon the phone will begin to ring.  All we have to do is be patient.

The Ghost of Present has to intervene.  Terrell, at age 38 and coming off major knee surgery, we are still a top 20 NFL receiver.   Why didn’t we get a call?  Has father time set in finally?  Is this the time NFL teams are going for a youth movement?  We can still play this game, can’t we?  T.O., is it possible that we are beingblack-balled” by the league now?  I wonder if Barry Bonds has the same questions about baseball.  Has the way we treated people our whole career finally caught up with us?  I think we really left a bad taste in all of our employers’ mouths.  The NFL world revels in the fact that we have been unemployed for so long (until recently) and that our reality T.V. show has failed.  

“In hell” as you say?  Is it because we are foolishly wasting our fortune?  The media is dragging our good name in whale dung by helping these gold-digging females who demand $44,000 a month in child support…. $44,000 a month………Are you kidding me?!?!?!  Yeah, I guess you are right, we are “in hell”!  Did we learn anything by spreading our seed all over this country?  I guess one part of our body was HARD-headed!  A true friend would have advised us to get a vasectomy!  A vasectomy would have kept a lot of money in our pockets.  Paying for all these unwanted kids with these devouring lottery ticket holders who we don’t want any relationship with was stupid!  FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU!  FOOL ME THREE TIMES, SHAME ON ME!

Why are we “in hell”?  Eighty million dollars not accounted for!  Bad investments, giving to four different charities every month (baby mamas).  I thought we had trustworthy people watching over our money!  Why weren’t we more careful about our money?  Should we have buried wads of cash in our backyard?  How many stories do we hear about dumb ass athletes who become broke five years after their career is over?  It could not possibly happen to us.  We are T freaking O right?!  

 _*The Ghost of T.O. Future.*_

We are “in hell”.  I don’t like the sound of that; it’s easy for us to give up.  We have tried twice to put an end to us in the past (despite my publicist saying we had “25 million reasons to live”).  Thank the Lord he did not take us.  Let’s look at the positives:  We bought into an arena team called the Allen Wranglers.  Our game plan was to get our legs back.  There would be game film for the NFL to see that we are ready for the upcoming season.  When the phone rings, our next employer will see how our attitude has changed.  We will be contrite, and be thankful for any opportunity that awaits us.  Seattle, HERE WE COME!!! 

There is life after football Terrell.  Believe it or not we are close to the end and even though we haven’t prepared ourselves very well, there is a bright future ahead of us.  First off, we are good looking with a million dollar smile.  We will always find a way to make money.  There will be modeling and acting opportunities.  We can host our own radio or television show.  Heck if Keyshawn Johnson, Michael Irvin, or even Chris Carter can be an NFL analyst, I am sure we can. 

The most important thing is to keep our faith.  We have a lot of living to do.  We are accountable for four children that need us and as ridiculous as the child support payments are, I’m pretty sure payments will go down once we are out of the league for good.  No more pointing fingers, we are the decision maker so let us make better choices.

Football has opened up plenty of doors for us so let’s walk through them and seize new opportunities.  Remember our motto, “I Love Me Some Me”!  
So “get your popcorn ready”!
LeRoy McConnell III of “A Fan’s Point of View”, for War Room Sports

Black Protectionism Part 1 & 2

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

If Kevin Kolb is Traded, Vince Young Makes Sense as Vick’s Backup

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

By Nairann Merceir

As a die-hard Eagles fan, I would love to see nothing more than Kevin Kolb traded once the lock-out is officially lifted, to the Arizona Cardinals for Rodgers-Cromartie (immediate upgrade at right corner) and a second round pick.  However, once Kolb is traded, that leaves the Eagles with a huge void at back-up QB, leaving only second year man Mike Kafka as Michael Vick’s primary back-up.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable with Mike Kafka having to start two to three games.  Hence the reason the Eagles must seek out a veteran back-up to Vick.  I’ve heard rumors of Brett Farve, Mark Bulger, etc. coming to Philly but I want Vince Young, and here is my argument now.

First, the offense that Andy Reid and the Eagles have installed for Vick fits the skill set of Vince Young.  Plus we know Andy has a proven track record of developing QBs who were labeled as underachieving passers, such as McNabb and Vick, so why couldn’t he do the same for Young?  Now let’s look at Vince Young the player.  Last season, Young appeared in 9 games (8 starts), and had the 4th best third down passer rating in the league, only trailing Brady, Roethlisberger, and Kitna.  At times in his short career, he has done pretty well, he’s had several come from behind victories, and he’s been effective in the short and long passing game.  According to NFL Films, last season Vince was the most accurate passer of balls that were thrown in the air beyond 35 yards and we know how that plays into Desean Jackson’s game.

Looking at Young’s first 4 seasons in the NFL, 2006 through 2009, he has amassed a regular season record of 26-13 as a starter.  That’s a .67 winning percentage for you math guys.  He’s lead 11 come from behind victories in his career, including 9 come from behind or tied performances in 2009.  That season, he started the final 10 games and led the Titans to an 8-2 record after they began season 0-6.  So the leadership skills are there.  He also made the Pro Bowl that season but we know that’s a bogus award/recognition.  

His career numbers through the first 5 years of his career are: 54 games played, 8,098 yards passing, 42 tds and 42 ints, with a 57.9 percent completion rate, 264 rushes for 1,380 yds and 12 tds.  If you compared that to Vick’s first 5 seasons, Mike played 58 games, threw for 9,031 yards, 51 tds and 39 ints, with a 52 percent completion rate.  There’s no need to even add rushing numbers, as they are not even comparable. However, as a passer, Vince Young is on par with Michael Vick through the first 5 years of their respective careers, with Vince actually being a more accurate passer.  So there is definitely something for the Eagles to develop here, and let’s not forget this guy was a top 3 talent when he came out of Texas in 2006.  If anyone has a better option out there to back up Michael Vick for this Eagles season, who may be called upon to start two to three weeks in case Vick goes down, I would love to hear it.

Nairann Merceir, Philly Sports Correspondent, for War Room Sports

Donovan McNabb Hits Mark with Anti-Twitter Rant

Monday, June 27th, 2011

By Roy Burton

Former Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb is like that crazy ex-girlfriend who’ll never go away.

He’s like the kid who interrupts the spades game at the family reunion just to tell you that he made honor roll in the third marking period.

But during his latest plea for attention last week – a week in which he worked out with the Philadelphia Eagles and appeared in a video telling his doubters that he’ll no longer throw bounce passes like Bob Cousy – McNabb actually had a moment of clarity. 

On Thursday, McNabb appeared on ESPN Chicago’s “Waddle and Silvy” radio show and offered the following:  “First of all, I’m not a fan of tweeting; I’m not a fan of Twitter.  Nothing against their program or what they have, but as an athlete I think you need to get off of Twitter.”

In response to players who criticize their fellow athletes on the social networking site, McNabb said:  “I don’t believe that that’s the right deal… So I think for an athlete to be twittering is the wrong move. It’s one that leads to the fans and let them comment on certain things, but athletes need to get off Twitter.”

He’s absolutely right.

For most athletes, Twitter is a no-win situation.

Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Chris Douglas-Roberts (@cdouglasroberts) gains nothing by telling his followers about the linen shorts that he wears while relaxing on the Cayman Islands (shorts that happen to be embroidered with the self-granted nickname “Flyonel Ritchie”).  Sixers’ center Marreese Speights won’t gain any fans with his jokes about overweight women who frequent IHOP, nor with his repeated pleas of “Free Lil’ Boosie.”

No one will deny that the service gives athletes an unprecedented way to reach out to their fans.  Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) is only a laptop or a cell phone away from connecting with his 770,000-plus followers, whether it is to ask them for advice, or to promote one of his off-court initiatives.

The flip side is that Twitter also allows fans to communicate directly with their favorite (or not-so-favorite) players like never before.  Previously, if someone wanted to rip an athlete, they would have to either call their local sports talk radio station, scream unpleasantries from their seat at the game, or sit down and compose a letter which wouldn’t likely be read.

Now, fans can tag their player of choice and fire off 140 characters of vitriol, a rant almost guaranteed to be viewed by its intended target the next time he (or she) logs into the social networking site.

New York Mets’ catcher Josh Thole (@josh_thole) shut down his Twitter account in May (calling it a “lose-lose situation”) after he was hammered with criticism during a hitting slump.  Sixers’ swingman Andre Iguodala closed his account (@AI9) early last season – either he didn’t see the value in having it, or he wasn’t able to withstand the heat from Sixers’ fans that undoubtedly ripped him during the team’s 3-13 start.

It’s not all one-sided, however.  Athletes have been known to start the fire themselves. The NFL lockout probably saved Steelers’ RB Rashard Mendenhall (@R_Mendenhall) from a suspension after his Osama bin Laden-related Twitter screed.  LeBron James (@KingJames) caught heat for his infamous “Karma is a b****” tweet, and then was utterly destroyed after posting “Now or Never” prior to Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and then going out and scoring as many points that night as J.J. Barea.

For those in the public eye, social media can potentially be very dangerous, as former House Rep. Anthony Weiner (@RepWeiner) can personally attest to. But when understood and used correctly, it can also be a perfect way to engage with tens of thousands of people easily and effectively. In the sports world, however, we’ve seen far too many cases where athletes would have been better off if there was some sort of filter between them and their followers.

So while it may pain some Eagles fans to agree with him, McNabb is probably right.  Unfortunately, the majority of players will likely dismiss his advice and continue posting as they always have.  Hopefully, unlike former Rep. Weiner, they don’t get caught with their pants down.

Roy Burton of The Broad Street Line, for War Room Sports