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No, Donovan McNabb Should Not Have His Number Retired

May 16, 2013, 9:40 AM EDT


Most of us were happy if not downright enthusiastic about the news Donovan McNabb would officially retire a member of the Philadelphia Eagles in September. There are a few Angelo Cataldi types out there who still believe the greatest quarterback in franchise history should be booed some more, but thankfully they seem to be part of a very small minority.

A ceremony honoring McNabb’s career is completely appropriate not to mention well-deserved, and I’m sorry if you don’t think so, but the record supports this stance. The Birds made eight playoff appearances during Donovan’s 11 seasons in Philly, including five trips to NFC Championship games plus a Super Bowl. He went to six Pro Bowls and owns virtually all of the club’s meaningful passing records.

Even if you don’t feel this way right now, one day you should look back on it as a fun era.

There is another side to every coin though, and in McNabb’s case it’s the attempt by some to build him into more than he was. The announcement of this particular retirement sparked two discussions. The first – Hall of Fame candidacy – is one that has been debated ad nauseum, and while Donovan merits a certain amount of consideration, I personally do not feel he stacks up to his peers.

The second argument is actually a bit more complicated: whether or not McNabb’s number should be retired. I mean, he is the best QB the Birds have ever had, right?

Well unfortunately you can’t just retire a number in the NFL every time you have a new best whatever. 53 players are on an active roster. It’s not a distinction the organization can hand out to just anybody.

Not to say McNabb was “just anybody.” He is the best quarterback in Eagles history. But then none of the previous best quarterbacks in Eagles history have had their numbers retired, either. And while none of the signal callers from the modern era presided over the success McNabb did, it’s not like he completely outclasses either Ron Jaworski or Randall Cunningham from a pure statistical standpoint.

McNabb is a special case in Philly sports, but not special enough to warrant the No. 5 never appearing in a game again. In case you need more evidence, here’s a closer look at the numbers the Eagles put away forever.

15 – Steve Van Buren

Hall of Famer. Retired as NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards (5,860) and rushing touchdowns (69) in 1952 after eight professional seasons. Carried the Eagles to back-to-back championships in ‘48 and ‘49.

20 – Brian Dawkins

No introduction required around these parts. Only safety in history to record 30 interceptions (37), 30 forced fumbles (37), and 20 sacks (26). Member of NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Bleeds green.

40 – Tom Brookshier

Key member of 1960 championship team. Missed two seasons (1954-55) while serving in United States Air Force. Two-time Pro-Bowl cornerback whose career was further cut short by a compound leg fracture in ’61.

44 – Pete Retzlaff

Key member of 1960 championship team. Five-time Pro Bowler who helped redefine the tight end position. Retired with franchise records in receptions (452) and receiving yards (7,412). 1965 Bert Bell Award winner for player of the year.

60 – Chuck Bednarik

Hall of Famer. Member of NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. One of pro football’s last two-way players – linebacker and center. Only Eagle to win championships in two separate decades (1948 and ’60). Legend has it he is made of concrete.

70 – Al Wistert

Captain of the 1948-49 championship teams. All-Pro offensive and defensive tackle.

92 – Reggie White

Hall of Famer. Retired as NFL’s all-time leader in sacks (198). Remains the Eagles’ franchise leader in sacks (124). Two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Greatest defensive lineman in pro football history. Etc.

99 – Jerome Brown

Tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 27. Two-time All-Pro. Voted a member of the Eagles 75th Anniversary Team. A great life and career cut far too short.

So let’s recap. Every player on this list has either been an integral part of a championship team, is one of the greatest players in NFL history (statistically or otherwise), possibly had their career cut short for one reason or another – and typically it’s some mixture of the three.

Which of those does Donovan fit into?

Even if McNabb were to one day be inducted into the Hall, not every Eagle in Canton has had their number retired. It’s not a prerequisite or anything like that.

Simply put, the No. 5 is not immortal in Philadelphia. It has nothing to do with popularity, statistics, championships, or even whether or not the man who wore it will ever go to Canton. Actually, it’s all of the above. McNabb may be one of the greatest Eagles of all time without question, but his career – exceptional though it was – simply does not meet the unofficial criteria for this particular honor.

  1. CA Pete - May 16, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Yes, it was a fun era. But also remember that the first half of McNabb’s Eagles career had an NFC East that was just awful. The Cowboys, Giants and Redskins were downright pitiful and that gave the Eagles a LOT of regular season wins to get a bye in the post-season.

  2. Legendary - May 16, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Best QB in team history. Went to 5 NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. By far a reason to retire his number.

    • erzug - May 16, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      Way too many air to ground missiles for my liking and the inability to hit receivers in stride during crossing patterns was a major weakness.

  3. StJames888 - May 16, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    if McNabb won a Superbowl it would be a no brainer, I think its too soon to discuss retiring number 5. the Eagles however seem to reserve certain numbers that nobody else will wear ex: 12, for Randall Cunningham etc. if McNabb wants to have a retirement ceremony to honor the Eagles fine by me. however Canton and number 5 being retired seem a real long way off…

  4. Joe - May 16, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I was on the fence about this one because I was looking at his career numbers. On one hand, having your number retired is an individual accolade. I think his numbers were very good. On the other hand, football is a team sport and a Super Bowl victory was never achieved. The honor of having your number retired should be reflective of winning the big game. As the field general, he did not deliver. So I’m gonna say retiring the number this soon is premature. Maybe 15 years from now, and the eagles still not winning a Super Bowl, I’d reconsider.

  5. Spongeworthy - May 16, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Of course, he deserves to have his number retired. When viewed from a strict football perspective there is little to argue against. From a personality perspective, I found him irritating and I also hold him accountable for the teams inability to win a championship when they had so many good opportunities. Certainly not solely responsible but responsible. I am sure he also feels the disappointment as well. None of that makes him a bad person. I will stand and applaude, politely, though maybe not exhuberantly.

  6. Kevin - May 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    McNabb is a top five eagle of all time. Retiring a number has nothing to do with stats or championships, but rather career success with a team and in the Super Bowl era(the only era that really counts) that period was the best eagles football ever and he was the best player on that team.

  7. timr - May 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    If the Patriots don’t cheat, the Birds win that Superbowl and McNabb’s legacy is secure. Let’s not forget that. The guy’s number should absolutely be retired.

    • Joe - May 16, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      The patriots cheating scandal still didn’t cause that final drive to fail. Throwing the ball at people’s feet in clutch situations, did lead to failure. The ants and worms at the Linc were super happy when McNabb left. They didn’t have to play dodgeball anymore.

      • Frank StJohn - May 16, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        McNabb throwing up on the Super Bowl, literally as well as figuratively, was bad enough, now he has the balls to want to retire as a member of the team he humiliated in front of the world AND have his number retired?

  8. Carmen - May 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I think hack writers in philadelphia should nt get paid after all what do most of them warrant payment ?

  9. Dave - May 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I know Chuck Bednarik personally, he goes to my church and he is a very tough, gritty old football type. As with all line guys in his day, he played both sides of the ball. I talked football with him every once in a while and he would tell me about how the guys today are pansies and would not stand a second in the game in his day. He’s a very dominant personality and a cool old guy.

    • erzug - May 16, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      That he is. Playing both center and MLB meant he was at least somewhat involved in every play.

  10. thekrisheim - May 16, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    lurie loves reid, reid and lurie love mcnabb, hence his number will be retired

  11. David Breslin - May 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    McNabb is one of the best eagles of all time and retiring 5 is a no-brainer in my opinion. When you talk about McNabb, you can simple say ’5′ and everyone knows who you are talking about. He was the best QB this team has had, and was their leader for the greatest teams the Eagles have had in the super bowl era. From 1999 to 2009 he was 4th in win percentage behind: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Ben Rothlisberger, all of which are headed to the Hall and are getting their numbers retired. This city has slighted McNabb since draft day and it is really a shame.

    I don’t think the Eagles will retire 5, but I do think its a mistake not to.

    • erzug - May 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      The other QB’s all have at least one Vince Lombardy Trophy. McNabb doesn’t. If he wasn’t throwing the ball straight into the ground, or tossing up jump balls, or throwing behind receivers or at their feet, he was fine. When he decided not to use his legs as weapons, he became average IMO. His ability to run with the ball was what set him apart from the other QB’s ahead of him. A pure drop-back QB he wasn’t. His inability to get the ball out quickly more often than not, along with his penchant for not throwing into coverage (for fear that his INT percentage would increase?) do not make him a hall of famer.

      Regarding Eagles quarterbacks, saying he was the best of the lot isn’t really saying much. Other than the late Norm Van Brocklyn and Tommy Thompson (1948-50), who else qualifies as a great quarterback for the team?

  12. Pete - May 16, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    I am fine if they retire # 5 in a few years.It is too early to even think of retiring Donovan’s number.He has the best numbers of any Eagles QB ever.In time they will retire his number but not right now.

    • nyphilsphan - May 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      The only real question here is should another QB be allowed to wear #5 in the history of the team. If your answer to that question is “yes”, you’re just wrong. Sorry.

  13. kramer - May 16, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Not worthy of retiring his number, not a hall of famer. Good career though.

  14. willh888 - May 16, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    first QB in history to throw over 30 td and under 10 int in a season. I think he did a pretty good job considering what he had to work with in the non-TO years. But one really good season and a successful run doesn’t get you in the HOF. Guys with his career stats don’t usually make the HOF unless they win one or more lombardi’s. What’s sad is slackjaw will make it in for throwing really good jump balls when it mattered.

    Definitely retire his number for being the best QB in franchise history.. but HOF is a stretch by this point at such a loaded position. Although Jim Kelly made it in, and his stats are virtually identical to Donovan’s, except McNabb ran for about 2,500 more yards. Whether you hate him or not, it’s a tough to be sure either way

  15. willh888 - May 16, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Jim Kelly

    100-59, 237 TD, 175 INT, 60 % comp, 35,467 yards, 84.4 rating

    Donovan McNabb

    98-62-1, 234 TD, 117 INT, 59% comp, 37,267 yards, 85.6 rating

    What makes the one guy a Hall of Famer?

    • Andrew Kulp - May 16, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      For starters, the era. When considering a player for the Hall of Fame, he’s compared to peers from his own generation, not somebody who played 20 years ago. McNabb is going to face a lot more competition, from Brett Favre whose career overlapped his, to Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Kurt Warner who bested him, to the ascending passers at the end of his career like Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers who will soon surpass him statistically and already have their rings. If McNabb ever were to get elected for the Hall, I believe it would have to be way down the road.

      But if you really want to draw a direct comparison to Kelly, we’re still missing a few key points. Super Bowls are better than conference title games for one thing. Kelly also played two years and stacked up numbers (nearly 10,000 yards) in the USFL — it’s the “Pro Football” Hall of Fame. Plus you can’t overlook that Kelly helped put the no-huddle offense on the map, thus changing the game. Finally, at the time when Kelly surpassed 30,000 yards, only three quarterbacks had done it faster, so again time period comes into play. It’s really not very close between he and McNabb. With USFL numbers, Kelly did far more than Donovan, got further in the postseason more often, played a small part in revolutionizing the sport where as McNabb did not, and he did it in a different era when the numbers were far more impressive.

      • willh888 - May 16, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        McNabb is to Brady and Manning what Kelly is to Montana and Marino. If QB’s are judged by their era, does Kelly really compare to those two? Troy Aikman’s will probably go down in history as one of the greats. 81 passer rating, 165 td’s 141 int’s in 12 seasons? I’m just saying perception has a lot to do with it.

        Interesting note about Jim Kelly’s post season success

        9-7, 59% comp, 21 TD, 28 INT, 72.3 rating


        9-7, 59% comp, 24 TD, 17 INT 80.0 rating

        obviously it’s a purely statistical outlook, but did Jim Kelly lead a bunch of playoff comebacks? One. I don’t deny the era was a little different, but we’re not talking about leather helmets or anything. Were the first down markers farther? Was hitting receivers virtually illegal like it is now? The prime of their careers are probably separated by about 11 years.. that’s not all that much. Not to mention Donovan’s running ability. Not only does Donovan have similar passing numbers, but he did it as a running QB for a good part of his career.

      • nyphilsphan - May 16, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        I’ll agree on the HoF: it’s a long shot. McNabb did posses a few tricks up his sleeve that make him a more interesting player than most QBs of his era though. For one, his early career rushing ability was, at times, incredible to watch- dragging linebackers around and getting a first down. His ability to shrug off sacks from 300 pound linemen (again, pre-knee injury Donovan), was a marvel. His movement outside the pocket and ability to throw on the run (albeit, behind one of the best offensive lines in the past 20 years), were also quite a spectacle. But those things don’t translate to Hall of Fame votes, and I’m not arguing they should. You know what else doesn’t translate to HoF votes? Throwing the ball to Todd Pinkston, James Thrash, Freddie Mitchell, Torrance Small, Na Brown, Reggie Brown, LJ Smith, et, al. He did more with less than ANY QBs on that list above. But again, doesn’t count for anything.

        And, of course we all remember that lost MVP season as he torqued his knee running out of bounds in Tennessee. He was at the peak of his career, the team had the look of a champion. A cleat caught the ground in the wrong place and it was over. In retrospect, the window kinda closed on the Reid era in that moment. And I’ll have that image burned into my brain for the rest of my life. If that didn’t happen, I don’t think we’d be having this conversation at all.

        But to argue he doesn’t deserve to have his jersey retired by this organization? It sure gets a lot of readers out and commenters out to weigh-in. But I can’t believe you really truly believe what you just wrote up there. He may not have been THE MAN the city wanted him to be, but he was the best player the franchise had on the offensive side of the ball in the past 20 years. Honestly, I think it’s embarrassing to even have this conversation.

      • Andrew Kulp - May 16, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        @ will.h

        But the Bills played in the Super Bowl four times, the Eagles once. Even if we disregard that though, there’s still the matter of Kelly’s USFL numbers and the K-gun offense (players that “change” the game are the recipients of a little extra bump in the process). As far as the different eras are concerned, cornerbacks could be more physical with receivers when the ball was in the air, the rules increasingly favor the offense so teams throw the ball more today, and completion percentages were generally lower and interception percentages higher than they are now. I’m not saying the game was completely different in 1994 then it was in 2004, but surely we can discern some difference and what impact it had on some of the numbers.

        @ nyphilsphan

        I respect the fact that you disagree, but I think I made several valid points why the number shouldn’t be retired that don’t deserve to be dismissed as simple trolling for page views. I always liked Donovan. There was a three- or four-year period where he was one of the top three quarterbacks in football. But I look at the players whose numbers this franchise has retired, then I look at the reasons, and No. 5 just does fit in my view, at least not today.

      • nyphilsphan - May 16, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        @willH (don’t like this new 888!)

        Perception, hindsight and bitterness seem to be driving this conversation, as you pointed out. You are right, The HoF isn’t as much of a numbers game as it is a game of perception. Unfortunately, as we both pointed out, a lot of the things DM was able to do on the field and with the caliber of players around him don’t translate to the hall and seem to be forgotten at this point.

        How many seasons did McNabb get to play with with one of best possession receivers of all time, 7-time pro-bowler Andre Reed? Hall of Famer James Lofton? Fellow HoFer Thurman Thomas ring a bell? Sure, Westbrook could have had a better career than Thomas if he was born with a bit more cartridge in his knees, but how many seasons did McNabb get to play with WRs of that caliber? 3? TO and DJax (in what hopefully was not-but seems to have been- his prime). Perception is meaningless without perspective. Lots of Eagles fans seem to have lost theirs in the past 2-3 years.

      • willh888 - May 16, 2013 at 6:29 PM

        nyphilsphan, wordpress apparently has a lot of will.h’s, Ignore the extra numbers though.. we still agree eh

        kulp, I can’t overlook Kelly’s k-gun just like you can’t overlook Donovan’s superior athleticism at a position not well known for it. It has to count for something. McNabb is one of four QB’s in history to pass for 30,000, throw 200 td’s and rush for over 20 td’s. Other three are Elway, Tarkenton and Young.. all three HOF’ers. The only guys during McNabbs era who were close in the rushing ranks were McNair, Vick and probably someone else who i’m forgetting.. but Donovan was certainly better than those guys. As the NFL continues to change, I’m sure you’ll see a lot more Griffin’s and Kaepernick’s.. kind of the McNabb mold.

      • Andrew Kulp - May 16, 2013 at 7:14 PM

        Interesting, Steve McNair was going to be my next example of a quarterback who never played with any great wide receiver talent, and how much better was McNabb than him really? Statistically he has an edge, but I would describe it as slight, and McNair played on teams with workhorse running backs most of his career, thus attempting around 800 fewer passes in his career. He easily could have put up McNabb numbers. Granted he didn’t have quite the same success, but then where does Jim Johnson and the Eagles D come into this equation?

        As for comparing McNabb’s athleticism to Kelly’s K-gun, McNabb didn’t change the game. Plenty of mobile quarterbacks came before him, including a pretty famous guy who played here. I mean, the stat you mentioned (30,000 pass yards, 300 pass TD, 20 run TD) says it right there — been there, done that.

      • willh888 - May 16, 2013 at 8:59 PM

        “been there, done that.”

        well yeah, only 4 times in 85 years

      • Andrew Kulp - May 16, 2013 at 9:33 PM

        Heh, I’m not saying it’s not impressive, I’m just pointing out he didn’t reinvent the game.

    • Joe - May 16, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      That’s a very valid point.

      • Ray - May 17, 2013 at 9:07 AM

        5 did change the game. Black QB’s were not allowed/given the chance/developed to run “intellectual” offenses. McNabb changed that stereotype.

  16. Fbc - May 16, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Kulp don’t you always cry about turnovers. Mcnabb was great at protecting the ball. McNair had 2 more int’s in 830 less attempts, and 60 less td’s. Mcnabb is not that much better McNair? Why cause of the qb rating some dork made up. Mcnabb was way better than McNair, that fact you think they are comparable makes me lose respect for your football knowledge. By the way how is King Dunlap doing?

    • Andrew Kulp - May 16, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      Steve McNair has the 17th lowest interception percentage in NFL history, so it’s not like he was some kind of turnover machine. It’s an important stat, but I never suggested we should base Hall of Fame voting on it. Sorry you lost respect for me, but in a poll of 24 (out of 44) Hall of Fame voters in 2009, seven thought McNair should get in, so I would say plenty of people who have been around the game for a long time think McNair would rank pretty closely to McNabb. Source:

      You’ll have to ask King Dunlap how King Dunlap is doing, but since he could earn up to $6 million in incentives with the Chargers over the next two years, I would imagine he is well.

      • nyphilsphan - May 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        The argument that McNair and McNabb are comparable is absurd. 60 less TDs is really the only thing you need to look at there. Saying they played in different offenses runs contra to your argument that the WR talent shouldn’t be taken into account. It’s two sides of the same coin.

        “Had he thrown more, he would have had the same numbers”

        is the same thing as saying

        “Had he thrown the same amount of balls to better guys he’d have better numbers.”

        Both are unknowns but with McNair you are tossing an extra layer of “what-if” in there. McNabb didn’t have the talent and DID throw the ball 830 more times and DID throw for 60 more TDs. McNabb NEVER had a workhorse RB, NEVER got team to bite on play action like McNair, NEVER had defenses preparing for him to throw the ball 40 times a game. I don’t think it’s even a reasonable comparison.

      • Andrew Kulp - May 17, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        That you would declare two players are not comparable based on one stat, to me, is the absurd part. McNair’s teams handed the ball off at the goal line, McNabb was asked to throw it, thus partially explaining the sizable difference in touchdown passes. I don’t understand how anybody could deny their careers mirrored each other in many ways. (Scroll toward the bottom of either one of their Pro Football Reference pages and right there it will list the other as one of the top “Players whose career was of similar quality and shape.”) I grant McNabb the edge based on several factors, but we’re talking about a guy who was league MVP. It’s not as if the two were not even close.

        Which takes us back to the earlier discussion about Jim Kelly. This isn’t how baseball was for many years, where if a player reached a certain milestone for hits or home runs or wins he was a guaranteed Hall of Famer. In football you can’t always make a pure statistical comparison. Those numbers serve to frame the discussion. Sure, McNabb’s numbers are comparable to Kelly’s, but to make the argument he deserves a bust because of that ignores what Kelly did in another pro league, his place in the sport’s history as an innovator, and the era during which he played. With respect to McNair, it’s impossible to ignore the difference in schemes. I wasn’t trying to argue wide receiver talent can’t be part of the discussion, I was saying here’s a guy with a similar career who also did not have great receivers, where one of the primary differences between the level of success the two achieved was Jim Johnson’s defense. What makes McNabb so much more worthy than McNair?

        And believe me, this is a discussion Hall of Fame voters WILL be having when McNabb is eligible. It doesn’t matter how McNabb compares to Jim Kelly. What matters is how he compares to McNair, because if you can present a reasonable case (fine if you ultimately disagree, but I think it’s reasonable) that McNabb’s career was not abundantly more meaningful to NFL history, then how are you going to place his career alongside that of Kurt Warner, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, etc. — his peers?

        I’m not saying the Eagles should re-issue Donovan’s number tomorrow. Maybe if 20 years down the road nobody has come along who at least challenges his accomplishments for this franchise I will feel differently about that. What I will likely never feel differently about is McNabb’s career was on the level of some of the great quarterbacks that played during his career, not when he could more closely be compared to the next tier of passers of his generation.

      • nyphilsphan - May 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        I’ll give you that they were similar types of players. My use of certain adjectives above were uncalled for and I intended to have a reasonable discussion here, but when it comes to McNabb I’m so used to being defensive that I guess I let my words get away from me.

        It’s just hard for me to objectively lump the two players together. Like I said, McNabb came up *JUST* short of greatness from 2003-2006. The picks in the Super Bowl and the aforementioned knee injury were pretty much the make or break factors for his HoF campaign, and it broke.

        But the hall of fame is one thing. Letting those two things lead us to consider another QB lining up behind center with a 5 on the back of his Jersey just isn’t right in my mind. It just shouldn’t be a consideration. And to punish him for not getting a ring and letting him sit in purgatory until he’s an old man coming out to wave at the fans before a game in 2035 is just silly. It’s inevitable that time will heal old wounds and the organization will retire his number. Why wait? It’s petty.

  17. Ted - May 16, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    I absolutely love Donovan and everything he meant to the team. But to have a number retired, you’ve got to win a title. When the Eagles finally get one, that QB will be the one whose number should be retired. But a ceremony and all that, absolutely. Best we’ve had and an Eagle forever.

    • willh888 - May 16, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      so the Sixers shouldn’t have retired Barkley’s number?

      You really don’t have to win a title. Barkley got eliminated by Jordan (few times). McNabb lost to one of the few dynasties in NFL history.

    • nyphilsphan - May 17, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      Good thing we didn’t retire B Dawk’s #…..

      • MrFab - Nov 12, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        @nyphilsphan This is the best comment on the board. Bdawk was supposedly the leader of the defense and they were dreadful in the postseason losses. As much blame as 5 gets for the offenses failures he should get for the defense.

      • MrFab - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        Or Reggie White and Jerome Brown…

  18. USClax34 - May 17, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    The problem is Jerome Brown. His number should NOT have been retired. He had great potential to be in the HOF but he acted recklessly and the Eagles rewarded him for it. Numbers shouldn’t be retired out of emotion. This happens in other cities, Bobby Phils for the Charlotte Hornets for example. Based on Brown’s actual achievements, I don’t think you have a choice but to retire McNabb’s number. I don’t think it should be, but the Eagles are stuck.

    • MrFabulous - May 17, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      I’ve been saying that for yrs……..All I ever hear about Jerome Brown is what a great leader he was….0-3 in postseason!!!! Funny thing…..Eagles actually won a playoff game the year after he died.

      Yes his death was tragic, yes he did have potential to be an all-time great but 4 seasons no postseason wins is not retire number worthy.

  19. Ray - May 17, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    5 led the franchise out of the dark period. Don’t forget that AR won 1 playoff game without 5 under center.

    Retiring a # is more than stats; it’s what you meant to a franchise. And we were relevant every year 5 was under center. Let’s also give the guy some credit for being a college graduate, never being on a police blotter and never being suspended for being a moron off the field.

    • Matt M - May 18, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      And McNabb fell off a cliff at a point where guys like Manning, Brady, Brees, Marino, Favre, Montana etc. all produced after Reid got rid of him. QBs can be productive into their mid to late 30′s. McNabb fell off well before that.

  20. eaglescouch - May 17, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    McNabb is a special part of Eagles history, and the best QB we’ve ever had, but his number does not deserve to be retired. Just didn’t get us over the hump.

  21. kevin - May 17, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    No his number should not be retired he never got the ring. Although a good quaterback he choked in the moment when it was time to rise! I agree he should be honored but his creditials are not strong enough for retiring his number

  22. Mark D. - May 17, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Amazing that Dawkins histrionics make him more worthy than #5. I think Dawkins was personally a better player, has a better HOF resume, and was the leader of the team. Let’s get that out the way, but that Dawkins led defense seemed to have just as many “failures to rise up” as McNabb did during our decade of “oh so close”

    But as Ray Ray has shown us, being a fiery orator and some dance moves will buy you a lot of clout. This isn’t a diss on Dawkins, but let’s get real. McNabb was just as successful during the same period. Retire one, retire both.

    • MrFabulous - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      McNabb gets a lot of blame for the Eagles failures but if you look at the numbers the defense led by BDawk also plays a huge part.

      These are Dawks numbers in the Eagles 5 NFC Championships and the Super Bowl

      6 games
      23 tackles
      1 int
      0 sacks
      0 tackles for loss
      0 forced fumbles
      0 fumble recoveries
      If Bdawk #20 is retired then so should MCNabb #5

  23. lahoe819 - May 17, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    I think he should have his number retired. Yea the dude didn’t win the big one, but the one year he got what he had been asking for his entire career, a top wideout, he challenged the best football team of the 2000s. He did so much for this team with so little. He was booed on draft day and really was always booed more for his failures than cheered for his accomplishments. Yes he could’ve (and should’ve) taken this team to a few higher highs, but he also pulled this team out of the dark ages. Guy did his absolute best and did it with a smile, which is very admirable with this sports media. Don’t retire it when he retires like they did with Dawk, but 10 years down the road I think it’s absolutely appropriate. Although I won’t lose sleep if it doesn’t happen, I just think he earned it.


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