During his 11 year career with the Philadelphia Eagles, quarterback Donovan McNabb threw for over 30,000 passing yards and 216 touchdowns. He led the team to five NFC Championship games and one Super bowl appearance.
For the average fan base that would be enough to deify most players for all time. But Philly sports fans are a notoriously difficult bunch to please. They want championships, and little else will satisfy them.
Maybe that’s why McNabb has such a complicated relationship with Eagles fans after all these years. On Fox Sports 1 this past weekend, McNabb issued a warning to the Eagles young quarterback Nick Foles: get ready for the boos:
“But for Nick Foles, he’s never truly been a guy where the focus is on him. In Philadelphia, the focus is on the quarterback. If he can’t do the same things he did in that first season, it’s gonna be tough…. Just be ready for the boos.”
That quote will of course going to go over splendidly in Philly.
So far Foles has proved wildly popular with Eagles fans. He has a clean cut image and is close with his family, and that’s helped his popularity but the real reason is his performance on the field; Foles had the highest passer rating in the NFL and broke the record for a single-season touchdown to interception ratio in 2013. When Michael Vick went down with a hip injury Foles filled in so well that all of the sudden the most athletic quarterback in NFL history was made redundant.
Eagles fans love Foles and McNabb may be playing into an old stereotype. Of course there definitely are some Philly sports fans who will down a fifth of Jim Beam before halftime, boo a helpless puppy and then jump a Giants fan in the parking lot after the game, but there are a whole lot more perfectly upstanding fans who would never do stuff like that.
Guys like Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy are usually given a pass for their shortcomings but Eagles fans have high standards for their quarterbacks. After so many years of coming close to the ultimate prize, they want a Super bowl win. That doesn’t make them unreasonable, does it?
In any case, I don’t think that Nick Foles has to be worried about being booed any time soon.
As long as he keeps winning.