November 18, 2008

McNabb Should Review the Rulebook

Print More

Are you ignorant, Donovan McNabb, or do you just like to propagate the stereotype that all football players are walking, talking meatheads? Why give more ammo to those who believe professional athletes were the kids who tried to fit the square block into the triangle hole back in preschool?
Following a 13-13 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals, McNabb explained to the media at Paul Brown Stadium that he was unaware an NFL game could end in a tie. Here is what a confused Mr. McNabb had to offer:
“I didn’t know that,” said McNabb. “I’ve never been part of a tie. I never even knew it was in the rule book. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But unfortunately with the rules, we settled with a tie.”
Not exactly Mensa material. Indeed, a somewhat shocking lack of knowledge for a graduate of nearby Syracuse University and a man who presently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Orangemen. Reading the quote is only half of the fun, but watching McNabb say it with a straight face is priceless.
The “never been part of a tie” part I can buy, but not knowing the game was going to end in a tie if neither team scored in the overtime period is absurd. Someone get this man a rulebook. Better yet, perhaps the team captain can purchase 52 copies for all of his teammates with the $115 million he made off of his recent contract. Unfortunately, Mr. McNabb has Jed Clampett’s money, but Jed Clampett’s brains to match. Though most of the raucous, Super Bowl-starved fans in the City of Brotherly Love will be quick to jettison McNabb (and quite possibly head coach Andy Reid if their season does not turn around), I have always been a supporter of Mr. Chunky Soup.
Despite his brief, yet humorous mental lapse in the press conference, McNabb has put up some decent numbers in 2008. The second overall pick of the 1999 Draft ranks fourth in the NFL with 2,711 passing yards, fifth with 227 completions and tenth with 14 touchdowns through the air. I can recall countless times watching my pre-Super Bowl champion Giants failing to bring down the elusive McNabb during a stretch of head-to-head battles from 2001-2003 when the Eagles played in three consecutive NFC Championship games.
I even applauded the way in which McNabb intelligently and professionally handled the Terrell Owens distractions, but there is no explanation for his recent miscue. I know, and you know, that if Eli Manning had been behind the podium Sunday telling the press he was unaware the game could end in a tie, the reaction would be quite different. The media would be double-checking everything from his degree at Ole Miss to DNA tests revealing whether or not he was actually related to Peyton and Archie. Winning the Super Bowl is not the same as achieving a perfect score on your SATs. At least Eli has accomplished one of the two. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about McNabb.
Don’t believe McNabb when he claims he never knew an NFL game could end in a tie. My interpretation is that McNabb never knew his Philadelphia Eagles could play poorly enough to tie the lowly 1-8-1 Cincinnati “Bungles.” McNabb attempted to explain his misconception.
“In college, there are multiple overtimes, and in high school and Pop Warner,” he said. “I never knew in the professional ranks it would end that way.”
Something tells me that Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Harvard graduate, understood it is only postseason contests that cannot end in a tie. Also, if I was an Eagles fan (fortunately I am not), what am I supposed to take from McNabb’s explanation? Oh, it’s alright because Donovan was saving himself for the second overtime? I know the best is yet to come, but you are playing the Cincinnati Bengals — a beat-up, losing squad against which it is near impossible not to play your best football.
Since the NFL went to the sudden death, 15-minute overtime format in 1974, ties have been registered on 17 occasions. The two teams that share the NFL record for participating in four tied games each are the Green Bay Packers and the Eagles … but don’t tell that to Donovan McNabb.