#5 Jersey…Wear It or Burn It?


Perhaps you just recently woke up from a coma, or you actually do live under a rock, or maybe you honestly don’t care about the situation, but if you didn’t hear, Donovan McNabb came back to play at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia yesterday as a member of the rival Washington Redskins. It’s hard to believe that any story will garner more media coverage than the epic return did. More analysts speculated on how the Philadelphia fans would welcome McNabb back than truly had a vested interest in the outcome. There was no doubt that D Mac would say the right things before and after the contest. Case in point, he thanked the fans for the standing ovation and he said he was only interested in getting a win. He could have thrown the organization and coaching staff under the bus from the time he was traded up till now, but he hasn’t.

Having said that, is it really ok for Eagles fans to wear their old McNabb jerseys? No one will give you grief if you attend a game in a litany of certain jerseys, the most popular ones being that of Reggie White, Ron Jaworski, and Brian Dawkins. However, it seems as though many fans catch extreme angst when they wear that of number five. Maybe it is because he never delivered the Lombardi Trophy, but neither did any of the others, remember the franchise has an amazing number of Super bowl victories, zero. It’s hard to truly understand the lack of a love affair that Philly never had with its all-pro quarterback if you don’t hail from the city. It’s been documented hundreds of times that the fans booed the quarterback from the start when the Eagles drafted him in the first round out of Syracuse. It was no secret that the city wanted Ricky Williams. Why? Because he was supposed to be the best player available, and as Eagles fans it is rare to get the opportunity to be in the position to cheer for a good pick, especially under Reid. Reggie Brown, Jerome McDougle, Freddie Mitchell, Matt McCoy, Sean Considine, Jeremy Bloom, King Dunlap ring a bell?

Perhaps the reasoning is a little deeper. McNabb is a polished, polite, and notoriously politically correct athlete that shies away from controversy. It always seems like he’s auditioning to be a television analyst when he finally hangs up the pads. That is all fine and dandy, except for Philadelphians. The characteristics that McNabb tries to embody are also the last words that a visitor to the Philadelphia area would use to describe a resident of the city. A Philadelphian is famously brash, impatient, obnoxious, and arrogant without any apologies for it. Remind you of anyone? Why do you think Allen Iverson was an icon in Philadelphia? He is exactly what the fans are, didn’t make any qualms about it, and people loved him for it. There are two ways to tug at the hearts of Philly fans, win or become an outward representation of the city. McNabb did neither. Is it fair that people burned his jersey in the parking lot before the game? No, probably not. Is it fair that people get booed when they wear his jersey? No, probably not. Do the fans care about fairness? Absolutely not!

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