Eagles Retiring Donovan McNabb’s #5

Donovan McNabb will be the last Philadelphia Eagle to ever wear #5.

Donovan McNabb will be the last Philadelphia Eagle to ever wear #5.

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb retired officially as an Eagle on Monday. He tweeted before the retirement ceremony, “Officially retiring as a Philadelphia Eagle today. Unbelievable feeling. Dreams do come true.” Well, McNabb will have another chance to relive those glory days in Philadelphia when the Eagles retire his #5 jersey at halftime of their September 19th game against the Kansas City Chiefs (which will also mark the return of former Eagles coach Andy Reid).

A standout quarterback at Syracuse University, McNabb was selected by Philadelphia with the 2nd overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. And in true Philadelphia sports fashion, Eagles fans heavily booed McNabb at the Draft because Eagles fans wanted the team to draft running back Ricky Williams. Over the next 11 seasons, McNabb would lead the Eagles to unprecedented heights.

During his tenure as quarterback, McNabb led Philadelphia to eight playoff appearances, 5 NFC East division titles, and the 2004 NFC Championship. He holds several Eagles records, including most wins (101, including playoffs), attempts (4,746), completions (2,801), yards (32,873) and touchdowns (216). He also rushed for 3,249 yards and 32 touchdowns for Philadelphia. He was named to 6 Pro Bowls.

But for all the great stats, some Eagles fans (or bitter ex-Eagles fans writing this article) still remember McNabb’s shortcomings. He reached the NFC Championship Game three times from 2001-03, failing to win any of those three. He also displayed poor game management in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots. McNabb was ill that game, and even vomited on the field during the Eagles’ final drive, which ended with a McNabb interception to Patriots’ safety Rodney Harrison.

Still, McNabb is one of the greatest quarterbacks to grace the field in Philadelphia, if not the greatest. He was the face of the Eagles franchise throughout the 2000s, and was regarded as one of the best passers in the NFL. After the 2009 season, McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins for a draft pick, and started 13 games. He started and played six games for the lowly Minnesota Vikings in 2011.

“Donovan McNabb was a franchise-changing quarterback for the Eagles and helped raise the bar of success for this franchise during his 11-year tenure with the team,” said owner Jeffrey Lurie. “The number ‘5’ has become synonymous with one of the greatest eras of Eagles football, and ensuring that no one else will ever wear Donovan’s number, we honor one of the greatest playmakers to ever wear an Eagles uniform.”

Still, McNabb turned the boos and criticism of Eagles fans at the ’99 Draft into a highly successful 13-year NFL career. He was largely responsible for the Eagles’ tremendous success and NFC East “dynasty” of the early 2000s. A skilled playmaker like Donovan McNabb deserves to be honored, and the Eagles are right to retire his #5.

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