By FRANK WARD
Really? Do we need another scene like above? Really, do we?
On NFL Live Tuesday night, former
stiff quarterback Trent Dilfer was pleading with Eagles fans to cheer McNabb. He pretty much put us on blast saying we complain about our reputation for our behavior, yet rarely do anything to correct it. He said he hoped we’d prove him wrong, but doubt we would.
I initially though Dilfer was being a dope and picking on an easy target. I thought he was being as lazy as a TJ Simers from the LA Times, who takes shots at us every time his paper flies him into our city.
I still think Dilfer is wrong. The right thing is to cheer McNabb during introductions — or at the start of the game if he is not introduced. Then, root against him the rest of the game. He’s not one of ours anymore, but you have to give the guy the respect due to a man who gave us 11 amazing seasons, including five NFC Championship Game appearances and a trip to only our second Super Bowl.
Will McNabb get the Brian Dawkins treatment? Look, he just didn’t connect with the fans the way BDawk did. To think he’ll be received like Dawk is wrong. Does that mean he deserves the T.O. treatment? Hell no. And, anyone who thinks he does needs to have their head examined.
Which brings me to exhibit A: Angelo Cataldi and his Nerdy 30. Yeah, the same idiots who booed McNabb are planning a walk to the Spectrum to boo McNabb upon his return. How many of those guys actually go to the game? Probably none. Cataldi will hightail it to his home to watch the game with his cats.
He’s not a Philly fan. He’s a Yankee fan-turned-shockjock wannabe trying to maintain his ratings. Yet, he’ll get the publicity his insecurity covets. The footage will be shown on national TV, and we’ll all look like idiots in the process.
That’s not how it needs to go down. McNabb didn’t connect with Philadelphia for whatever reason, but he did his best to deliver the most incredible era of Eagles football this city has ever seen. He was involved in the community, but chose not to seek attention for it.
I’ll flat out tell you the night before Thanksgiving in 2004, McNabb visited a hospital I worked at to meet with patients, take pictures and distribute incredible gift baskets he and his wife purchased on their own. He wanted no media. In fact, that was a condition of him visiting that night. I can’t help but imagine the countless other stories like that out there that went unreported.
Booing McNabb at the start on Sunday is a stupid thought. He didn’t win the Super Bowl. And, neither did 52 other guys that fateful February day. Yet, the rest of them are revered here.
Did we boo Allen Iverson when he came back with the Nuggets, or the Pistons? Did we boo AI when he resigned here last November? Hell, we acted like we won the NBA championship when AI kissed center court before an electric Wachovia Center last fall.
Sure, AI may have been a folk hero in Philly. Still, he’s a guy who made mistakes off the court and kept saying, “I’m a young guy who’s made mistakes and will continue to make them.” He’s a guy who got traded after skipping out on Fan Appreciation Night with Chris Webber.
McNabb never did us wrong like that.
For years I’ve heard, “the national media is stupid. We didn’t boo McNabb at the draft; we booed the pick.”
I’ve never understood that. Well, we have a chance to change that image. We have a chance to show Donovan we appreciated what he did for us. I have no doubt the majority of fans in the stadium will do the right thing.
To Cataldi and his Nerdy 30, carry out your little performance. But, don’t for a second call yourself a Philadelphia fan. Don’t wear Eagles garb. Wear WIP Radio hats because that’s the “team” you’re really saluting. Sellouts!