Why Donovan McNabb Would Be Perfect for the Chicago Bears

Tom McCartneyCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2008

With each passing day in Philadelphia, the chance of Donovan McNabb being traded to the Chicago Bears seems less likely. 

Despite what some (and maybe most) fans think, Eagles management has expressed interest in having McNabb take the field for the Eagles for the 10th year in a row. This interest comes with great reasoning as well.

Looking at McNabb, there's not many current NFL quarterbacks with a better track record. 

In nine seasons with the Eagles (eight of which he's been the starter), McNabb has posted 171 career touchdown passes while only throwing 79 interceptions. Those 79 interceptions have come over 3,732 pass attempts, making McNabb the second-least intercepted quarterback in NFL history behind Neil O'Donnell. 

McNabb has managed to do this without a true playmaking receiver other than the short time he spent with Terrell Owens in 2004. Perhaps a more overlooked aspect of McNabb's game (especially in recent years) is his rushing threat.  McNabb has accumulated just less than 3,000 career rushing yards at a 6.0 rushing average with 24 touchdowns in the regular season. 

McNabb's numbers, including a 58.7 career completion percentage and 85.8 career passer rating, are borderline stellar for a quarterback possibly available for trade.

McNabb has the stats to turn heads and they haven't come with a lack of production. 

The Eagles have gone 88-56 (including a 5-11 1999 season in which rookie McNabb only started six games) with five NFC East Championships in the nine years that McNabb has worn green. 

These numbers are significantly better than the 75-68-1 record the Eagles held with no NFC East Championships in the nine seasons prior to McNabb being drafted. McNabb also led the Eagles to four straight NFC Championship games (2001-04) and one Super Bowl in 2004. 

While McNabb was unable to win Super Bowl XXXIX, no other Eagles quarterback has been able to accomplish the feat either.

So why would a man who has experienced so much success in one place ever want to move?  The answer is simple: Under-appreciation.

Since McNabb entered the NFL, he has experienced nothing but under-appreciation for his performances. 

Upon the Eagles drafting a bright and young McNabb with the second overall pick in 1999, Philadelphia fans booed the Syracuse graduate holding five Big East records due to the fact that they desired University of Texas running back, Ricky Williams. McNabb proved his draft critics wrong, however, clearly ending up as the better NFL player.

Perhaps the most skepticism McNabb receives is for his health. 

While McNabb is healthy more often than not, the general consensus is that McNabb is a perennial injured player in the NFL. However, since becoming the Eagles’ starter eight and a half years ago, McNabb has failed to start at least 14 games only three times in his career. 

His three injuries that prevented him from competing were not due to lack of toughness either. In 2002, McNabb suffered a broken ankle, yet returned to the game to beat the Cardinals. McNabb then sat out six weeks, only to come back and lead the Eagles to their second straight NFC Championship game. 

McNabb was sidelined again in 2005 by a sports hernia and 2006 by a torn ACL. All three of these injuries are considered serious for a player susceptible to hits by giant linemen and linebackers. 

What might be considered miraculous is the fact McNabb came back from his ACL injury several months earlier than expected, completing a successful 2007 campaign in which he boasted a 61.5 completion percentage and an 89.9 passer rating.  McNabb is truly misconstrued as an injury-prone player.

It is clear that McNabb needs a change of scenery, where he can avoid the criticism he's experienced over the last few seasons. What better place for McNabb to avoid scrutiny and receive appreciation than behind center for the Chicago Bears?

It's clear the Bears have a need for change at quarterback and not many players have a better résumé than Donovan McNabb. The Bears, considered a superior defensive team in the NFL, lack the offense to attain rings. McNabb is a proven winner and may indeed be enough to push the Bears past the edge.

In the Bears 2006 Super Bowl campaign, their stellar defense held the high-powered Colts’ offense to 29 points, but fell short of winning due to the measly one touchdown their dismal offense managed to put up. 

Their quarterback, Rex Grossman, managed just 165 yards and one touchdown pass. In Donovan McNabb's lone Super Bowl appearance, he threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns against an arguably better Patriots defense in the Super Bowl. 

Perhaps the Bears could have achieved immortality with McNabb at the helm in 2006.

Whichever way you dice it up, McNabb is a perfect fit in Chicago.  He is everything Rex Grossman is not. 

Grossman is still rather inexperienced, injured far more often than McNabb, experiences even more criticism than Donovan, and is notorious for turning the ball over. McNabb is a proven leader and minimizes risks when throwing the ball. McNabb has proven he can win and that is a necessity for Chicago.

While the chances are becoming slimmer and slimmer for McNabb going to Chicago as the offseason progresses, one can only assume that McNabb would fit like a glove there. 

Venturing away from the highly competitive NFC East and the pressure of Philadelphia would benefit McNabb tremendously. Could we see McNabb sporting navy blue and orange before we know it? 

For Donovan's sake, let's hope so. He undoubtedly deserves it.


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