In the 1999 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb with the second-overall pick.
We are just days away from first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Mock drafts are flooding the internet as everyone is trying to guess which player lands where. With the draft being in Philadelphia this year, let’s take it a look back to 1999 when the Eagles had the second-overall pick and chose Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Every football fan’s aware of the love-hate relationship between McNabb and Philly sports fans. When his name was originally called, many had doubts. The Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Tim Couch with the first pick. Eagles fans, then, perked up as they expected to hear Ricky Williams’ name called next. Instead, the Eagles went with a quarterback. What happened next has been talked about ever since.
The beginning of a successful era…
When former Eagles head coach Andy Reid took over the team in 1999, his first order of business was finding his franchise quarterback. McNabb got his opportunity early. In week ten, he won the starting position over former Eagles quarterback and current head coach Doug Pederson. He’d conclude his initial season with 948 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions. While McNabb showed some potential in his first season, his second is what turned Eagles fans into believers.
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In the 2000-01 season, McNabb lead the Eagles to a 10-6 season. Their record earned them a spot in the playoffs. They’d make it to the divisional round and end up losing to the eventual NFC Champions, the New York Giants. That was the moment Eagles fans put their full trust into McNabb as the franchise quarterback. The Eagles ended up winning the NFC East for the next four seasons. They’d also appear in four NFC Championship Games during that span (five total with McNabb at the helm), and they reached the Super Bowl in 2005.
McNabb didn’t have it easy during his time with the Eagles. Despite being the best franchise quarterback in Eagles history, McNabb has been highly criticized throughout his career. He’s been called weak and a choke artist. This, primarily, due to the frustration of the many times the Eagles were close to getting their first Super Bowl but weren’t actually able to close the deal. When you’re the face of the franchise, you sometimes take the blame when things don’t go as planned.
Number Five will always love Philly.
Though he was booed in the beginning, and several other times throughout his career, McNabb will forever be a Philadelphia legend. In 2013, the Eagles held a halftime ceremony in Week 3 against Andy Reid, of all people, and the Kansas City Chiefs to retire McNabb’s jersey, and now no Eagles player will ever wear number five again. He, at that time, became one of nine former Eagles legends to have his number hung at the top of Lincoln Financial Field.
After a 13 year career, Mcnabb finished with 37,276 passing yards and 234 touchdowns. Though he had a “cannon” for an arm, he was also a rushing threat, adding 3,459 yards on the ground and 29 touchdowns to his career statistics. In 2016, he was nominated to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. McNabb’s career began with much to prove. He made sure he silenced the doubters and gave Eagles fans a ton of memories in his 11 seasons in the midnight green. Eagles fans haven’t booed another draft selection since.