In defense of Eagles fans ...

September, 30, 2010
9/30/10
10:44
AM ET
One of the things we'll be looking for Sunday at The Linc is what kind of reception quarterback Donovan McNabb receives when he takes the field with the Washington Redskins. ESPN.com's Jemele Hill joined the parade of folks writing about this topic Wednesday, and she was pretty harsh toward Eagles fans.

"The team traded him to a hated division rival," writes Hill. "That sent a crisp message about the franchise's sentiment. And considering that some meathead fans had the nerve to burn McNabb's jersey when he was traded -- as if he had asked to be dealt -- why wouldn't this same, often hateful fan base take one more chance to kick McNabb in the figurative shin?"

First of all, I don't think a couple of idiots burning a jersey represents how most of the fan base feels about McNabb. I'm convinced that McNabb will receive a standing ovation when he's introduced before the game. He's unquestionably the best quarterback in the history of the franchise and I think fans will appreciate him more and more as the years go by.

More than anything, fans were simply tired of all the near misses. McNabb had been brilliant at times during his 11 seasons, but his performances in those four NFC title-game losses and in the Super Bowl have to be considered. And as I wrote Wednesday, it always seemed like fans thought McNabb was too flippant after mistakes or losses.

I think McNabb has a lot better shot at being beloved in Philly after he's been retired for a few years. It's not like Eagles fans lavished Ron Jaworski with unconditional support during his tenure. But the fact that he lives there and is very accessible has made him one of the most popular former players in franchise history.

Eagles fans simply got a case of McNabb fatigue after 11 years. But I think they'll show their appreciation Sunday afternoon. And by the way, I've been tipped off that an Eagles fan named Charles Barkley will be wearing a McNabb Redskins jersey to show his support.

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