Did Donovan McNabb puke during the Super Bowl?

As the story goes, with the Eagles down by 10 to the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXIX, an exhausted McNabb vomited in the huddle.

McNabb has consistently denied that he threw up, but that hasn’t stopped a handful of former teammates — including Lito Sheppard and current 94.1 WIP host Jon Ritchie — from claiming they saw him hurl.

“It was subtle. It happened so subtle,” Sheppard said back in 2013.

» READ MORE: Longtime WIP host Big Daddy Graham dies at 68

Artie Kempner, a veteran director for Fox Sports who will be at the helm for Sunday’s Eagles-Falcons game, was running the show during that Super Bowl. Despite having a camera trained on McNabb the entire fourth quarter, Kempner and his crew never produced a single shot showing McNabb getting sick, either on the field or the sideline.

“I don’t remember Donovan McNabb throwing up, and I had a lot of equipment. We never had a shot of [it],” Kempner said. “So if he did, I don’t know where he did it.”

Kempner, who lives in Wilmington, Del., and has become something of a Birds fan, said the lasting memory of directing that Super Bowl — the first of two he’s run for Fox — was the lack of urgency from McNabb and the entire Eagles team.

“That game ends up looking closer than it really is. It just wasn’t that close, because the Eagles were just slow getting to the line of scrimmage and running plays,” Kempner said.

So how did the urban legend of McNabb getting sick begin? Maybe over the years fans have conflated it with footage of McNabb throwing up during a 2006 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It might also have stemmed from comments teammates made about McNabb being fatigued during the fourth quarter.

“He could hardly call the plays, that’s how exhausted he was trying to give it his all,” center Hank Fraley said on Comcast SportsNet following the game. “If you remember back when we played Jacksonville two years ago and he ended up puking, it was close to that scene. He exhausted everything he had.”

» READ MORE: Tony Romo is right: The 2021 Eagles are in much better shape than most experts think

Collinsworth glosses over Antonio Brown’s sexual assault allegations

Wide receiver Antonio Brown returned to the field Thursday night for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after settling a lawsuit brought by his former trainer, who accused the NFL star of rape and sexual assault. Brown has also faced separate charges of battery, burglary, and criminal mischief.

So how did Sunday Night Football announcer Cris Collinsworth sum up the allegations made against Brown during the Buccaneers’ 31-29 win over the Cowboys Thursday night? He dismissed it all as “off-the-field stuff.”

“Great job, Cris. Thank you for all your hard work,” Daily Beast reporter Matt Fuller wrote mockingly on Twitter.

Collinsworth is far from the only member of the media to gloss over serious allegations in order to focus on a player’s impact on the field. Just Google “Deshaun Watson Eagles” and see how often the multiple sexual assault allegations made against the Houston Texans’ quarterback have made it into the breathless coverage of whether he could end up in Philadelphia.

» READ MORE: Regardless of Eagles’ interest in Deshaun Watson, his legal and ethical hurdles aren’t going anywhere

Quick hits

  • NBA Hall of Famers and current TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal continue to roast soon-to-be-former Sixers star Ben Simmons. “Ben Simmons, you’re not that good,” Shaq said during the most recent episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq. “Don’t be putting pictures on your Instagram of your Ferrari or what actress you hang around with. When you play for a town like Philadelphia … they don’t give a s — about none of that. They want you to come to work hard and play hard.”

  • ESPN announced on Thursday it was canceling Highly Questionable to make room for Max Kellerman’s new show, This Just In. The move isn’t surprising, considering it was launched as a vehicle for former ESPNer Dan Le Batard and his father, Gonzalo. This Just In will air from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on ESPN beginning Monday.

  • Veteran ESPN reporter Allison Williams won’t be on the sidelines for college football games this season due to her decision not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine while she tries to get pregnant. ESPN’s parent company, Disney, is requiring vaccinations for all employees, and there is no evidence the vaccine has an impact on fertility.

  • Prior to the Cowboys season-opening loss Thursday night, longtime ESPN hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon were fed up with the network’s obsession with quarterback Dak Prescott. “I am personally ‘Dak-ed’ out by now. The hype on this network is unbelievable,” Kornheiser said on Thursday’s Pardon the Interruption. “They have not won the Super Bowl this century.”