The debate about whether Donovan McNabb is a Hall of Famer raged at times while he was with the Eagles, and after he left the Eagles and now that he is out of the game, at least for now.
During an appearance on the FoxSports.com show "The Barfly," McNabb said his career is not over. He also said he wished he could have stayed with the Eagles instead of being traded to Washington and then spending the early part of last season in Minnesota. He said he expected things to be better for him in Washington in Year 2 after having a season for new coach Mike Shanahan to settle in. Of course, there was no Year 2. In Minnesota, he again was with a new coaching staff, but said he understood why the Vikings decided to play first-round pick Christian Ponder after the team got off to such a bad start.
"I would have loved to have stayed in Philadelphia," McNabb said over a meal with show host Mark Kriegel and NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen. "But one thing people don't talk about is it's a business decision. I was in one of the last years of my deal and the three quarterbacks that were in that situation were me, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Being slotted the way, obviously, we've had all of our careers go, there's a lot of money supposedly being thrown around that they wanted to go to their young guy, Kevin Kolb, who they drafted in the second round. Things didn't work out as well as they expected to."
The most interesting conversation concerned McNabb's chance at the Hall of Fame.
Kriegel: "If you had won a title, there would be no discussion about whether Donovan McNabb belongs in the Hall of Fame."
McNabb: "What happens a lot of times is we look at what the list says, so we talk about the five NFC Championship Games, the six Pro Bowls and then we come to the end, 'well, he never won the big game. Well, Peyton never won the big game until he won the Super Bowl. Dan Marino never won the big game. Does that mean his career is a failure? No, not at all. If we want to sit and look at numbers for certain players then we need to look at the number for all of them."
Kriegel: "What makes a Hall of Fame quarterback?"
McNabb: "First of all is his numbers. How many times has he led his team to the big game? The big game still is the NFC Championship Game, the game to lead you there, and most importantly of all, did he make the players around him better? In his time, in his era, was he a top 5, top 10 quarterback in the league?"
Kriegel: "You were top 5."
Kriegel: "Would you vote for you for the Hall of Fame?"
McNabb: "Absolutely. One thing people don't realize, I never played the game to make it to the Hall of Fame. I played the game because I love it. I played the game to win because I'm a competitor. When I step out on the field, I feel like I'm the best player on the field. Even these last two years, and people may look at it and say, 'Oh, he's done.' I'm 34, 35 years old but I still played at the pinnacle, at the highest level of my career. I played there. I would vote myself for the Hall of Fame and I played with probably two or three Hall of Famers. When you sit and look at the numbers and that's what it is when it comes to the Hall of Fame. My numbers are better than Jim Kelly, than Troy Aikman and a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame, but the one thing they have is a Super Bowl."