Sadly, producing the best era in Eagles football this side of the late '40s isn't enough. The exhilaration of winning playoff games and an NFC Championship means nothing. The hugs and high fives we shared over the last 10 years are apparently irrelevant.
Donovan McNabb has been underappreciated since he was booed on draft day in 1999 by 610 WIP ringleader Angelo Cataldi and 30 of his closest friends. Ten years later, and just minutes after another disappointing playoff exit, the consensus was that McNabb must be on the first plane to Cleveland.
And you know what? It is time for the best quarterback the Eagles have ever seen to fly the coop. If he dons another NFL uniform next year, maybe, just maybe, Eagle Nation can finally appreciate what it hasn't for a decade.
Even after 91 regular-season wins, seven playoff appearances, five NFC Championship appearances, and a Super Bowl game, McNabb rarely gets credit for the success of a franchise that had been to only one Super Bowl prior to his arrival. The blame, however, is always at his doorstep.
Sometimes it is deserved. He's had Sundays when he's as accurate as a fan in the men's room after a few too many adult beverages. But find me a quarterback who never had a bad game or two a season. Brady has. Manning has. Roethlisberger has.
The way McNabb gets ripped by fans and on talk radio, you'd think he was Bubby Brister. He may not have a ring yet, but he still represents our best chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
That's not good enough for McNabb because people dislike his "personality." They want change for change's sake.
Who would replace him? Kevin Kolb? Michael Vick? If you think those options are better, I hope you're in my next fantasy football league.
Vick's best completion percentage in a season (56.4 in 2004) is lower than McNabb's worst (57 in 2006). And Kolb could very well be the next Ty Detmer or Rodney Peete, who took the Eagles to the playoffs under Ray Rhodes but went nowhere near an NFC title game, let alone a Super Bowl.
Let Donnie Mac lead the Browns or Niners next year. Watch him resurrect their respectability while our Eagles do no better than this year or, more likely, a bit worse. Maybe that's what we need to finally appreciate that we've been watching a potential Hall of Fame quarterback for a decade. Only in Philadelphia does a superstar need to leave town to be appreciated.
Just look at the love fest that greeted Allen Iverson's return from exile. Trade McNabb now so he can get the standing ovation he deserves when he returns to be inducted into the Eagles Honor Roll. It's the only way to preserve the legacy of the greatest quarterback in Eagles history.
Frank Ward is a South Jersey writer and editor of the sports blog DailyPhiladelphian.com. E-mail: DailyPhiladelphian@gmail.com.