The Great Super Spewing Controversy has taken another screwy turn.
Despite a lack of solid evidence, the idea has persisted for eight years that quarterback Donovan McNabb puked during the 2005 Super Bowl.
Everyone acknowledges that McNabb at one point had trouble talking, or even breathing. Even he’s admitted he "lost his wind."
But no puking was mentioned or shown during the broadcast. No YouTube video has been found of any spewing. And quotes afterward from players who were in the huddle suggest only how rumors get started. "He was almost puking," center Hank Fraley told WIP’s Angelo Cataldi. "I don't know if it was breathing or what," said receiver Freddie Mitchell. "He was coughing a little, but he didn't seem sick," said running back Brian Westbrook.
This morning, though, SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Morning Show reacted as if the smoking gun – or stained turf -- was finally found.
On Saturday, ex-cornerback Lito Sheppard was asked by WIP’s Rob Charry if McNabb puked "in the huddle" during the Super Bowl.
"Yes," said Sheppard a little hesitantly at first. "He did."
"We finally got the answer!" Charry exclaimed, provoking laughter from cohost Hollis Thomas.
Then Sheppard clarified a bit, saying the puking he saw – from the sidelines – didn’t happen in the huddle and it was "subtle."
"I think it was more so walking to the line of scrimmage, I think," he said.
Wait. So the old allegations were wrong? McNabb never puked in the huddle?
Or did he puke twice?
"It just happened," Sheppard said, "He was walking up and …"
Thomas, who was on that Eagles team but wasn’t a witness, helpfully completed the thought with retching sound effects.
No wonder the folks in the huddle sounded confused.
So McNabb, the new theory goes, actually puked near the line of scrimmage in a Super Bowl (when cameras would have been trained on him), just before he threw a touchdown pass to Greg Lewis.
And only Sheppard saw it clearly. From the sidelines.
How is that possible?
Sheppard himself gave a hint in the interview, though Charry failed to pick up on it.
"Because it was subtle. It happened so subtle," Sheppard said, just before Charry interrupted with "You saw it, though?"
"I saw it," Sheppard said.
Saw what exactly? Copious fluids splash the grass? The way they when McNabb once puked on a hot day against Tampa Bay?
Or did he just see McNabb’s chest heave? As it might with a sigh or a cough?
Charry never asked how puking can be "subtle."
Guess that sets the record straight.
Donovan McNabb puked once or twice in the Super Bowl so subtly the cameras missed it.
The believers will continue to believe, of course. Skeptics will continue to wait for the video.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.