9 Donovan McNabb. The results are indisputable. Only four quarterbacks in NFL history have played in four consecutive conference championships games.
And yet . . .
"It's great to be in that class," Donovan McNabb said, "but you wish you could have won four and been in the Super Bowl four times."
Entering his ninth season, McNabb has a .663 career winning percentage, tops among active quarterbacks with at least 95 starts. His seven playoff wins are more than any quarterback in Eagles history. He has thrown for more than 22,000 yards, and has a career 58.2 completion percentage, 152 touchdowns and an 85.5 passer rating.
In 2004, McNabb threw for 3,875 yards and 31 TDs in 15 regular-season games, leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl since 1980.
And yet . . .
Rush Limbaugh. Terrell Owens. The draft. The last few minutes of the Super Bowl loss to New England. The sports hernia. The knee.
McNabb is one of the greatest Eagles of all time, and yet his career to date is, as the 30-year-old readily admitted, incomplete.
"You play this game to be the best," he said. "It's an incomplete feeling when you get [to the Super Bowl] and lose, because you never know when you're going to get back. 2004 was a great year, but hopefully it's something we all can look back on and use as firepower going into this year, and possibly win it."
Ever since a small crowd of fans, led by then-Mayor Rendell, booed McNabb after the Eagles selected him second overall in the 1999 draft, McNabb has been a polarizing figure in Philadelphia. Fans either love McNabb or hate him, and the emotional pendulum swings after almost every performance.
He runs too much. He doesn't run enough. He throws too hard. He throws at receivers' knees. He can't win the big one.
"I think the people who really understand the game really understand what an outstanding quarterback Donovan McNabb is and what he's meant to the franchise," Ron Jaworski said. "Does he have flaws? Absolutely. Do we all have flaws? Absolutely."
McNabb is a success, one of the greatest players in franchise history. And yet. . . .
Donovan McNabbPosition: Quarterback
With Eagles: 1999-present
Highlights: During the 2004 Super Bowl season, he threw 31 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.
Records: Among active QBs with 95 starts, he has the highest winning percentage (.663), and he is one of seven players in NFL history with over 20,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards.