Donovan McNabb doesn’t think it should even be a question.
He should “absolutely” be in Hall of Fame.
“And I’m not hesitating on that,” McNabb said to TMZ Sports. “I am a Hall of Famer. My numbers speak for [themselves].”
On a segment with TMZ Sports, McNabb was actually asked whether or not Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a Hall of Famer, to which McNabb replied, “I’m still here.”
McNabb, 42, has a case.
But for the 2019 class, McNabb was one of 102 nominees, but didn’t make the list of 25 semifinalists or, obviously, 15 finalists. No QBs made the list of semifinalists.
McNabb last played in 2011 for the Vikings, capping off the end of his career with two subpar years with Washington and Minnesota. But he had 11 great years in Philly.
“You look at my numbers, yeah, but they they want to add other stuff to it,” McNabb said. “‘Was he an All-Pro? Was he this? How many Super Bowl opportunities?’ People don’t realize how hard it is to get to the NFC Championship and get there five times and then make it to a Super Bowl, it’s tough.”
Well, let’s take a closer look:
The case for McNabb
• His numbers are strong. He had 37,276 passing yards, 234 touchdowns, 117 interceptions and a passer rating of 85.6. He made sure to make that his main case with TMZ.
“My numbers are better than Troy Aikman,” McNabb said, “but he has Super Bowl rings and he’s played with Hall of Famers as well.”
Although they really played in different eras, McNabb’s numbers are unquestionably better than those of Aikman, who was inducted into the HOF in 2006. Here are Aikman’s career numbers: 32,942 yards, 165 touchdowns, 141 interceptions, passer rating of 81.6. Believe it or not, McNabb also had a higher career winning percentage. But Aikman has three rings.
• McNabb won nine playoff games and made it to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl. He also has more QB wins that HOFers Troy Aikman, Len Dawson, Bart Starr, Steve Young, Bob Griese, Dan Fouts, Roger Staubach, Sonny Jergensen, Kurt Warner and Joe Namath.
• McNabb was a six-time Pro Bowler and most of that was done with less-than-great receivers. He had Terrell Owens for a short time, but how many years did he have James Thrash and Todd Pinkston as his top targets?
The case against McNabb
• His numbers are good, but he’s one of 23 players who has thrown for that many yards and touchdowns. And all 23 aren’t Hall of Famers. Let’s look closer at the other 22 players on that list.
Eight are in the Hall of Fame: Brett Favre, Dan Marino, John Elway, Warren Moon, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts, Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas.
Eight are still active: Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.
Six are retired and not in the Hall of Fame (yet): Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe, Dave Krieg, Boomer Esiason.
• Sure, he made it to five NFC Championship games but McNabb was just 1-4 in those games. He made it to one Super Bowl and never won the big game. How do you weigh making it to five championship games vs. a guy like Jim Kelly, who made it to four Super Bowls and never won.
• McNabb was never an All-Pro. Right or not, that plays into the thinking of many HOF voters. He was never an MVP; he finished second in MVP voting to Marshall Faulk in 2000. Was he ever the best quarterback in the league?
There are definitely cases to be made on both sides. Are McNabb’s numbers good enough to get him in despite never winning the big game? That’s probably going to be the real question. For a guy like Marino, his numbers emphatically said yes. McNabb’s numbers aren’t that good. But then you can look at guys like Warren Moon and think, “Well, if he’s in…”
McNabb is hoping having teammates Owens and Brian Dawkins in the Hall of Fame might help his case. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.
In 2021, Peyton Manning will be eligible for the HOF, and he’ll go in immediately. And then, depending how you feel about Carson Palmer, there’s going to be a lull for a few years before the big wave comes. Those guys — Brees, Brady, Rivers, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, etc. — all have better numbers than McNabb. Sure, the game has changed, but if McNabb wants to get in the Hall of Fame, he’s probably going to need to do it before that group becomes eligible.
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