Donovan McNabb has never even been a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame, but that didn’t stop the former Eagle from telling TMZ Sports that he “absolutely” believes he belongs there.
In a recent interview, McNabb not only said he belongs in football’s most hallowed hall, he said he belongs there because he has better numbers than Troy Aikman.
“I am a hall of famer. My numbers speak for themselves,” McNabb told TMZ. “My numbers are better than Troy Aikman.”
According to NBC Sports, “McNabb is not totally wrong: McNabb finished his career with 37,276 passing yards, 234 passing touchdowns and 117 career interceptions. Aikman had 32,942 yards, 165 TDs and 141 INTs. McNabb had an 85.6 QB rating compared to 81.6 for Aikman.”
While the numbers may not lie, they don’t entirely tell the truth either.
The fact is, while McNabb’s career overlapped with aikman’s by two years, the two quarterbacks played in entirely different eras.
As Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith writes:
For starters, McNabb played in a better passing era than Aikman: In Aikman’s rookie year, 1989, the league average passer rating was 75.6. By McNabb’s rookie year, 1999, the average passer rating had climbed only slightly, to 77.1, but by McNabb’s final year, 2011, the league average passer rating had risen all the way to 84.3. In other words, the significant increase in passing efficiency in the NFL had barely begun over the course of Aikman’s career, but it exploded during McNabb’s career.
Another knock against McNabb is that, despite the fact that he played his entire career in a passing era, the former Philly quarterback never threw for 4,000 yards in a season. One of the benchmarks of elite quarterbacks of his era. While some will point to the fact that McNabb only had a Hall of Fame wide receiver for one year of his career, it’s important to note that he didn’t throw for 4,000 yards with Owens either.
Judging McNabb against his peers isn’t necessarily kind to him either. At no time in McNabb’s career was he higher than the 6th best quarterback in the NFL. McNabb played in an era with Manning, Brady, Favre, Brees, and Kurt Warner. It’s impossible to imagine McNabb being looked at as better than any of those quarterbacks.
If you were never better than 6th best in your profession, how strong would your Hall of Fame candidacy be?
And of course, there’s the fact that Aikman has three Super Bowl wins and Donovan McNabb is best remembered for throwing up in his one Super Bowl performance.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn