Last Thursday night, the Philadelphia 76ers rung their Liberty Bell, and made the most noise in the 2013 NBA Draft. They traded a rising superstar in All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday for a college player with superstar potential in Nerlens Noel. Are they onto something, such as tanking the upcoming season for the 2014 number one college -prospect in small foward Andrew Wiggins? Possibly- we will have to see what Sam Hinkie (aka “Hinky”) does.
That being said, remember the Philadelphia Eagles drafted their franchise in Mr. Donovan Jamal McNabb? Oh, Donovan!
The 1999 NFL Draft Class was loaded with talent such as running back Edgerrin James, wide receiver Tory Holt, cornerback Champ Bailey, and who Philly fans wanted the Eagles to draft; running back Ricky Williams. When former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced, “With the second pick the Philadelphia Eagles select Donovan McNabb, quarterback, Syracuse University,” Eagles’ fans greeted McNabb with a reign of boos; the most notorious jeers in NFL Draft history. The organization had let its fans down for so long, which is why they instantly reacted, and thought, “Here we go again.” More than a decade later, selecting “DMac” was the best draft decision the franchise as ever made.
So, how does drafting McNabb relate to the Sixers trading for Nerlens Noel?
The surprisingly emotional roller coaster that took place in the 2013 NBA Draft for Philadelphia is one to never forget, just as drafting McNabb. Almost every diehard Sixers fan went ballistic when they heard the team traded for Noel (hoping Evan Turner was in the deal), extremely agitated once the news broke that trading Jrue Holiday was involved, and back to even-key when they selected Michael Carter-Williams 11th overall. Nothing will ever compare to McNabb being booed on draft day, but it was the best, and last outstanding quarterback selection the organization has ever drafted. Since 1999, the Eagles have drafted six quarterbacks (Matt Barkley-2013, Nick Foles-2012, Mike Kafka-2010, Kevin Kolb-2007, Andy Hall-2005, and A.J. Feeley-2001) with half of those projected to be the future of the franchise (Barkley, Foles, Kolb).
McNabb never had elite talent to throw to until Terrell Owens stepped onto the scene in 2004. Though, we all know how his departure turned into the team’s dilemma.
After Owens was done doing sit-ups in his driveway and left after 2005, McNabb became severely injured in 2005-06, and was never the same. However, he did lead the Birds to another NFC Championship game in the 2008 season, and set offensive records in the 2009 regular season. The upcoming generation of Eagles fans vaguely remember McNabb being the dominant quarterback of the early 2000’s, but he was the best player to be drafted by Philadelphia since the 1985 NFL Draft when they selected Randall Cunningham 37th overall.
An unpredictable future is underway for Philly football, but it will be faster than Andy Reid’s Fast-food Fridays. On a serious note, when the Philadelphia Flyers make their moves on Sunday at the NHL Draft, think twice before you react so quickly. Yes, GM Paul Holmgren isn’t exactly the brightest when wheeling and dealing, and whomever they pick may not have you singing John Stainer’s “The First Noel” like it did with the Sixers, but who knows. After all, it could be defenseman Darnell Nurse, Donovan McNabb’s nephew.