McNabb needed TO before battling T.O.

February 05, 2006|By Mark Keller

Maybe Donovan McNabb just should have kept his mouth shut.

Throughout his war of words with Terrell Owens, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback had taken the high road, allowing Owens to stick his foot in his mouth time and again by taking verbal pot shots at his soon-to-be former teammate.

Apparently, somebody told McNabb it was time for a change in strategy. He went from passive resistance to all-out aggression this week. And now he's the one who's looking bad.

McNabb made the whole issue racial when he equated Owens' assertion that the Eagles would have been in a better situation last season - their Super Bowl season - if Brett Favre were their quarterback to "black-on-black crime."


Why does that constitute such a response? Because Favre is white. And McNabb took the notion that Owens would rather have a white quarterback throwing him the football as "a slap in the face."

McNabb added, "It's different to say, 'If we had Michael Vick or Daunte Culpepper or Steve McNair or Byron Leftwich.' (All of whom are African-American quarterbacks.) But to go straight to Brett Favre, that kind of just slapped me in the face."

Now, perhaps I'm being naive in thinking that Owens just picked Favre's name out of thin air. He's far too calculating for that.

So we'll figure there was a reason Owens chose Favre. If that reason was simply to get under McNabb's skin, wouldn't he have chosen a name like Gus Frerotte or David Carr or - how about this one? - Jeff Garcia?

Or maybe it's because Owens truly thought the Eagles would have been better off with Favre.

Is that so hard to imagine? I mean, Favre is only second in NFL history in passing yards, passes completed and touchdowns. Not to mention he's started 221 consecutive games.

Oh, and he's won a Super Bowl.

The four candidates McNabb would have found less offensive have thrown for a combined 11,000 yards more than Favre (in 93 more games, or nearly six more full seasons), thrown four more interceptions and 10 fewer touchdowns.

Owens is not the one who made this a race issue. McNabb has done that, even though the argument is not black and white.

The numbers, however, are.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at

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