Whenever I think of Donovan McNabb, there is this image my mind conjures up. The date is December 30, 2000 and the then young, upstart Eagles are hosting the favored Tampa Bay Bucs and their ferocious defense in an NFC wild card game. It had snowed the night before and the air was frigid. The crowd was frenzied as the Eagles played their way to a 21-3 mauling of the shell shocked Bucs. There was a point in the game when the Eagles were at the Tampa Bay goal line. McNabb, a young football god, possessing a cannon for an arm and a set of legs that would leave the jocks of defenders scattered all over the gridirons of the NFL, walks up…swaggers up, really…to the line, looks into the teeth of that defense and smiles. That wide, joyful Donovan McNabb smile. At that point in time, that smile contained all the sunny possibility of double-digit wins per season, the humbling of hated rivals, personal football glory for McNabb himself and, of course, parades down Broad Street celebrating an ever-expanding trophy case filled with Lombardi’s. Looking at that confident smile on that day, you believed. You believed that, as an Eagles fan, your days wondering through the Stygian darkness of NFL purgatory were finally over.
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