The image above was created with Illustrator on Tuesday (Aug. 17, 2010). The full size of the image is 1776 x 1758 px, but the art is also a vector image… so it can re-size to anything with no loss of quality (all sizes can be found in my flickr photostream). It is a four color design (five if you count the red the logo is placed upon). I used my Intuos Wacom tablet and pen. The wings on the back of McNabb’s head are from the current helmet design, something I think adds a little personalized touch, rather than just using the original design’s plain white feathers. I also considered using the 1980’s wing/feather design… My inspiration for this “piece” came from a photo-chop (featured @ right) from Wiz Wit. They also have shirts for sale featuring the “single-tear” McNabb which can be found here.
Upon showing my McNabb image to a couple close friends as a sneak preview, they all seemed to really enjoy it… but I’d say 4 out of 5 of them expressed a bit of concern. I’ve produced much more controversial work in my short life, so hearing that this one was TOO HOT for webTV was a bit perplexing. Was it Donovan McNabb, an African American, posing as a Native American… both minorities that caused the controversy? The Washington Redskins logo is controversial to begin with… so adding a figure as newsworthy as number 5 might ramp up the intrigue. I guess. A funny aspect to all this is that a former colleague that happens to be a skins fan saw it, liked it and was enraged that anyone would think it was controversial. He then proceeded to prematurely (my fault) post the work on Facebook, embracing it as something that was pro-McNabb and pro-Washington. Ironic that its creator was a huge detractor of McNabb.
I’d say that for about 7 of McNabb’s 11 years in Philadelphia, I took a lot of shit for not liking him. Let’s be honest… we ALL loved him at first. Bulking up in the off season as he trained in his hometown of Arizona was a mistake. In his first couple seasons, McNabb would leave most NFL linebackers in the dust when he got the corner, and the rest he would plow through and carry. The extra muscle was meant for durability… but I think it just made him slow. There was even word that it affected his throwing Mc-chanic. Defenders started catching him and punishing him, and that’s when the injuries started. Then Andy Reid or maybe it was the NAACP banished # 5 to the pocket. I wasn’t asking for McNabb to do a Vick impersonation and lead the league in rushing… all I wanted was a short yardage, drive-extending dive for the first down marker. There’s a reason they let the qb’s slide in the NFL. Instead you’d have him scrambling 20 yards left and 40 back to the right… all east/west, ending with him throwing a 300 mph flame-ball to a inept receiver named Pinkston or Mitchell. What followed were personall record setting REGULAR seasons that often ended early with a blown out knee or broken rib… or with an embarrassing, turnover filled Championship game.
I still haven’t forgiven him for his double (rainbow) interception in the end zone during the Eagles’ first (and only) Super Bowl appearance with McNabb at the helm. I couldn’t fathom how we were lucky enough to get an interference call on the pass intended for T.O. in one corner of the end zone, only to have him throw a pass intended for Westbrook that was picked off in the other corner ON THE VERY NEXT PLAY. And the botched field goal attempt (or lack thereof) at the end of the first half due to poor time management was some extra salt thrown into the 3pt loss. I don’t blame all that on Donovan… his “better” half somehow escaped the axe and is still with us. I guess we’ll all have to be satisfied with at least 1/2 of a change. 4 straight NFC Championship losses, followed by a loss in the Super Bowl. I often daydream of a retired McNabb in a paint stained old t-shirt, and ratty sweatpants… pushing a cart filled with Chunky Soup down some random aisle of the local grocery store. Former Bills qb and Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, owner of 4 straight Super Bowl losses, turns into that same aisle and is coming straight for him. And as he passes, McNabb pretends to read the Nutritional information on the side of a Cracklin’ Oat Bran box. Jim Kelly smiles and heads for checkout.
I always said that the Eagles would never win a Super Bowl with Donovan McNabb, and I was barely right. I’m not happy my favorite local football team didn’t win a Championship. I didn’t root for the Birds to fail just to prove my point. As I look back on the 11 years… I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the great disappointment. Perhaps I’ll shed a single tear…