McNabb spoke with Richard Rys last month for an interview that will run in the September issue of Philadelphia Magazine. It covered a myriad topics, including the Super Bowl, being booed, when McNabb found out he was traded, and much, MUCH more. Shots at Angelo Cataldi, Mike Missanelli, Howard Eskin, Bernard Hopkins and, of course, T.O. And a weird thing about Michael Jordan being responsible for his broken ankle.
McNabb just wanted to be one of the boys with his air guitar:
There was the Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance, picking up the phone on the sideline against the Giants. And the one that bothered people the most …
The air guitar. This is the thing people don’t understand. I brought the air guitar out at training camp. Everybody loved it. Leonard Weaver had the drums, DeSean Jackson was rapping. It was like a band. We were having a good time. When I brought the air guitar out in the playoffs, that wasn’t to throw it in anybody’s face. That was me showing that we’re loose. If we’d have won the game, wouldn’t nobody have said nothing about the air guitar. We’d just lost to Dallas [the week before] because I felt like we came into that game thinking too much of the result. The whole week, it was, Let’s get back to being who we are. Let’s be loose. And people took it—he’s not focused. You can hate me all you want to. When I’m on that field, I couldn’t care less.
Yeah, I’m sure DeSean thought you guys were “a band.” And I’m not sure Weave thinks. But yeah, everybody loved it.
This is just weird:
You didn’t have any idea how bad it was during the game?
No. I’d never broken anything, never had surgery. They said they can put a pin in it, you’ll be back in three to four weeks. We were on our playoff run. So my mom came in, she’s a registered nurse, and I’m like, “I’m not just jumping to surgery—nobody cuttin’ on me.” What’s the other option? We can let it heal itself. That would be six to eight. My mom’s like, “We’re not having surgery. I’m not having my son, 20 years from now, going through metal detectors and having to get scanned with a plate and screws in his foot.” Didn’t have surgery. It healed cleanly. After the game, I went to the [Washington] Wizards game and said to Mike [Jordan], “Where were my shoes? I broke my ankle, man.”
So it was Michael Jordan’s fault you broke your ankle.
I told him that. He said, “You did what? I’m sorry.”
Blames 2005 on everybody wanting to be a star:
What went wrong?
Everybody wanted to be a star. That’s the problem with a lot of teams. When you make it to the Super Bowl, all of the sudden, everybody feels like, “This is my chance.” Everybody had websites, everybody was doing TV segments or shows. Everybody’s doing other things.
And next, a trifecta of I played well in the Super Bowl! But don’t judge Super Bowls! Everybody wants Super Bowls!
You threw two touchdowns, but do you still think about the three interceptions?
All the time. The first one to Westbrook, we had him. Then it faded on me. The second one, I think Teddy Bruschi might have intercepted while I was trying to squeeze one in there to T.O. Those stay with you. When you pass for 357 yards, that’s like the second highest or third highest in the Super Bowl. And we were right there. But one thing I’ve always said—I don’t think football players should be remembered by the Super Bowls that you win. You get measured by your legacy. Wins and losses, yards, the way you changed the game.
The perception of you seemed to shift among the fans after the Super Bowl. Did you feel that?
There was a shift because the team was different. Some fans blamed me, and they loved T.O.—it was Donovan’s fault. But as a quarterback, that’s what you go through. Blame the quarterback, blame the coach. What was funny, when everyone was saying “Donovan’s not doing this or that,” we won 10 or 11 games. We were in the playoffs. People got so accustomed to making it to the playoffs, it wasn’t how many games we were going to win. It was what we did in the playoffs. “It’s Super Bowl or bust this year.” Yeah, it’s Super Bowl or bust for everybody.
I feel nauseous.
The kind face he put on for Dawkins’ ceremony? Yep. Just that– a kind face. He was pissed:
Did your time with Washington and Minnesota give you a different perspective on the Eagles?
I never forgot what happened in Philadelphia. Those were great years. I would have loved to have had another couple years after that and just say “Thank you, I’m done.” But it didn’t happen that way. I sold my house when I got traded. Never even touched foot in Philadelphia until I played there as a Washington Redskin. I hadn’t even been back to the facility until Brian Dawkins retired. It was a sour day for me. I was pissed off to go, but [Brian’s] like my brother. I went for my brother. I felt the same as Brian—you turned your back on me. You basically pointed the finger at me. Things haven’t been right in Philadelphia since [I left].
Things haven’t been right in Philadelphia since. Oh the ego.
And here comes some more:
On the day you were drafted, you mentioned breaking down barriers; your agent, Fletcher Smith, made race an issue in your rookie contract negotiation. How much do you think race was a factor in how you were perceived throughout your career?
It’s been a part. What percentage, I don’t know. Do I care? No. But it’s been a part. Look at the numbers. Look at wins and losses; look at the success rate of the team compared to whoever else you want. Angelo Cataldi can say anything he wants and people will call in—rah-rah-rah. Mike Missanelli—[another guy] that can’t stand me. Do I care? No. Howard Eskin. Bernard Hopkins. Bernard, you’re about 50 years old and you’re still bringing me up something that happened over 10 years ago? That means I’m somehow relevant to you or people around you. My legacy is still growing. So for Howard Eskin on Fox 29 to bring me up to Bernard Hopkins? Bernard brings my name up to make his fights relevant. Why you still talking about me? Because my name still resonates.
Well, that should go over well on talk radio tomorrow. This is the Hopkins interview McNabb is talking about. Someone get Damon Feldman on the phone– we have a boxing match to promote. Hell, I’ll even fight David Murphy as the undercard.
I’ll just let McNabb play himself out:
What do you imagine September 19th will be like, when you retire?
I don’t know. I remember being there with Brian for his press conference. I almost got emotional for him. I can’t promise you I won’t get emotional. Nobody has ever seen that side of me. To see Brian reflect on that, talk about our friendship—I was like, “Fuck, 11 years being here.” Then when they said nobody will ever wear number 20, which was well deserved, that is special. Then I heard they would do that for me. On my radio show, [NBC Sports host] Eric Kuselias asked me: Who would you put on Mt. Rushmore for Philadelphia? To me, it would be Reggie White, Chuck Bednarik, Tommy McDonald and Harold Carmichael. If we had five heads, Dawkins. There’s a lot of people I’d put on there before me. I’ve never been a “me” guy. I’ve always been a team guy.
How do you think the fans will react?
I was asked that question when I was in Washington [before playing the Eagles at the Linc]. I didn’t know. They gave me a standing ovation. They booed when the offense came out, which I expected. But the standing ovation was special. It made me realize—they appreciate what happened. The fat guy [Reid] will be there. It will be a chance to say goodbye to the fans and shake the hand of the guy who took a chance on me in ’99. And I’ll get to tell Doug [Pederson] thank you. He was like a doormat my rookie year, like I was in Minnesota. The 19th is fun, man. I might bring the air guitar.
The city would go up in flames.
It probably would. But I’ve set Philly on fire for so long. [laughs]
Read the full thing here.