What don't critics get about McNabb? Andy Reid knows

Andy Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 years, so he knows alot about the city and its team -- and what he knows about former quarterback Donovan McNabb is that he was better than some people believe. In fact, asked about criticism of Reid's first draft pick as coach of the Eagles, Reid said McNabb was, in essence, an important and necessary link that held together a club that went to five conference championship games in eight years -- including four straight. "You're juggling a lot of balls out there," he said. "And that's tough. I thought Donovan did that as well as anybody."

Clark Hunt, Andy Reid

(Photos courtesy of Kansas City Chiefs)

Talk of Fame Network

Boxer Bernard Hopkins is a local legend in Philadelphia, a popular guy who’s unafraid to say what he thinks. And what he’s thought for years is that former quarterback Donovan McNabb was not good for the Eagles … or, for that matter, any team he led.

Except he was.

He led the Eagles to five conference championship games in eight years, including four straight, and took them to their only Super Bowl since 1980. McNabb was one of the greatest quarterbacks in Philadelphia history, and if Hopkins can’t acknowledge it another notable Philadelphia personality can.

That’s former coach Andy Reid, now with Kansas City. The Eagles’ coach for a franchise-record 14 years, Reid told the Talk of Fame Network that if Hopkins only knew McNabb better he’d understand how valuable – or invaluable – he was to the Eagles franchise.

“I know Bernard,” said Reid on the latest TOF broadcast. “I had him speak to our team down there. Bernard knew how to play his game. His game. So he worked that thing the right way, kept himself in great shape and lasted a long time. I thought that’s what Donovan did with our game.

“That doesn’t always work out in certain people’s minds the right way. (But) to be a quarterback in this league you’ve got to be stuck in the middle in that locker room, looking at those guys, and at the same time be able to handle the head coach and management and so on. You’re juggling a lot of balls there, and so that’s a tough thing -- a tremendously tough thing to do and do it well. I thought Donovan did that as well as anybody … and still went out and produced.

“I think if Bernard was on the team with Donovan, he would’ve seen the different parts of Donovan that he really didn’t know; (that) he just heard from people around. Donovan could be one of the guys. He knew how to do that. He was the funniest guy on the team. Clearly. So he knew when to loosen the guys up. And at the same time he knew how to tighten them up. He wasn’t afraid to get after you.

“He was not always the most popular guy, yet (he was) someone all the guys respected. Very few can carry that. I thought Bernard did the same thing in his business. It’s just a different dynamic boxing and football.“

Reid left Philadelphia in 2013 after having spending more time and winning more games than any coach in Eagles’ history. Staying anywhere 14 years is an accomplishment, but staying with a Philadelphia franchise that long is extraordinary – with Hall-of-Famer Greasy Neale (who spent 10 years with the Eagles) the closest to Reid.

“I loved it,” Reid said of his Philadelphia experience. “I loved the organization (and) I loved the people there. They are passionate. The thing they’re going to do. Is they’re going to show up. Win or lose they’re going to show up. They think a little bit like coaches do. If you stink they’re going to let you know you stink. If you do OK, they’re going to let you know you did OK. You can stink, and be OK in two plays. They take it play by play there.”

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