What's buzzing:

Think the City of Brotherly Love is missing whipping boy Donovan McNabb these days?

Eric Adelson
Yahoo Sports

Well, Philadelphia Eagles fans, how do you like Donovan McNabb now?

Perhaps no Philadelphia athlete, including Allen Iverson, has caused the great city as much frustration and aggravation as No. 5, who was always seen as missing a crucial component to his game.

But now the Eagles are missing a crucial component to their game: Donovan McNabb.

View gallery

.

Eagles rookie QB Nick Foles is sacked by Victor Butler in Sunday's loss to the Cowboys. (Getty Images)

Nothing against Michael Vick, or Nick Foles for that matter, but it's clear the Eagles and Andy Reid are on the decline. And if you look at the yearly records, that decline started, oh, just about the time McNabb departed. In his last year in Philly, which was 2009, McNabb had a 92 percent passer rating. The Eagles won 11 games. They didn't match that win total the past two seasons and they won't win 11 this year; they're 3-6 right now.

McNabb, you'll recall, was booed when he was drafted in 1999. Eagles fans hated him right away, wishing instead that their team drafted Ricky Williams. Draftniks also will recall that class was supposed to be the most quarterback-rich since 1983, with Tim Couch, Daunte Culpepper, Cade McNown and Akili Smith.

The Eagles chose well.

[More: Michael Vick may be 'rested' remainder of year as Andy Reid tries to save job]

Then the Eagles played well. Very well. They missed the playoffs in McNabb's rookie season and then went to the postseason in eight of the next 10 seasons. They went to five conference championships. They went to the Super Bowl.

And still McNabb went largely unloved. Rush Limbaugh said he was the product of media favoritism because of his race. That was after a 0-2 start in 2003. McNabb then led the Eagles to the third of four straight NFC championship games.

That team, by the way, went the first two months of the season without getting a touchdown reception from a wide receiver. And this is no small aspect of McNabb's challenge in Philadelphia. His weapons were mostly duds. How many wideouts can you name? Freddie Mitchell? James Thrash? Yes, Terrell Owens arrived near the pinnacle of the Eagles' ascent, but he was sidelined during the team's first two postseason games during its Super Bowl season of 2004.

The Eagles now have DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, drafted near the end of McNabb's time. And yet the team is still much worse than at any time during McNabb's career, save his rookie season (arguably).

[More: Has Michael Vick forever lost his fantasy relevance?]

McNabb always found himself drowning in gossip and tangential storylines. Limbaugh was one. T.O. was another. And then there was Super Bowl XXXIX, in which the quarterback allegedly got sick on the final drive. The Eagles nearly beat the Patriots, and McNabb threw for 357 yards with all three of his team's touchdowns, but that game is remembered more for McNabb's problems than his perseverance. That's the story of McNabb's entire career. Just look at the 2008 season, in which the Eagles came off a dreary 8-8 campaign and went back to the NFC title game.

Yet Eagles fans wanted a title. That's understandable. What fan base doesn't feel slighted when its team gets close over and over again and fails to win the big one? So the word "McNabb" conjures as much disappointment as awe. But look at his legacy now that Andy Reid is facing likely unemployment: McNabb is the Eagles' all-time leader in wins, passing yards and passing touchdowns. He is among the greatest Eagles of all time, and he caused little drama off the field.

View gallery

.

Donovan McNabb against the Cards in the NFC title game four seasons ago. (AP)

This is not a revelation to those who follow Syracuse, as Orange football has reeled since McNabb left campus in 1999. (Go ahead, name a Syracuse quarterback who followed McNabb in the Carrier Dome.) McNabb led his team to four straight bowl appearances and four straight end-of-season Top 25 rankings during his college years, but the Orange has been to only four bowl games since he left. The team has finished the season ranked only once in the post-McNabb years. McNabb brought Syracuse more wins in his four years than the team has in its last eight full seasons combined. Head coach Doug Marrone won a huge game over Louisville on Saturday, but huge wins were normal under McNabb.

This was also the case in Philadelphia, yet too much attention was paid to the huge losses. Jim Kelly is worshipped in Buffalo even though he never won a Super Bowl. Same with Dan Marino in Miami. They walk on water in those towns, and nationally. Well-earned and deserved. But when's the last time you saw Donovan McNabb on television? Maybe it was when Skip Bayless suggested that Tim Tebow was the most-criticized quarterback of all time. McNabb cut Bayless off and said it was actually him, not Tebow. He was right. But of course, McNabb got criticized for saying that.

[NFL Week 10: Winners/losers | MVPs | LVPs]

McNabb hasn't been replaced at Syracuse, and he hasn't been replaced at the Linc. Michael Vick and Nick Foles can't be blamed, since they don't have much of an offensive line. But McNabb didn't exactly have the lines of the '80 Redskins or '90s Cowboys protecting him, either. He got by just fine. He made wins out of losses.

Now nobody in Philly knows how to make a win out of a loss. So the Andy Reid era appears to be just about over. It's been over for a while, really.

That's because it was the McNabb era all along.

Yahoo! Sports Fantasy advice for Chiefs-Steelers:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Von Miller sacks Cam Newton, unveils own Superman routine
Tony Gonzalez becomes first tight end with 100 touchdowns
Norv Turner loses cool after Chargers' loss
Y! News: Onion layers being peeled on Patreaus affair

  • Cycling-Contador back in pink with sparkling time trial

    (Adds quotes) May 23 (Reuters) - Alberto Contador took a commanding lead in the Giro d'Italia on Saturday with a strong performance in the 14th stage, a 59.4-km individual time trial won by Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus. After losing the pink jersey … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 9 seconds ago
  • Nationals-Phillies engaged in an epic post-anthem standoff

    Nationals-Phillies engaged in an epic post-anthem standoff

    Anthem standoffs are apparently still a thing in MLB, and Friday's between the Nationals and Phillies was pretty epic. … More »

    Big League Stew - 5 minutes ago
  • Golf-Manassero refusing to panic over rankings slide

    By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England, May 23 (Reuters) - Matteo Manassero has endured a frustrating time since winning the BMW PGA Championship two years ago but is refusing to panic because he believes he is performing well enough to turn the … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Williamson ton helps New Zealand stretch lead

    Williamson ton helps New Zealand stretch lead

    By Ed Osmond LONDON (Reuters) - Kane Williamson made a patient 132 as New Zealand moved on to 507 for eight, a lead of 118 over England at tea on day three of the first test at Lord's on Saturday. Ross Taylor was out for 62, wicketkeeper Jos … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Hamburg face relegation playoff, Paderborn, Freiburg go down

    Hamburg face relegation playoff, Paderborn, Freiburg go down

    Former European champions Hamburg SV beat Schalke 04 2-0 on Saturday to avoid direct relegation from the Bundesliga and snatch a playoff spot for the second consecutive year as Paderborn and Freiburg went down. Surprise package Augsburg secured … More »

    Reuters - 13 minutes ago