Donovan McNabb had been in the locker room, ran through the tunnel and patrolled the sidelines many times before at Lincoln Financial Field, but it was usually in a Philadelphia Eagles jersey.
Sunday was so similar yet so different for McNabb, who sat in the opposing locker room this time and came out of the tunnel with burgundy and gold instead of green and white on this time around.
After failing to win a Super Bowl in 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles organization had to make a decision in the offseason about McNabb.
The options were to either keep the 33-year-old quarterback and let him make a run for the title one last time, before he hit free agency, or get rid of him and move on to a new era.
The Eagles decided to go with the latter, so they traded McNabb, but they didn’t trade him to just anybody. The Eagles traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins, a team within their own division, a team that they would face twice in 2010.
If that isn’t a band-handed smack to the face then I don’t know what is.
The Eagles thought that it would be better to move on with fourth-year player Kevin Kolb, a la the Brett Favre-Aaron Rodgers saga before the 2008 season.
When you really look at it, McNabb never really asked for much from Philadelphia – as an organization or as a city.
McNabb’s arrival to the City of Brotherly Love is infamous. On draft day in 1999, the Eagles selected McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and fans booed the selection because they wanted running back Ricky Williams instead. Are you kidding me?
His tenure in Philly would reflect that day in New York and nothing McNabb did seemed to win over Eagles fans.
There were the Chunky soup commercials, a lot of laughs and a lot of production with suspect talent.
McNabb brought the Eagles to the playoffs eight of his 11 seasons with the team and the Eagles reached five Conference Championship games and one Super Bowl over that span.
Consider this for a second, Jim Kelly was beloved by Bills fans with a résumé that lists eight playoffs appearances in 11 seasons, five Conference Championship games and four Super Bowls losses – sounds oddly familiar.
The difference is that Buffalo is not Philadelphia.
Even through all of that, McNabb only has good things to say and a smile on his face when asked about his time in Philadelphia.
That smile continued to be visible Sunday as the Redskins rolled into Lincoln Financial and came out with a 17-12 victory over the Eagles. McNabb didn’t play great, but he played well enough to leave the season series at McNabb — 1, Eagles — 0.
The funny thing about the game was that Eagles fans showed more respect for McNabb on Sunday, when they gave him a standing ovation as his name was announced, than they did while he was in Philly.
It’s cliché, but I guess Tom Keifer and Cinderella were right. You don’t know what you got until it’s gone.