OPINION: This Time Terrell Owens Is Right About Donovan McNabb
Terrell Owens has never been afraid to give an opinion and he's never been someone who has thin skin. Basically, if you don't agree with him that's on you, in his mind anyway.
A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Owens was unafraid on the field too as he was famous for doing whatever it takes to win games, as Philadelphia Eagles fans know from his performance in Eagles' green at Super Bowl XXXIX. His turbulent relationship with Quarterback Donovan McNabb has resulted in some defiant words over the years about his former teammate. But in Owens latest opinion about the Eagles all-time franchise leader in numerous quarterback statistical categories, this time TO said something I can agree with about McNabb.
Terrell Owens was a guest on the “Whats Next with Eric Wood” Podcast and he gave his ranking of all the quarterbacks to ever throw him a touchdown pass, a list that former NFL Pro Bowl Center Eric Wood notes will surprise some people:
I have to say this is a very objective list from a guy in known for his aggressive opinions. The top four quarterbacks on the list all threw Owens 10 or more touchdown passes in his years playing with them so it makes sense having Tony Romo, Steve Young, Donovan McNabb, and Jeff Garcia that high on the list.
Also, Terrell Owens seems to be ranking the QBs based on their talent from his own perspective; Steve Young is a Pro Football Hall of Famer and two-time NFL MVP Award winner so it's only logistical for Owens to rank Young ahead of McNabb. Ranking Tony Romo as his number one Quarterback to throw him touchdown may appear as a personal preference but the numbers tell a different story:
*In the four seasons that Steve Young played with Terrell Owens in San Francisco were also his final four years in the NFL, Young compiled 72 passing touchdowns with 28 Interceptions and 223.4 passing yards per game along with a 64.6% completion percentage plus a 98.5 quarterback rating.
*In the three seasons that Tony Romo played with Owens in Dallas was Romo's first three seasons as a starter in the NFL, Romo compiled 81 passing touchdowns with 46 interceptions and 234.7 passing yards per game along with 63.3% completion percentage plus a 94.7 quarterback rating.
*In contrast, the two seasons Donovan McNabb played with Owens in Philadelphia was arguably the peak of McNabb's career in the NFL; McNabb compiled 47 passing touchdowns with 17 interceptions and 265.9 passing yards per game along with 61.9% completion percentage plus a 96.2 quarterback rating.
As you can see, the production between those three quarterbacks was strong with Terrell Owens and aside from small differences, all three are objectively the best quarterbacks of TO's career. Also notice that Owens played with all three at different points in their careers; Terrell didn't play with Steve Young during his peak years but he believes that Young was still better at that point at as an NFL Quarterback than Donovan McNabb at his peak. The debatable theory proposed by Owens is that Romo's first three years as an NFL Quarterback was better than Young's final four seasons in the NFL. There are former NFL players and some NFL analysts who believe that Tony Romo was one of the most physically talented quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL and if it wasn't for the numerous injuries he sustained during his career, he could have been a Hall of Famer.
Speaking of the Hall of Fame, the candidacy of Donovan McNabb has been a hotly contested topic over the years. McNabb is the all-time Eagles franchise leader in passing touchdowns (216), passing yards (32,873), wins by a quarterback (92), and his 86.5 quarterback rating ranks him fourth behind Eagles QBs with at least 1,000 pass attempts. He is behind Nick Foles (93.2), Carson Wentz (89.2), and Michael Vick (87.7).
The problem with McNabb's candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the eye sores on his resume: his career 59% completion percentage is less than his contemporaries from the 2000's like Peyton Manning (65.3%), Tom Brady (64%), Steve McNair (60.1%), Ben Roethlisberger (64.4%), Drew Brees (67.7%), Tony Romo (65.3%), Philip Rivers (64.9%), and even Eli Manning (60.3%). Also, McNabb suffered numerous injuries that took him off the field during his career; McNabb did not start almost 20 percent of potential games he could have from 2000-2011 and he had four seasons during that stretch were he played 10 or less games.
With all that being said, it's great to see Terrell Owens be objective and not rank Donovan McNabb lower than the third spot. The quarterbacks behind him like Jeff Garcia, Carson Palmer, and Drew Bledsoe all had good careers in the NFL but they all have specific flaws in their game compared to McNabb:
*Drew Bledsoe had a powerful throwing arm but was extremely less mobile and athletic compared to McNabb. Also Bledsoe had a worse completion percentage than McNabb (57.2%) and threw almost double the Interceptions (206).
*Carson Palmer had a similar number of serious injuries during his NFL career but despite starting 20 more games he has fewer wins (Palmer: 92, McNabb: 98). Also, the most interceptions McNabb threw in a season was 15 while Palmer threw at least 15 Interceptions five times.
*Jeff Garcia had a really good four years in San Francisco playing with Terrell Owens. But without Owens to throw to, Garcia only had 48 touchdowns and no more than 13 in a season. On the flipside, McNabb threw 187 touchdowns without Terrell Owens on the roster and McNabb threw for more than 13 touchdowns in nine seasons without TO. Plus, Garcia had 27 Interceptions in 45 starts without Terrell Owens while McNabb averaged nine interceptions per year in the 11 seasons in which he started 137 games.
So I salute Terrell Owens for being objective about the quarterbacks he played with. In a world full of "hot takes" and bizarre social media opinions, Owens was mature and thoughtful in his list of quarterbacks who have thrown him a touchdown. It's also funny he listed EVERYONE who threw his a touchdown pass, including Jeff Brohm, Brooks Bollinger, and 49ers' running back Terry Kirby. If nothing else, Terrell Owens is thorough!