PHILADELPHIA—Frustrated with the Eagles' last-second 16-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, and with quarterback Donovan McNabb's failure to single-handedly score three touchdowns, prevent two of his teammates from muffing punts, or block any of Green Bay's field goals, thousands of Philadelphia fans demanded that McNabb win an NFL championship for Philadelphia sometime within the next three weeks.
"For the last time: How much longer do we have to wait for McNabb to get off his ass?" Eagles fan Jacob Wilkerson said of the five-time Pro Bowler in one of over 1,500 messages addressed to the quarterback left on the Eagles' voicemail Monday. "Come on McNabb, it's time to finish the job. We've been really lenient up to this point, but it's time to hunker down and throw the ball. If you think you need to take the whole three weeks, that's fine, but we would really like it by next Wednesday."
While many football analysts agree that McNabb has done a phenomenally good job in a less-than-ideal situation for the last eight years, blaming Philadelphia's failure to advance to the Super Bowl on such varied areas as undisciplined offensive execution, inconsistent defense, excessive penalties, lackluster pass protection, and almost criminally bad play-calling, fans say they are tired of people making excuses for McNabb.
"So what's our crybaby quarterback going to blame next, the NFL schedule?" fan Ed Cooke said in a call to Radio 610WIP's Howard Eskin. "He's the quarterback. If the team sucks, it's his fault. I think McNabb's lucky we're only asking for one Super Bowl in the next few weeks, because what he owes us is a three-peat by December."
Although he felt McNabb performed respectably, completing 15 of 33 passes for 184 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his first game back since tearing his ACL last season, Eagles head coach Andy Reid pointed out that his quarterback would have to put up much better numbers if he expected to put them in the position to win it all by the end of Week 4.
"This organization expects a lot from Donovan," Reid told a group of angry fans Wednesday. "After all, we did use the second overall draft pick on him eight years ago, and while he's done really well considering we made him run the offense for years with bargain- basement wide receivers and running backs that couldn't stay healthy, I agree that now is the time to finally get something back on our investment."
"Donovan promised us—the Eagles organization and fans alike—great things," said Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, who promised season ticket holders he would sit down with McNabb and make fans' wishes known. "You have all really been great through all of this. No one could ask for a better, more caring, more patient home crowd. The amount of restraint you have shown by not, say, throwing McNabb off the top deck of Lincoln Financial Field is nothing but admirable."
"For my part, I can promise that on Sept. 30 I will make sure that Donovan has the Lombardi trophy on my desk no later than the end of the day," added Lurie, noting that he thought the Eagles' fans were the best fans in the world.
McNabb, whose plans for this week include extra time working with his receivers on timing, studying his playbook, and watching film, said he would be working as hard as he could for the foreseeable future.
"Eagles fans are a passionate group who love their team," said McNabb, "if not the actual players. It's not like winning a Super Bowl before the first month of the season is the hardest thing they've ever asked of me. That'd be all those times they asked me to go kill myself."
"If I work hard and play my game, I'll be fine," McNabb added. "I just hope the fans realize that."