Donovan McNabb Helps Us Make Sense of His (Circle One) Wildly Successful / Oddly Disappointing NFL career

For a decade, his Eagles scored in bunches and played deep into the postseason. Yet there always seemed to be something missing—and not just a Super Bowl ring. An affable guy, he couldn’t escape controversy. A thoughtful QB, he often seemed clueless.

Seeing McNabb, haplessly, again, at the center of another media tempest, this time in his new home in Washington, I instantly thought back to Stephen Rodrick’s sharp interview with the soon-to-be-Skins quarterback for our NFL preview in the September 2010 issue. In this new controversy, like many of the others, there are droplets of bigotry—a black QB who can’t learn the playbook?—that rally me behind the guy. And right at the same time, I find myself wondering, “If he really is such a decent fella, why does this crap keep happening to him?” Rodrick isn’t sure either, and what I love about the interview is that he doesn’t pretend to have the guy figured out.