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Class and Professionalism

I write not about the Redskins, per say, but their on-field leader, Donovan McNabb. You can never have too many leaders, and coupled with Coach Shanahan, that’s at least two good ones they have going right now.

McNabb is not only an NFL Quarterback, but he’s a darned good politician and diplomat too. Always says the right things. Never tries to provoke; although he did have one moment after Sunday’s surprising Redskin’s victory in Philadelphia where he showed himself to be human after all. After receiving the game ball, he gave a stirring speech to his teammates and ended it by saying “Everybody makes mistakes in life and they {the Eagles} made one last year.”

Good for him. The Fox Sports commentators said he made a mistake of his own with that statement. Chill a little, Terry Bradshaw. He is allowed to feel and express a moment of personal and professional vindication. If it ends up on the Eagle’s bulletin board next time the teams meet- so be it.

Heading into McNabb’s homecoming in Philly, much had been written about why Eagle’s fans never really embraced him. There seemed to be consensus that McNabb never got mad enough at himself when they lost. He was too even-keeled for Philadelphia.

Uh, excuse me. Since when is being mature and balanced in your approach to your job a bad thing? In fact, if you look at the characteristics of championship sports teams, one constant is that they control their emotions. They don’t get too high when they win. They don’t get too low when they lose. McNabb is the embodiment of a true professional. He did not, on paper, have the greatest statistical game against his former teammates Sunday. But as usual, he was cool when it mattered.

A note on Eagle’s fans. They were pitch-perfect Sunday at Lincoln Field. They showed a lot of class giving McNabb a standing ovation prior to the game. Once the players hit the field, they booed him just as they would any opposing quarterback. And that was cool too.

As for the Skins, I don’t know which team will be showing up week to week, but the one that played Sunday, was tough, gutsy and lucky. Those twin stinkers against the Rams and the Texans are all forgiven now by Redskins Nation. An NFL season is a long grind. I, for one, will never have qualms with a team that misses the playoffs but tries its heart out and shows character in the process.

Those qualities eventually produce a winner.

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