Donovan, Donovan, Donovan.
Bro, you had the perfect opportunity to mend some fences with NASCAR Nation this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway and frankly, you kind of blew it.
might definitely recall, former NFL quarterback and owner of 117 career interceptions Donovan McNabb challenged the sport when he infamously said on FOX Sports Live, "Do I think he's an athlete? Absolutely not," in reference to then five-time, now six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and world-class athlete Jimmie Johnson.
It caused a bit of friction around the sport, even prompting classic Twitter lines from the likes of fellow Cup stars Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick, with Harvick's tweet "Cardio day in the gym today… Felt like @donovanjmcnabb in the 4th quarter… #sluggish" even garnering a response that read "Really funny @KevinHarvick" from the man who once heroically led the Minnesota Vikings to a 1-5 record in his six games with the team.
But hey, McNabb's an NFL guy. He probably isn't the only ex-footballer that thinks this. However, he said it on a national show so it got attention. Maybe he hadn't seen NASCAR racing up close and personal before and was not able to grasp the intensity, speed and skill involved just from watching on TV.
Except he has.
So, at Auto Club, McNabb decided to give it another chance. He came out, got a pace car ride with Clint Bowyer (would've loved to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation), drove the pace car himself, met up with Johnson and even had a seat on top of the 48's pit box during the race.
In an interview with NASCAR.com's Alan Cavanna, a fellow Syracuse alum and Orange superfan, McNabb had a chance to set the story straight, to say he's got a newfound respect for the sport and the drivers and that he was wrong.
AC: "What have you learned about a driver's athletic ability?"
DM: "Nothing. I learned it's a mental sport, they're physical at what they do, obviously they prepare. (Johnson)'s in great shape. He runs half-marathons and full-marathons, he does triathlons, whatever. I respect everything that they do to prepare themselves to get out there and be champions. Anything else? I stand by what I said and I think it's important that everybody understands. I'm not here to make friends. I do what I do."
So, you see. It all worked out. McNabb apologized and -- wait. No he didn't. He didn't do that at all.
There was also this gem.
DM: "I got a chance to drive the car myself."
AC: Were you scared?
DM: "Absolutely not. One thing you have to understand. If I'm driving a car, I'm going at my pace. So, I'm not driving 180 miles an hour. I don't have a need for speed. When my mom's driving in the car with me, she don’t like for me to drive fast, so I don't drive fast.
Probably because she doesn't want you to spill any Campbell's Chunky soup.
DM: "I went to 120 on the straightaway. Stayed away from the wall, so for all of you who think that I wouldn't get in the car and drive fast, that lets you know. Plus, ... (Bowyer) was doing about 140, I didn't flinch. Strong man here. That's how I do things."
So there you have it.
My hand is forced. I don't want to do what I'm about to do, but you're making me, Donovan.
Behold, the top five un-athletic moments from Donovan Jamal McNabb's NFL career.
1. Blowing chunks
There's some question whether or not this actually happened, but McNabb famously/allegedly vomited in the huddle during crunch time of his Philadelphia Eagles' 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. Former teammate Lito Sheppard corroborated the story, but McNabb denied it.
Nevertheless, here's some visual (slightly graphic) evidence of McNabb tossing his cookies in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So we at least know he's prone to it. Enjoy.
2. There's no tying in football!
Point blank: McNabb did not know that ties existed in the NFL. In 2008, after his Eagles were tied with the Cincinnati Benglas, 13-13, after a period of overtime, the contest was deemed a draw. After the game, McNabb said that he didn't know it was even in the rulebook, even though Philadelphia had been involved in a tie with the Baltimore Ravens in 1997, less than two years before his Eagles debut, and another tie happened in 2002 betweeen the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons -- after he'd already been in the league for three full seasons.
Look, Donovan. The new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup rules were totally different, but I'm sure Johnson memorized them within 30 seconds. Isn't it an athlete's job to know the rules of his craft?
3. That's my quarterback('s fault)!
You all remember the famous Jimmie Johnson/Dale Earnhardt Jr. feud of 2009, right?
Okay, to be fair here, there's just absolutely no way Terrell Owens was easy to get along with. Still -- McNabb campaigned to bring the embattled, uber-talented wide receiver to Philly, but because he couldn't keep a handle on Owens, the quarterback took major criticism and was no longer viewed as a leader. Simply put, disagreements between teammates should never, ever make countdown lists of the top feuds in sports history. This one did.
4. You know my hips don't lie
I can't even.
5. In(ter)ception, starring Leonardo DiCapriohnothegameisover
A true athlete performs at his best when the stakes are high. (See: Jimmie Johnson's Chase stats). For an example of what not to do, look no further than McNabb's NFC Championship-ending interception that landed in the hands of former Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber.
(Start at 1:01)
A few seasons later, puking or no puking, McNabb had a shot at redemption in the Super Bowl against New England. There was just no way he could let another Ronde Barber situation happen again.
This time, it was a Rodney Harrison situation.
(Start at 4:54)
Now that we've had our fun, Donovan, I hope you don't take this to heart, much like Jimmie Johnson didn't let your comments affect him. As you're very well aware, everyone is entitled to an opinion. In my opinion, your 13-year-career merits Hall of Fame consideration, especially according to Cavanna and his glorious orange socks.
However, when you made your comments about Johnson not being an athlete, you slighted the accomplishments, determination and athletic drive of perhaps the greatest figure the sport has ever seen.
You say you're a strong man and that's how you do things.
A strong man can admit when he's wrong.