Donovan McNaab loves experimenting with new restaurants in his adopted hometown of Philadelphia. But he hasn't found anywhere that makes his mother's red beans and rice.As an All-Pro quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, Donovan McNabb has put himself in a position to be remembered alongside some of the city's sports greats - Hall of Fame names like Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Mike Schmidt, and Bobby Clarke. Since joining the team in 1999, his No. 5 jersey has been a wardrobe requirement for any serious sports fan in Philadelphia. He's become as synonymous with the city as cheesesteaks and the Liberty Bell. He's also become a part of another Philadelphia tradition: frustration.
McNabb finally led the Eagles to the Super Bowl last season after previously coming up short in three straight NFC title games. The Eagles' streak of futility, however, was much longer than McNabb's: The team hadn't made it to the big game since 1981. After playing it tough against the reigning champion New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, McNabb and the Eagles fell just short, losing 24-21. The defeat further extended Philadelphia's fruitless quest for any major sports championship to 22 years.
The loss sticks in 28-year-old McNabb's craw: He defiantly says the Eagles have "some unfinished business to do with [Patriots quarterback] Tom Brady and his boys." Going into his seventh pro season, McNabb yearns to take his adopted city to pro football's promised land, especially now that he understands the thwarted mind-set of the Eagles' die-hard fans. It's the same as his. It just took him some time to catch up.
Since he shares the same burning desire as Philadelphia natives to win, McNabb has at least one qualification when it comes to serving as tour guide for this historically sports-crazed city. McNabb and his family - wife Raquel and their infant daughter (McNabb loves taking her to home games at Lincoln Financial Field) - are still exploring the city. They like discovering new local attractions and restaurants. McNabb also enjoys unwinding in downtown Philadelphia's Old City neighborhood and strolling along Market Street, where Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence.
McNabb found some time during his busy off-season (which included filming a guest appearance on George Lopez) to toss us some suggestions on where to go and what to do in Philadelphia.
Philly is a big-time sports town that's gone a long time without a championship. How anxious are the fans for a title?
They're very supportive and very into their own particular sports. You look at other teams across the league and in other sports, the attendance factor is not like it is in Philadelphia, where the games are always sold-out. We're always going to have our fans behind us. Sure, they're going to express their opinions, but you've got to love that because it keeps you on your game and gets your adrenaline flowing. You just know that people love their football across the Philadelphia area and Pennsylvania. They're counting down to opening kickoff and are ready to go. As a player, that gives you added drive and motivation. Let's bring it on.