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Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick: An Amazing Rise and Fall For Both Quarterbacks

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Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick have a few things in common. Aside from being former teammates, they at one time or another were considered running quarterbacks and heavily criticized for their accuracy. One was perceived a winner (McNabb) by the national media despite coming up short in the big games. The other (Vick) was considered a playmaker with limitations that would expose him against tough defenses in the playoffs.

In the end Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick also both became superstars and fell on their faces. Just so happens that Michael Vick went through his hell three years ago following the dog fighting scandal and happens to be back on top of the world.

Donovan McNabb on the other hand is going through a season of hell and it hasn't finished. Now that he has been reduced to a third string role he will have to pick up the pieces in another city. It's sad to say but the years of injuries and ignoring his conditioning problems have caught up to him. Added to that, he's an old 34 and playing more like a 38 year-old player. It's a proven fact that once players hit their 30's they have to work that much harder to sustain a high-level of play. He could learn a thing or two from Michael Vick, who has worked around the clock to improve his accuracy and redefine his career.

There's always a chance that Donovan McNabb can make a comeback with another team. The Arizona Cardinals will certainly be looking for a veteran QB once the labor situation is resolved in 2011. The Vikings will also be looking for a new QB. Randall Cunningham was able to do it with Minnesota back in 1998, but Cunningham also had elite players around him like Chris Carter, Randy Moss, and Robert Smith.

vickMcNabb and Vick will be forever connected not just because Vick ended up becoming McNabb's eventual replacement but because one has risen so far while the other has sunk to the low point of his career in the same season.

Vick's rise to the top is one of the more amazing stories in recent sports history. Even though it was clear he was a better fit for this team due to a weak offensive line (according to Philly2Philly's Steve Olenski) it still wasn't a slam dunk he would still remain the starter for the rest of the season. Then Andy Reid announced he would remain the starter for the rest of the season and Vick even wound up getting injured in the Eagles' loss to the Redskins. It seems like eons ago when McNabb was running his mouth about how much of a mistake it was for the Eagles to let him go - following their victory over the Birds in October. Fast forward 6 weeks later, Michael Vick and the Eagles destroyed the Redskins, thereby marking the beginning of the end of their season. Once Vick returned from injury, he hasn't looked back.

Not even Stephen Gaghan could have written a movie like this - chronicling the meteoric rise of Vick and the thunderous fall of McNabb. This time a year ago, McNabb was poised for yet another playoff run with the Eagles while Vick was a third stringer. Fast forward a year and McNabb is complaining about how he was disrespected by Mike Shanahan who demoted him to becoming a third stringer. And, in true McNabb fashion he is playing politics and saying he wants to come back with the Washington Redskins.

McNabb's future is up in the air. Michael Vick on the other hand, is an MVP candidate and poised to become the Eagles' quarterback for many years to come.

Michael Vick's historic comeback is the story of the NFL season, but the fall of Donovan McNabb is a close second.

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com