I’m amused by all the discussion of the benching of Donovan McNabb, the implications and the meaning. Growing up in Canada, I guess I am conditioned to be used to seeing stars benched. If a goalie is having a bad game he’ll often get the hook, no matter how big of a star he is. The player might not like it at the time, but it gets their attention usually, and they often come back next time and play like they are supposed to. I don’t see, then, why football is any different. McNabb got benched at half time of the Eagles’ game against Baltimore for one simple reason – he was totally, incredibly, and irredeemably awful. He was 8/18 for 59 yards and two picks. He deserved to be benched. The Ravens totally had his number, and Andy Reid, a guy who is now notably being referred to as a genius again after being washed up just a couple of weeks ago, had no reason to believe it was going to get any better. Since then, though, McNabb has pouted about the decision, pretended it wasn’t an issue when it clearly is, and done everything but move on and let it go. Here’s the thing, though – since McNabb was benched he has played much better, and he has led his team to where they should be. In other words, the move worked just like it was supposed to. I don’ get why we are still talking about this like it is a big deal almost two months after it happened. The way McNabb is dealing with it you would think the guy was somehow violated, not given a shot to regroup for another day. The sense of entitlement that he has, and that he is allowed to get away with, is ridiculous.
It seems odd to say, but right now it isn’t hard to make an argument that Tyler Hansbrough made a mistake by coming back for his senior year. He cmae back to win it all. In the last week, though, his team has lost twice. Losing is no big deal now – everyone does it. The bigger concern, though, is that Wake Forest and Boston College have both done it by doing the same basic thing, and the same thing that Kansas did to knock them out of the tournament last year – they were aggressive, and they didn’t let the Tar Heels set the tone. On top of that, Hansbrough isn’t even the best player in his conference right now – Wake’s Jeff Teague showed face-to-face that he is in a better place – never mind the country. I don’t want to suggest that all is lost, or even that the Tar Heels aren’t still the favorites to win it all. It’s just that things aren’t nearly as clear cut as they should have been for Hansbrough. If he left last year he would be rich and his collegiate legacy would be impeccable. Now it is at risk. In principle, I wish every player played four years in college. In reality, though, this is a case where it probably wasn’t the right decision.