This article is from the archive of our partner .

Among the things Philadelphia sports fans are known for: booing Santa Clause, projectile vomiting, firing off flare guns on Monday night football. Among the things Philadelphia sports fans are not known for: graciously and warmly welcoming back former icons now playing for a hated rival. Yet that's exactly what Philadelphia Eagles fans did yesterday when Donovan McNabb--the team's quarterback from 1999 to 2009--arrived for his first game at Lincoln Financial Field since being traded to the Washington Redskins earlier this year. The crowd heartily cheered the six-time Pro Bowler during pregame introductions. Those covering the game (won by Washington), could scarcely hide their surprise:


  • "I think the Eagles fans did one of the classiest things I've seen in that city in -- well, in forever, when they heartily cheered Donovan McNabb." - Peter King, Sports Illustrated
  • "As McNabb took the field and his name was announced over the public address system, most of the crowd of 69,144 rose in an impromptu standing ovation. It was a touching salute, and a highly unusual one from Philly fans who more habitually spew invective." - Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post
  • "It's hard to imagine a better homecoming for McNabb. He pounded his chest and raised his right hand to show his appreciation to the crowd as they gave him a standing ovation during the pregame introduction. And after the Redskins held on for the win, [Redskins coach Mike] Shanahan flipped him the game ball in the locker room. The FOX cameras captured his postgame speech, which came at the prompting of his new teammates." - Matt Mosley, ESPN.com
  • "With the game falling short in the drama department, all that was left was the reaction of Philadelphia - the fans, the media, the players - to McNabb. That was noteworthy only because it wasn't newsworthy. Nothing was thrown. No one was Tased. The fans cheered as McNabb ran on the field and kept up the applause as he was shown on the big video boards. It was classy of the fans, classy of the Eagles to feature him on the screens, classy of McNabb to raise his arm in acknowledgment." - Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer
  • "Philadelphia sports fans don't apologize for booing, even when it's the home team. But whatever derision some had towards former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was drowned out by rousing cheers for him Sunday as he was introduced as quarterback of the Washington Redskins." - Sean Leahy, USA Today
  • "Congratulations people, you got it right." - Clark Judge, CBS Sports

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.