Donovan McNabb 'absolutely' thinks he's a Hall of Famer, says he has better numbers than Troy Aikman

Donovan McNabb was mostly a very good NFL quarterback over the course of a career that spanned 13 seasons, but he is not a Hall of Famer, at least not as of this year. That could always change in the future, of course, and on Friday, McNabb made his case during an interview with TMZ.

McNabb not only believes he's a Hall of Famer. He also believes he's better than Troy Aikman, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

"Absolutely," he said. "I'm not hesitating on that. I am a Hall of Famer. My numbers speak for itself."

Later he said, "My numbers are better than Troy Aikman, but he has Super Bowl rings."

So, let's compare the two quarterbacks, whose careers actually overlapped briefly. McNabb played for the Eagles, Redskins, and Vikings from 1999-2011. Aikman played for the Cowboys from 1989-2000. So the length of their careers is roughly the same too. 

McNabb's not wrong. Most of his passing numbers are better than Aikman's.


Comp %YardsTDsINTsRating

McNabb

59.0

37,276

234

117

85.6

Aikman

61.5

32,942

165

141

81.6

His numbers as a runner are also better.


YardsTDs

McNabb

3,459

29

Aikman

1,016

9

However, it's important to note that even though the two did overlap briefly at the end of Aikman's career and the beginning of McNabb's career, they didn't play in the same era. McNabb might not have played in today's version of the NFL, but he did play in an era that started to see the league shift towards a pass-heavy league dominated by quarterbacks.

According to Pro Football Reference, the average passer rating in Aikman's first season (1989) was 75.6. The average passer rating in Aikman's final season (2000) was 78.1. Meanwhile, the average passer rating in McNabb's first season (1999) was 77.1. The average passer rating in McNabb's final season (2011) was 84.3. It's something to remember when seeing McNabb's statistics in comparison to Aikman. He played in a better passing era.

In 2004, McNabb actually became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 30-plus touchdowns and fewer than 10 interceptions in a single season. Since then, it's been done 22 times, which highlights just how much football has changed.

Where Aikman has McNabb beat is in rings, which -- fair or not -- is how we often judge quarterbacks. Voters care about rings. As McNabb mentioned in the interview, it's why someone like Eli Manning will likely get into the Hall of Fame.  

McNabb started 16 playoff games across seven postseason trips and made it to one Super Bowl, but he never captured a ring. And the most memorable moment from his lone Super Bowl appearance was McNabb slowly leading the Eagles downfield on a two-minute drill that took nearly four minutes off the clock. 

Aikman won three Super Bowls. He also claimed one Super Bowl MVP award.

Since the playoffs do matter, let's compare how they fared in postseason action. It's Aikman who played better as a passer.


Comp. %YardsTDsINTsRating

McNabb

59.1

3,752

24

17

80.0

Aikman

63.7

3,849

23

17

88.3

But it should come as no surprise to see McNabb was better as a runner.


YardsTDs

McNabb

422

4

Aikman

87

1

Regardless of you feel about the McNabb vs. Aikman debate, there's no denying just how good of a player McNabb was. Whether or not he's good enough to become a Hall of Famer remains to be seen. 

He's been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2017, but has yet to make it past the initial nomination phases.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories