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Return to Sender

Can you hear it?

This Sunday evening the murmurs of a tumultuous offseason will rise to a raucous roar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 4:15 p.m. EST, one Donovan McNabb, tossed unceremoniously and controversially out of the 'City of Brotherly Love’ just one short year ago, will trot onto Lincoln Financial Field once again. It will be loud. It will be dramatic. Whether it's adoration, or cheap Philly beer that rains down upon McNabb in that memorable moment remains to be seen.

The early season clash between the two bitter rivals is interesting enough on its own merits. In the chaos of a topsy-turvy 2010 NFC East, the division title appears to be up for grabs. The anointed ones in Dallas appear to be one big imploding mess. The Giants look positively diminutive. While the Redskins and Eagles have had their moments, neither has yet been able to seize decisive advantage. This game matters. Yet it’s the bizarre offseason events following the 2009 NFL season, culminating in the Eagle’s shocking trade of a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback to an interdivision rival, which make this one must-see-TV.

Whether the Redskins committed highway robbery snagging a franchise quarterback on the cheap, or the Eagles pulled a flanking maneuver to ambush an unsuspecting and naive enemy will be debated for decades. This Sunday night court is in session with both prosecutor and defendant presenting their opening arguments. A wise jury would wait for all of the evidence to be presented before rendering a decision. But in the court of public opinion, we may well have a verdict by game’s close.

What kind of reception should the venerable Mr. McNabb expect from his erstwhile Philadelphia supporters? Given the legendary misbehavior of brutish Eagles fans, and the fact that this well could be the game of the year for the majority of them, McNabb might not be optimistic about the chances of a warm, welcoming homecoming. Given Eagles fans penchant for tormenting everyone from Santa Claus to Redskins mascot Chief Zee, what are the chances McNabb’s return is met with polite applause? On this question, I’ll take a contrarian position.

I think Eagles fans rise and give McNabb a standing ovation...

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