When he became an NFL starter, he met with instant success. He quickly led his team deep into the postseason, a rare example of success among a peer group that was mostly known for failure. In fact, his skills were so great that his coaches began over-relying on him. They limited his protection and/or started to neglect the running game despite the presence of Pro Bowl talent in the backfield.
As a result, this star was hit early and often. The team's performance started to plummet, and he was injured and had to be replaced by back-ups. Strangely, those back-ups often out-performed him, because the coaches finally remembered they had running backs who could run and block, not just catch passes. Public sentiment started to move against him. Perhaps he had just been lucky, and now, as he aged, the game was passing him by? But they failed to notice the team's poor draft record in filling critical need areas, and the coach's stubborn refusal to learn clock management and switch up his offensive system as the rest of the NFL started to catch up.
The player I have described is...
Strange, isn't it? There is an odd symmetry between the careers of Kurt Warner and Donovan McNabb that you wouldn't expect. The years do not match up perfectly, but the storyline does. It's something that should give Eagles fans and Andy Reid pause. Oh, Donovan has probably earned himself a few more years by taking the Eagles to the NFC Championship game, but I thought it was worth bringing up here.