One of the more amusing moments of today’s Donovan McNabb press conference — declared “the most ridiculous part” by Dan Steinberg at the DC Sports Bog — came fairly late in the event. After a fairly serious question that prompted McNabb to emphasize just how much of a Redskin he is, a media member who failed to introduce himself offered up this question:
“There’s talk of you being a potential Hall of Famer. Your stats show that you’re at or about that right now. If you continue your success or have success here and perhaps finish your career here, would you consider going into the Hall of Fame as a Redskin?”
Response on Twitter was … underwhelmed, to say the least. So I caught up with the guy after the press conference to find out what, exactly, he was thinking.
His name is Dave Kopecki. He’s a born-and-raised Washingtonian, a former JMU student, a lifelong Redskins fan, a semi-retired member of the media who was covering the presser as a freelancer. He had a similar moment of Redskins press conference fame when he asked Joe Gibbs at his re-introductory presser if he intended to serve the full five years of his contract, and he mostly stood behind this question as well.
“It was somewhat done in a sarcastic way,” he explained. “I didn’t expect him to say ‘Oooo, when i get to the Hall of Fame.’ It was done as literally trying to plant a seed, because I believe he’s gonna make it. He would literally have to fall flat on his face from this point on to not make it. So if he just performs at a reasonable level and perhaps plays out his career here…. Other guys have done it where they play the majority of their career with one team, and finish and have some good years with another team, and they went in with the last team they were with.”
Planting the seed was one goal. The second goal was perhaps more laudable. “I thought to myself: I know the Philly fans are ticked off. I just thought that, being the way he was treated in Philadelphia, he had some good times but probably didn’t get the respect he deserved. It may be a shot back at the Philly organization, like, ‘Hey, here I played at a Hall of Fame level for you.’”
And the third goal speaks to a universal truth: Redskins fans really like getting Redskins elected to the Hall of Fame. “I just thought it might be nice to have another Redskin in,” he shrugged, “because we all love to have Redskins in the Hall of Fame, love putting those guys in there.”
The one problem, I hesitantly pointed out, is that you don’t actually go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame “with” a particular team. It’s not like baseball, where you’re wearing one cap.
“You go in as a certain team, if I’m correct,” he said. “If I’m correct, you are able to choose the team. If I’m correct on that.”
Unfortunately, Kopecki was not, in fact, correct on that. From the Pro Football Hall Of Fame Selection Process FAQ:
Is a New Hall of Fame Member Enshrined as a Member of a Team?
Obviously, teams take great pride in the accomplishments of individuals who have been a part of their organization. Often individual teams and even the Hall of Fame will list enshrinees according to the team or teams on which they spent a significant period of time. An enshrinee, however, is not asked to “declare,” nor does the Hall of Fame “choose” a team under which a new member is enshrined. When elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, an individual is recognized for his accomplishments as a player, coach, or contributor.
At least we now know who Kopecki was and that his intentions were good. And it didn’t matter all that much, in the end, since McNabb’s answer reflected mild bemusement more than anything else.
“None of my concern,” McNabb said. “At this point, there’s nothing about Hall of Fame in my mind. Let that just go years from now.”
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