- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 17, 2009


With their three-game losing skid over, the Caps get a major test when league-leading Boston comes to town. 7 p.m., CSN

For McNabb, a momentous matchup

In the careers of some of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, one ethereal night validated their existence. For Steve Young, it was six touchdown passes in Super Bowl XXIX. For John Elway, it was the helicopter spin in a Super Bowl win against the Packers. For Dan Marino… well, there was “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”

Donovan McNabb is still chasing his moment.

After three straight NFC championship game defeats and a narrow Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, here he is again with another chance to achieve what psychologists (not to be confused with sports pundits) call self-actualization - when a person reaches the pinnacle of life.

Without a doubt, the quarterback has done just about everything. Set most of the Eagles’ passing records. Thrown four touchdown passes on a broken leg. Started in a Super Bowl.

All that’s left is to win the whole thing. But that will first require a victory in Arizona, where the Cardinals have starred this season. It’s appropriate, in an odd way. After being flogged for losing two straight conference title games at home, McNabb has to win one on the road.

If he can do it, he’ll earn what might be his last shot to have his moment.

TWT Five Special edition: Best conference title games

1. 1981-82: 49ers edge Cowboys on “The Catch” - Joe Montana to a soaring Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone.

2. 2007-08: With a wind chill of minus 24 at Lambeau, Lawrence Tynes kicks the Giants past the Packers in overtime.

3. 1990-91: Giants’ Matt Bahr makes a field goal as time expires to beat the 49ers at Candlestick.

4. 1983-84: Redskins win on Moseley kick after 49ers rally from 21-0 deficit in fourth.

5. 1998-99: Falcons beat 16-1 Vikings on a Morten Andersen field goal in the first NFC title game to go to overtime.

1. 1986-87: “The Drive.” John Elway goes 98 yards to tie the Browns, and Denver wins in OT.

2. 1987-88: “The Fumble.” Cleveland’s Earnest Byner fumbles on Denver 3 with 1:05 left.

3. 2006-07: Peyton Manning finally overcomes the Patriots, setting a title-game record with the Colts’ 18-point rally.

4. 1994-95: Dennis Gibson bats away Neil O’Donnell’s pass at the goal line as the Chargers upset the Steelers.

5. 1995-96: Jim Harbaugh’s last-second Hail Mary grazes Aaron Bailey’s fingertips as the Colts fall at Three Rivers Stadium.

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