Mama McNabb | Family Comes First

Six-time pro bowl quarterback, Donovan McNabb must have the most famous mom in sports.  Wilma McNabb as she is so affectionately called, “Mama” has been just that to not only her biological son, but to the many sons that trample the grassy turf of NFL football fields.  Mama McNabb came into the NFL with one goal and that’s to support and protect her son.  Every move he made was watched with the careful compassionate eye of a mother.  But she just wasn’t one of those women who stood on the sidelines cheering; made sure he was at practice on time and maybe shouted at the refs or at other players for pounding her son a bit too hard on the field.  Nope, not this mom. She was much more than a NFL mom, she was and still is a deeply rooted inspiration to every other NFL mom, the players and the NFL itself.  She pealed back her memories to reflect on the moment her son was drafted…

I didn’t fix myself to believe it would happen.  I wanted him to take advantage of his degree, but being drafted was the icing on the cake.  It was overwhelming to me at first…big tv, national exposure…there were goals to be set and to meet.  There were challenges, but we had to try to maintain.  I’m happy and proud of him.

Once Donovan took the field professionally, Mama McNabb took on the NFL off the turf.  There was so much she realized she could do to help her son stay focused and healthy.  She wanted to share that with other mothers and soon she became “Mama.”  Her strong belief in family values carried over into her role as President of the Professional Football Players Mother’s Association (PFPMA).  She worked diligently to increase charitable work in NFL cities, teaching mothers how to be philanthropists and how to conduct themselves at all times.

I’m well respected.  Now the NFL is embracing family.  Families are important to the life of a man…a NFL man.  I’m appreciative to the NFL for recognizing family.  The initiatives brought on by PFPMA were to help with solutions, training – we moms get the same speakers from players’ symposiums to assist with our sons- they forget sometimes and it’s our job to remind them.  We are their safety net if they allow it.

After I was no longer president and Donovan stopped playing, we realized how tired we are.  I meet new moms and they know of me – “We need you because we are a team”- we’ve been very blessed.

Now I know this sounds familiar.  Kind of like the Sunbeams from the BET television series, The Game? Right.  Mama McNabb and I laughed at the similarities as she stated that Wendy Raquel Robinson (Tasha Mack) is playing her role.  As she mentioned, she became very tired, but yet she had an inner strength pulling her…

I pray my strength and it just comes. My whole meaning in life, I think, is to help other mothers of athletes.  Help them though our experiences.

Her advice to other NFL moms is simply to support and sacrifice a little…put in the time needed to keep your son healthy and focused on and off the field.  Mama McNabb also talked about the challenges that made being attached to the NFL difficult.

His [Donovan McNabb] injuries were devastating to me and my husband.  He might have been hurt a few times in college, but never had an injury.  It bothered me a lot.  He always asked, “how are we going to get through this?”  It hurt me more – the negativity from the press can be crucial.

The thought may have always crept into her mind, but being the strong woman that she was, whenever her son wondered about his career, she responded by asking him when they would open up an ice cream shop.  Mama always has a backup plan.  She talked about how much she really would love to open up an ice cream shop and now that Donavah is retiring, she plans to do just that.  Plus there’s the foundation that she and her son started that she claims to be the joy of her life.  The Donovan McNabb Foundation (DMF) houses a diabetes camp in Philadelphia for inner city kids with diabetes for a week.  The foundation also had a scholarship fund.

There were unlimited endorsements and as things grew, I learned.  Soon I became very successful off the field.

And successful she is. Her most memorable moments came when she starred as herself in ongoing Chunky Campbell’s Soup commercials.  I remember those commercials and how much I wanted a can of Chunky Campbell’s soup because she made meat mixed with vegetables sound like ice cream on summer day or the old folks say, “the best thing since sliced bread.” Apparently everyone felt that way or at least loved the commercials because they ran for 5 years straight – must be one of the longest running commercial ads in history.

Being an entrepreneur can tricky and unpredictable, but with all of the experience Mama McNabb learned while her son trampled the field, she put her knowledge to use and created the McNabb Consulting Network. The network would do all the things she did as the president of PFPMA- speaking engagements, sports parenting and more.  But that’s not all she’s been up to.  Mama McNabb started her own record label.  Yes honey, read it again…she started her own record label known as McNabb Entertainment. One of her songs, “When Your Heart Is on the Field” simply speaks on watching her son’s every step and every move at every game.  She recently released a new album with 5 songs including a rap, “Just Shut Up.”

Mothers watch their sons and Fathers watch the game.

Mama McNabb means business, but family comes first.  – LSherie


I’m quite proud of you intelligent woman.  I think you’re doing a great thing. – Mama McNabb



Mama McNabb

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Donavan McNabb Foundation

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