I’m taking a break from my normal Raider ramblings to write a few words about former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair.
As you know by now, McNair died at the young age of 36 over the 4th of July holiday.
I’ll refrain from getting into the details of his death instead choosing to remember him as one of the greatest competitors to ever play the game of football.
From his days at Alcorn State to the final moments of his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens, “Air” McNair defined leadership. He played with a multitude of injuries and never used any of them as an excuse when he performed poorly. He remained professional even after his long time employer, the Titans, locked him out of the team facility amid a contract dispute. When he was named co-MVP of the NFL with Peyton Manning, he deferred the attention from himself, opting to dedicate the award to his teammates while explaining what an honor it was to share the moment with his rival.
McNair might just be the last of his kind. In an era when so many have become consumed with the spotlight and fame, Steve sought the respect of his teammates and the love of the fans. He played every game as if the season depended on it and had a never say die attitude.
Raider fans are sure to recall his performance in the 2003 AFC Title game in Oakland. The Raiders defeated the Titans that day by a score of 41-24 in route to the Super Bowl. The score does not reflect just how nervous Raider Nation was every time McNair’s offense took the field. McNair accounted for all three of the Titans touchdowns that afternoon, running for two and throwing for the other. He never quit on any play, frustrating the Oakland defense by making plays out of nothing.
Far too often we use hyperbole to describe the attributes of athletes. For McNair, there are really no words that do justice to the heart he displayed and the passion he played with. The game of football lost a great player when he retired and now a family has lost its father with his untimely death.
While most remember McNair for his pass to Kevin Dyson that came up just one yard short of the goal line in the heartbreaking Super Bowl loss to the St. Louis Rams, it was the previous play that defined the will and desire he always played with.
Thanks for sharing your gift with all of us, Steve McNair. You will be missed but never forgotten.
For those intereted in keeping abreast of any news regarding the life and death of Steve McNair, be sure to visit TitanSized.com.