Remembering Steve McNair

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

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Tags: Kevin Dyson Peyton Manning Steve McNair

  • nick @

    hey fellas, thanks for the post. the outpouring of support has been really amazing. we’re all still a bit in shock. just absolutely crazy.

    i just wanted to share a funny store a buddy of mine who currently lives in oakland told me this afternoon. he is one of the biggest titans fans i know, so needless to say he has been repping steve and the titans for the last few days. he told me that at least five people have come up to him so far on the street and said “man, i hated playing against that guy. just hated him. but, he was the toughest son-of-a-gun that we’ve ever seen play and we always enjoyed watching him do his thing against other teams. he was a gift to the game of football and fans all over the world will miss him and remember his contributions to the game and his community.”

    pretty well said i thought. he was indeed one-of-a-kind. there will never be another “air mcnair”. hopefully people can remember all of the good stuff, both on and off the field, that steve left for us instead of the events surrounding his untimely passing.

    thanks again for the post and let steve’s memory live on for a long, long time.

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  • subwarrior

    It is a sad commentary on our society when a man can die in an apparently boldfaced adulterous relationship and be deified and lionized at the same time. What kind of principles do we as a society have? His football exploits aren’t worth a hill of beans next to the shattered family left without a leader. And for those of you indignant about judging, why don’t you live a life that is an example for others, instead of mindlessly praising a life that is a horrible example for young people everywhere. As for me, please give me a person who is a real MAN for an example and role model, and is where he ought to be, with his family, instead of a pleasure seeking, lust driven poor excuse for what a man Ought to be. This is not going to be popular, but the truth rarely is. I am tired of reading the comments of gullible, naive, idolatrous fans who miss the point entirely and wax poetic about the football career. If he had not committed adultery this never would have happened. How about that for some thought?

  • Chris Shellcroft


    I feel where you are coming from. I’m not saying that McNair’s choices should be ignored but at the end of the day the only reason we care about him is because he played ball. If he was working at Wal-Mart then this would not even be an issue. Therefore, I choose only to comment on the football player since this is the McNair I knew.

    His personal life is very public now so I’m not one to say what the opinions of him should be. In the end, I don’t look for athletes to be role models in anyway other than how they conduct themslves on the field. Not giving him a pass on his actions, just choosing to comment on the only reason why Steve McNair matters to any of us who did not know him.

    To quote Allen Iverson, “Ain’t nobody squeeky clean.” We all make bad choices in life, his was punished in a very unjust way but in the end it was his decision. Just the way it is.