Yesterday was a sad day in the world of sports. Steve McNair announced his retirement from the NFL. This comes as a huge surprise because McNair had every intention of playing quarterback this year for the Baltimore Ravens. However, his body was telling him something different. McNair said during his press conference, “My mind was there. Mentally, I could go out and play. But physically, I couldn’t do it anymore. Not to the capacity that I need to help my teammates win a football game.”
Now this retirement will not make the big news splash like the retirement of Brett Favre a few weeks ago. There will be no Sportscenter specials, no TV show highlighting the greatest moments of his career, and no questioning who will follow the legacy he left. There will be a small story on ESPN.com and a small two minute story on Sportscenter. This will not be a big deal next week. There will be no talk of an anticipated comeback.
However, the NFL lost an incredible player yesterday. As a big Tennessee Titans fan, Steve “Air” McNair is one of (if not the) greatest Tennessee Titans of all time. We saw him mature and become an amazing quarterback after the Titans (then the Houston Oilers) drafted him out of little known Alcorn State. He was the face of the Titans when they moved from Houston to Nashville.
McNair was always known for playing through injuries and being a tough player. Titans fans and fantasy football players can remember sweating through the week while hearing the grocery list of McNair’s injuries only to see him throw on his #9 jersey on Sunday and somehow play and most of the time win. But to remember him only as a tough player who played through injuries would be a disservice to Steve McNair. Here is a list of some of his career stats:
- 31,304 career passing yards
- 174 career thrown touchdowns, 37 career rushing touchdowns
- 3,590 career rushing yards (5th most by a quarterback)
- 1 of 3 players with 30,000 passing yards and 3,500 rushing yards (with Tarkenton & Young)
- 91-62 career record as a starting quarterback
- Only active quarterback with more wins is Peyton Manning
- 2003 Co-MVP with Peyton Manning
- His last full season as a starting quarterback (2006), he led the Ravens to a 13-3 record
And who can forget Super Bowl XXXIV? Steve McNair led the Titans to their first Super Bowl in franchise history. They faced up against the St. Louis Rams and their dreaded “Greatest Show on Turf”. McNair’s resilience led them back in the game’s closing moments only to see them come up one yard short from tying the game as time ran out. It was officially the most gut-wrenching sports moment of my life.
Thanks, Steve, for all the memories. You’re a hall-of-famer in my book. Goodbye Steve, you will be missed!