Remembering Steve McNair

4 Jul

July 4, 2009 – People throughout Nashville and the Middle Tennessee area were getting ready for a big Fourth of July celebration. The huge fireworks show in downtown was being prepared. Streets were being blocked off for the crowds. People were cooking out in the surrounding counties. I had just shown up at my friend’s house in Rutherford County.

That is when the shocking news began to spread. I got texts. We turned on the television. News vans had descended on a condo in Nashville where Steve McNair was found dead.Steve McNair

I did not know Steve McNair. One night, I saw him shooting pool in a bar, but that does not mean you know someone. However, I was one of thousands of people who walked into a football stadium and watched him play quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.

He was more than a quarterback. He was the icon of a city. When the Houston Oilers became the Tennessee Titans, a lot of people thought it would never work. Nashville was not big enough to support an NFL team. The first years proved the doubters right as the team struggled in Memphis and at Vanderbilt’s stadium before getting a home of their own. As the team struggled, Steve McNair got much of the blame.

However, when they got into the new stadium, the abilities of McNair and the rest of the team appeared. Imagine not having an NFL team in your city then getting one. Take your imagination further and think about how it would feel if that team went to the Super Bowl in their first year. On top of that, include a miracle play that propelled them on the magical run.

That year was great, and the fans were spoiled. Heck, this must be the way it is going to be every year.

I was in the Georgia Dome when Steve McNair almost completed one of the great comebacks in Super Bowl history. The team fell one yard short, but it epitomized what we would see from him in the years to come.

Steve McNair was a quarterback, but he was also a leader. He showed his toughness by playing hurt and running over defenders. He proved his college nickname of “Air McNair” was true when he won the MVP award. People admired him for his leadership and his ability. It was as if nothing could bring Steve McNair down.

Five years ago, that was proven wrong. As the days passed, the coverage of his death was constantly on television. It was one of the biggest news stories in Nashville’s history. People wondered what happened, and, eventually, the police told us. Steve McNair was the victim of a murder/suicide carried out by a young woman he had a relationship with. Obviously, that young woman was not his wife.

I am not here to judge him on his decisions. I am here to say that those who saw him play will remember those great games, but they will also remember when they heard the news of his death. On July 4, the people of Middle Tennessee celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and cookouts. However, many of them will also think about Steve McNair; the impact he had on this area; and the tragedy that befell him.

6 Responses to “Remembering Steve McNair”

  1. Andrew Petcher July 4, 2014 at 15:20 #

    What are the chances of soccer challenging American Football for popularity in the USA?

    • Rick July 4, 2014 at 15:31 #

      The older generations will never accept soccer, but the younger generations are latching on. There are all kinds of youth leagues, and it is becoming a more popular sport in the schools. Decades ago, no one would have imagined football being more popular than baseball.

      Football is facing difficulties from the life-long injuries it creates. That may erode it as the years pass.

      • Andrew Petcher July 4, 2014 at 15:44 #

        USA is 13th in the FIFA world rankings which is pretty good. It is also as high as 18th in world Rugby Union rankings. The rest of the world are unlikely to play American football or baseball so will the USA drift towards the more popular global sports if it is to compete internationally?

      • Rick July 4, 2014 at 16:34 #

        I think the problem is tradition. The older generations didn’t grow up with it and don’t appreciate the nuances of the game. For example, I don’t understand the strategies. As younger generations grow up with the game, it will grow with them.

  2. returntothe80s July 16, 2014 at 17:58 #

    I liked Steve McNair. That was so sad. I was rooting for the Titans in that Super Bowl. What a game that was!

    • Rick July 21, 2014 at 14:24 #

      I think it still ranks as one of the best Super Bowls. He was a tough player and almost willed them to a win.

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