RIP Steve McNair

Ex- Titans/Ravens QB McNair died this weekend in an apparent murder-suicide. You won’t usually find me talking about sports on this blog, but McNair is an exception. Superbowl XXXIV—January 30, 2000—was the last superbowl I ever watched from start to finish; after that, I went cold turkey on my NFL habit, in large part to make room for the writing, which dominated my weekends for the next seven years.

And I like to think I went out on a high note, because few Superbowls have held a candle to XXXIV.  Most commentators focus on the final play of the game, in which Dyson caught McNair’s pass but was tackled on the 1 yard line, forever caught on instant replay holding the ball out toward the goal-line.  But the really incredible play was the one before it, in which McNair was flushed from the pocket and danced like a man with legs made of rubber before hurling the ball downfield even as he was being pulled to the turf.  (Dyson caught the pass near the 10 yard line, setting up the final play.)  McNair and the Titans lost the Superbowl, but I’ve always seen greatness as a fractal concept. . . sometimes it’s just a single moment that gets you there.  McNair had many such moments, but I’ve never seen anything like that last mad scramble, and I doubt we ever will again.  This NFL highlight tape has both plays on it; look and see for yourself.  And RIP Steve, you deserved far better than the hand you were dealt.

Tags: , ,

4 Responses to “RIP Steve McNair”

  1. J. Says:

    McNair was not a great passer (nor even a very good one), but he sure was one hell of a quarterback (and that seeming contradiction is why QB is the most interesting position in all of American pro sports).

    Never knew you were a one-time NFL junkie. Don’t think I could kick the habit if I tried.

  2. meesh Says:

    i am a secret NFL watcher too and this was the oddest news of the weekend for sure….

  3. Lino Says:

    Dave, I didn’t know that about you. You should’ve seen last year’s SB if you thought Titans Rams was good. Well, to hell with it anyway and good for you and your writing.

  4. David Williams Says:

    @ J: agreed, QB position endless fascinating. McNair right up there with Cunningham in his rushing ability.
    @Meesh: your secret’s safe with me.
    @Lino: believe me, I’d love to get back on the wagon. some day . . .