Monday, July 06, 2009

Steve McNair

We would be remiss, I suppose, for not commenting on Steve McNair considering we are a Nashville-based blog.

I did some research: The L & N Line has referred to Steve McNair 53 times (including this one) since our "birth" back in February 2003. There are a few random mentions, to be sure, within those posts, but I'm rather proud to see that we painted a fairly accurate picture of the man who is being so heavily discussed after his murder July 4.

Within these posts we mention his toughness, his leadership, and lament some of his deficiencies at QB, including this gem from Mike:

Also, McNair has a few games with low passing each year, and it usually doesn't matter. This is why he can play on my team any time, but never on my fantasy team.

McNair's ability at quarterback was never one to be filled with eye-popping stats, but he still won.

By the way, Mike: You happen to mention two athletes who would later die in one post. Cory Lidle and McNair get mentioned (as does Neil O'Donnell), and a particular phrase seems to stand out in it: "bloody excited." All out of context, but chilling nonetheless. I'll also note that I was living in the towns both people died in at the time of their deaths.

Also, we had our justifiable questions about McNair from KW with this post. The subject was Pacman Jones, but the subject of "hero worship" is well-discussed, briefly touching on the DUI arrest and how this town gave Steve McNair a huge pass on it. I kind of wish this blog extended back to the nineties, when McNair was heavily booed back in the day. Remember when McNair got the same treatment as Vince Young (even though I don't think there's a chance in hell Young will ever be McNair), and the Titans faithful wanted Neil O'Donnell all the time? The man made huge strides in this town to go from that to being forgiven for stuff like DUIs.

Plus, we discussed an embarassing moment in the McNair/Titans history, when he went unsigned due to that amazing $50 million bonus he was promised after all the times McNair renegotiated his contract to stay in Nashville. The worst of it was when he was barred from going into the weight room. A "didn't know any better" gem comes from Jonathan in the aftermath of this (bold letters are my emphasis):

So, Chris Mortensen has the inside scoop on the Steve McNair story. McNair is supposedly claiming that he will not help mentor a young QB if that's the route the Titans take with their number three pick. Whether he said this or not, how is this even news? When has McNair ever claimed to be a mentor to a young QB? Wouldn't that mostly take place in practice which McNair rarely participates in? The funniest part about the supposed big breaking story was how it alludes to Brian Billick's comment about there being a great over thirty QB out there, and he said he wasn't talking about Kerry Collins. Could he be talking about Steve-O? Maybe, maybe not. But somehow Mortensen takes this to mean that McNair would love to play for Baltimore. You want to attest to the truthfulness of Mortensen's reporting, fine. But he is the one that had that breaking story a couple months ago where Jeff Fisher was going to end up as the coach of the Rams. Good scoop, Chris. That came to be true.

Not two weeks ago I heard the story of McNair helping people out after the tornado that hit downtown Nashville in 1998. Jeff Fisher was talking about how worried he was his franchise QB was going out with a chainsaw (I suppose to cut down broken trees or loose tree limbs) in the aftermath of that storm. And of course, he helped out his home state of Mississippi after Hurrican Katrina. McNair has begun to take on a Paul Bunyan-esque legend for his various good deeds, and we may never know all of them. One caller on a national show over the weekend mentioned how he met McNair, became friends with him over the years, and how the caller's daughter went to school claiming her dad knew McNair and how the classmates made fun of her for lying. And then, catching wind of this, McNair came to their school and gave all the kids signed jerseys, basically as an "I told you so" Show and Tell.

Another man came on a national show and talked about how without any inquiry on his part, McNair "caught wind" that a youth football league didn't have enough money to buy equipment and registration fees, then went out and bought those things for this group of kids.

We still don't know everything about the reasons or circumstances for Steve McNair's murder, nor the woman Sahel Kazemi with whom he was found. We know he was a flawed hero, which I feel is the best kind, because it means that despite weaknesses we may have, we still have the ability to do lots of good. This is not to say that if we find out he was cheating on his wife it makes everything OK; it just means that a great guy has human flaws like all of us.

Here's one of my favorite plays from McNair, the penultimate play of Super Bowl XXXIV, in Spanish!

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At 7/07/2009 09:05:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I hate to speculate on the dead, but it does seem that there was a divorce coming, which makes the playing around with a younger women more acceptable. Not sure which one came first, of course, the divorce or the woman, and I kind of hope we never do. He brought more good than bad, and we should remember that.

One of the weirdest moments of this was seeing the Tennessean quoted in the Gazzetto Dello Sport (, the famous Italian language sport daily. Imagine seeing Demetria Kalodimos live on the BBC. It was one of the 20% of stories not futbol related.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

At 7/07/2009 06:42:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Awesome post, Chris. McNair has and will probably always be my favorite Titan; one of my favorite players overall. I've never been a number guy anyways, and I when it comes to football I just love a tough leader who knows how to win, and McNair fits that description to a tee.

I've been racking my brain trying to figure out my favorite McNair moment on the field. There was that season opener in 99 against the Bengals when McNair got booed off the field only to come back and lead the Titans from behind to a last second victory. Thanks to my Dad's generosity I got to see that up close and personal.

I still think my favorite was opening day in 2002, which I was lucky enough to be at as well. Titans were losing to the Eagles with a couple of minutes left in the game. I believe they were down by 5; I just remember a field goal wasn't going to cut it. No time outs and a 3rd and 19 or something ridiculous like that staring McNair in the face. It was a last effort; if this first down wasn't made the game was over. And of course McNair connected (With Bennet, I believe) for a first down. They went on to get the touchdown and win the game. Granted, they lost four in a row after that, and had that miraculous season comeback, only losing one game the rest of the way. Eventually losing to my sorry ass Raiders in the AFC championship. But that game was one for the books, and it was a great moment for McNair. He also had a brilliant comeback later that season against the Giants in New York. That was probably his best season overall. He will be dearly missed by many. So fucking sad!!!


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