Saturday, July 04, 2009

Steve McNair, from the archives

Here's from something I wrote about Steve McNair a few years ago:

Ever since watching him put up 336 yards in the 1999 season opener (while being booed by fans, incredulously), I have been a fan of number 9. Before that day, I had marked myself as a fan only of a team and not a player. I knew that players came and went too often for me to put my loyalty behind someone who likely wouldn't be on the team for any coming season. And so I was determined to not buy player jerseys, only team specific merchandise. For two seasons, I was true to my words. I watched the Oilers play in Memphis in 1997 and I watched them play in Nashville at Vanderbilt in 1998, and I hardly bothered to learn the names of the players. I rooted for my home team and that was that.

Then, 1999 came. My wife and I took our seats in what was called Adelphia Coliseum at the time. I was in my Titans cap and ready for another fun NFL game. I was ready to watch my team. But on the field that day, Steve McNair was on fire. He threw for over 300 yards and I think three touchdowns. I think his scrambling might have confused many fans, who started booing him as he was playing to catch up with the winning Bengals. All he was doing was putting up yards and points; our struggling defense was the only reason that Cincinnati was winning. And as we found ourselves down by two with about a minute to go in the game, Steve McNair moved the offense up the field, proving wrong his doubters, and got his team in position for a beautiful last second Al Del Greco field goal. With the first game in the books, the Tennessee Titans were 1-0 and on their way to a terrific season, one where we would play in the Super Bowl on the merits of a 13-3 record.

Before the second game of the season, yours truly was wearing a Steve McNair jersey, a fan of a player, going against my game plan. I knew that one day, he'd probably be on another team. It happens all of the time. But there was something about him that was the team.


monstermash said...

Thanks for the replay.

Sad day for Tennessee.

Ryan said...

This is a sad day indeed. He was a awesome QB and an asset to the game.

Anonymous said...

Michael and Paige am really too sad
about the murder of one of n'vile'
finest citizens. he took out time
when he could be at the swiming pool or something like that for the
poor, uneducated kids in tis world
and then opened up some restaurants
hear TSU so that they could have.
just like in NASCAR racing, i never
liked it all that considred, yet i
did watch it religiously with him
so that he and i would have things
to talk about besides music.
i'm grieving so much tonight that i
can't even wrap my arms around it.
what i HOPE will happens is that a
bum off the streets ended up doing
it to him.
see you on tuesday ~
lots of love to you both - mom

Geoff said...

After six weeks of not being able to follow your blog for being on the road, it is great to get your insights again. This is a beautiful tribute to the late McNair.

Summer said...

My thoughts on him mirror your's. I was skeptical about liking a specific player on the team, but Air McNair WAS the team. He caught so much crap for running out of the QB circle, but that team would have never made it to superbowl without his daring to be different. He was the reason I went to the coliseum so often during that first season and the only reason I continued to follow the team the subsequent seasons.

Anonymous said...

you know, michael, you're the one
who got me started on loving the
titans. before that, it was just
vandy beating UT and that was it.
but Steve McNair put his whole self
into the game - making positive the
titans won the game, no matter what. even when he was pretty much
out of the game, he would help out
at schools and camps showing kids
how to play football.
RIP Steve - the whole of middle TN
is in mourning for you. love - mom