Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Number Nine will always fly in Nashville

                   As we celebrate the greatness of our country on this 4th of July, we must not forget what happened three years ago on this day. Many in the NFL and sports world lost a true legend, Steve McNair. McNair was shot and killed in a hotel room three years ago. The alleged shooter, McNair's mistress,Sahel Kazemi, then shot herself. Making the crime a murder-suicide.

                 Many in Nashville, Tennessee, where McNair resided, as well as many other football fans throughout the world were stunned to hear the news that one of the great quarterback's of the early 2000's had passed away.

                 McNair was not only a great ambassador to the NFL but also the city of Nashville. McNair had numerous philanthropic efforts throughout the city of Nashville and the state of Tennessee that benefited the citizens and fans of both Tennessee and the Titans organization. 
Although fans were still disgruntled with the ownership for trading .the beloved "Air McNair" to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2006 off season, fans stilled poured out support once it was pronounced that their former star QB was dead. Shortly after news broke of Steve's death, Titans owner Bud Adams said the following, 

         "We are saddened and shocked to hear the news of Steve McNair's passing today. He was one of the finest players to play for our organization and one of the most beloved players by our fans. He played with unquestioned heart and leadership and led us to places that we had never reached, including our only Super Bowl. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they deal with his untimely passing." (AP). 

                McNair famed seasons took place during his stay in Tennessee. Steve wore the Titan blue for eleven seasons. At the 1995 NFL Draft, McNair was selected number three overall by the former Houston Oilers, now the Tennessee Titans. McNair first season of starting came in 1997, and just two years later, Mcnair helped lead the Titans to an appearance in the Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams. The Titans lost the game 23-16, as on the final play of the game Titans Wide Receiver, Kevin Dyson, was tackled one yard short of the goal line, securing victory for the Rams. 

              Then in 2002 the Titans made another run to the Super Bowl, with an 11 and 5 record in the regular season. However, in the AFC championship game the Oakland Raiders beat the Titans 41-24.
                     However, The very next season for McNair turned out to be his best. McNair had reached the pinnacle of  a player's performance in the NFL by winning an NFL MVP. However, McNair had to share the honor with Co-MVP, Peyton Manning. McNair finished the season with 24 passing touchdowns, over 3,000 passing yards, and just seven interceptions. 

             McNair was then traded to the Baltimore Ravens in 2006, along with long time Titan wide receiver Derrick Mason. Fans of the Titans were stunned to hear that their long time quarterback ,who led the team to their only Super Bowl, was traded. McNair spent only two seasons in Baltimore before retiring in 2008. 

             Many  fans of the Titans and McNair, including myself, are still sad over the loss of the great quarterback and man. McNair was an icon in the state of Tennessee. Whenever a sports fan thinks of the Tennessee Titans he or she thinks of Steve McNair. McNair, in my mind, should be a Hall of Famer,  "Air McNair' had over 30,000 passing yards and 174 passing touchdowns. McNair will also go down as being of the great players in Oilers/Titans franchise along the likes of Warren Moon, Earl Campbell, and Bruce Matthews. McNair is the icon of the Tennessee Titans and ,in my mind, he always will be.

Alex Hanon
Sensational Sports 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tiger's win at Congressional.

Yesterday in Bethesda, Maryland the king of golf may have returned. Tiger Woods won the AT&T National at the Congressional Country Club on Sunday with a score of eight under. Woods finished his victory with a two under par score in the final round. Woods was paired along with Bo Van Pelt and Brendon De Jonge.

Entering the final round, De Jonge was the outright leader of the tournament with a score of seven under, however he struggled in the final day of the tournament by shooting a six over par, including four consecutive bogeys on holes 9, 10, 11, and 12. Woods’ other competitor, Bo Van Pelt, was battling the former number one golfer in the world, all day Sunday. Whenever Tiger made an impressive shot or putt, Van Pelt would match it.

The entire tournament would come down to one hole, the 16th. Both players entered the hole nine under for the tournament. Both hit mediocre shots off the tee, but both men had open opportunities to score a birdie on the last par five of the round. Van Pelt’s second shot put him in a good situation that could result in a birdie if Van Pelt could chip the ball onto the green. Tiger’s second shot put his ball farther back of Van Pelt’s, but if hit right, the ball could land on the green for a birdie opportunity.

Tiger’s third shot was hit high and over the green into the rough, putting him in a position that would most likely result in a bogey on the hole for Woods. After Woods’ horrendous third shot, Van Pelt looked to cease the moment, and take control of the tournament.

As Van Pelt was thinking of the positives of making this critical shot, Van Pelt was preparing for his critical swing. As Van Pelt swung, the club head barely hit the face of the ball, causing the ball to go a miniscule distance. Van Pelt then chipped his ball onto the green still giving him an opportunity to save par on this difficult par five. Woods then hit a marvelous fourth shot onto the green giving him a chance to save par as well.  However, both missed critical par putts, and once again it was an even match between Van Pelt and Woods.

. The threesome now headed to the 17th tee. On the 17th Van Pelt would succumb to pressure by hitting his tee shot into the rough on the far right side of the hole. Tiger’s ball was hit beautifully off the tee and down the fairway giving Woods momentum.

The day did not end well for Van Pelt after the difficult 16th he would go onto bogey the 71st and the 72nd holes. Finishing the tournament six under par, Tiger, after a needed par on the 17th, concluded his week at Congressional by paring the final hole of the tournament, thus clinching his 74th career win on the PGA tour.
            Tiger’s win at Congressional breaks a tie with Jack Nicklaus for 2nd in  wins on the PGA tour. Tiger is now only needs eight more PGA Tour victories to tie Sam Snead for the most wins on the tour. The win for the Tiger is his third of the season.  Making him the first player on tour this season to have three wins. Woods’ other victories on the tour this season came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial Tournament. Woods’ recent wins have now ascended him to the top of the Fedex Cup standings.

            Despite Tiger’s recent wins on tour, many of his critics will still doubt him until he wins another major tournament. Many believe that Tiger will not be the old Tiger unless he wins a major. However, I believe that Tiger is back because he has shown that he can consistently compete for wins on tour every weekend and that he can instill fear in his opponent’s at their most critical times. For these reasons and more, I believe that Tiger Woods is truly back.

Alex Hanon