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 

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