Remembering Steve McNair

Remembering Steve McNair
Remembering Steve McNair
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Mike Tanier

Steve McNair's career-defining moment was a loss, his most memorable play a failure.

McNair never won a Super Bowl, but no quarterback ever lost one the way he did. McNair, league co-MVP in 2003, four-time Pro Bowler, earned the kind of respect losing Super Bowl XXXIV that most players only get from winning. In the coarse world of modern professional sports, where winning championships is the only praiseworthy feat and losers are mocked and derided, he proved that moral victories are still possible.

"He's going to take us where we hope to go"

McNair signed the largest rookie contract in NFL history on July 22, 1995. One week later, he ran gassers on an empty field as his teammates watched.

It was part rookie hazing, part retribution for McNair's brief contract holdout. The quarterback ran ten 20-yard dashes back-to-back while players taunted and on-lookers cheered. By the end of the sprints – which occurred after a long day and week of practice -- McNair was starting to slow down. "I was a little bit tired," McNair said. "It's something you have to expect. I enjoyed it. It's going to make me a better player."

A week later, McNair entertained teammates at a barbecue by chasing and catching a live pig. "To be honest, it wasn't that hard," he said. "I'm just a country boy from Mississippi. That wasn't the first time I had caught a pig."

The rookie McNair was an enigma. He was both a small-school unknown and a victim of over-hype. Alcorn State lay far off the football map, but a Sports Illustrated cover story, a long list of NCAA records and the "Air McNair" nickname made McNair seem more like a fluky curiosity than a true prospect. He was a black quarterback, which was still noteworthy at the time. But following close on the heels of Warren Moon in Houston, he wasn't breaking new ground. His contract with the Oilers made him one of the highest-paid players in the NFL, but the gasser-running, pig-catching McNair remained quiet and humble.

Teammates expecting a brash rookie upstart got to know a different McNair in 1995. He was briefly rechristened "McMillionaire," and receiver Haywood Jeffries was one of many to make light of the new face with the $28 million contract. "He's definitely going to have to get in some of our card games," Jeffries said. "I have a mortgage to pay." When teammate Todd McNair told the rookie that he was a distant cousin, Jeffries said he "was trying to lie his way into the will." But after a few days of practice, teammates and coaches stopped talking about McNair's contract and began praising his preparation and approach to the game. "He's hungry and he's been studying," said offensive coordinator Jerry Rhome. "He's running very smooth." Rhome and head coach Jeff Fisher let McNair play a few series in a scrimmage against the Cowboys, and the rookie went 5-of-10 for 30 yards. After the team barbecue, he was besieged by autograph seekers, who quickly embraced McNair as the new face of the Oilers.

McNair won over teammates, coaches, and fans, but he couldn't win a starting job. The Oilers had a serviceable quarterback in Chris Chandler, and the climb from Alcorn State to the NFL was steep, even for a player like McNair. McNair would spend two years on the Oilers bench, not as a disappointment, but as an understudy. After those first days of camp, McNair knew he had to be patient. "I'm not going to say I should play my first year, my second year," he said. "I just want to learn things and get where I feel comfortable. I'm still making mistakes, but I'm going to do what it takes to get things corrected."

On the day he signed McNair, Oilers owner Bud Adams wasn't worried about an extended apprenticeship. He was taking a long-range view, listing McNair next to Oilers greats Billy Cannon, Earl Campbell, and Warren Moon. "Cannon, Campbell and Moon helped make the Oilers winners," Adams said. "When we drafted Billy, we won the first two AFL championships. When we drafted Earl, we almost reached the Super Bowl. When we signed Warren, he led us to the playoffs seven straight years. Steve's going to be in the same category. We knew he was a special quarterback when we drafted him. I know he's going to take us where we hope to go -- the Super Bowl."

Adams was right. McNair took the franchise to the Super Bowl. When he got there, he made a different kind of history.

"It's Sad to Come That Close"

Before One Yard Short, Super Bowls didn't end like that.

In the 1990s, saying you only watched the Super Bowl for the commercials didn't sound contrary or ironic. Games were salted away by halftime, usually by NFC powerhouses like the Cowboys or 49ers, though the Broncos had recently broken the NFC hegemony. Even hardcore football fans saw the Super Bowl as the frothy foam on the season, a game with high stakes but low entertainment value and a foregone-conclusion outcome.

One Yard Short was the fantastic finish that touched off a run of fantastic finishes. McNair and receiver Kevin Dyson started a trend. In this decade, we've grown fat on Adam Vinatieri field goals, David Tyree helmet-catches, and Santonio Holmes heroics. One Yard Short lives forever in our memories, but what was arguably once the Greatest Super Bowl Ever is now struggling to stay in the top five.

McNair didn't throw a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXIV. He failed on a two-point conversion that changed the outcome of the game: Dyson lunged to tie the game on that final play (assuming the extra point), not win it. McNair's performance was statistically unspectacular. You had to see it to understand. "My hat is off to that guy," said Rams linebacker Mike Jones, who made the final tackle. "He left it all on the field," Fisher said. "He's a warrior. He's a battler," said Rams defensive end Kevin Carter. "The people who didn't know Steve McNair before will know him now," said Titans tight end Steve Wycheck.

McNair himself was philosophical. "It's sad to come that close and come up short after playing such a great game. That's the bad part of this game. Someone has got to lose, but why couldn't it be a tie?"

"There is no controversy ... Steve is our starter."

A tie would have fit McNair's career at that point. His first four seasons with the Oilers franchise were marked by 8-8 seasons –- three of them -– plus a 7-9 record his rookie year. The franchise lacked identity, moving from Houston to Tennessee and playing as the Tennessee Oilers for two years before becoming the Titans. The Oilers-Titans played in college stadiums and drew little national media attention. The franchise spent four years idling while Adams completed the Houston-to-Nashville shift, and McNair's record and stats were unspectacular.

By 1999, the Titans had a new stadium, but McNair was no superstar despite two seasons as a starter. Fans booed him when he fumbled in the first game in Adelphi Coliseum, but they warmed to their quarterback when he brought the team back from a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Bengals. Four days later, McNair missed practice with back spasms that had bothered him since training camp. He practiced a day later, then felt more tightness.

He wouldn't play again until Halloween.

In McNair's absence, veteran backup Neil O'Donnell went 4-1 as a starter, setting the stage for a quarterback controversy. Young versus experienced, talented versus efficient, black versus white, first place versus another potential .500 season lost to development: locker rooms have been torn apart over far less. The Titans didn't splinter. "Neil is a great acquisition who's helped us get to this point," tight end Frank Wycheck said. "But Steve's our starter, that's been clear from the beginning. That's why there is no controversy. If there was still a question in the air, it might stir some. But there's not, and Neil understands that, too."

The Titans faced the Rams in McNair's first game back. McNair pounced on his opponent, throwing for two touchdowns and running for a third to take a 21-0 first quarter lead. Kurt Warner, who fumbled twice in the first quarter to set up Titans scoring opportunities, led a second half comeback, engineering a nine-play drive after an onside kick to set up a potential game-tying field goal with seven seconds left. The 38-yard Jeff Wilkins kick sailed wide right, and headlines trumpeted McNair's return, not Warner's comeback. "I don't think he was trying to prove a point," said receiver Yancey Thigpen. "I don't think he feels he has to prove a point ... He knew he wanted to come out and play well, and he did that."

The Rams and Titans were both in first place on that Halloween afternoon, but it would have been preposterous to suggest a Super Bowl rematch, let alone one with eerie parallels to that October game: the big lead, the long comeback, the final drive that comes up short. It was hard to imagine a more dramatic finale, but McNair, Warner, and their teammates provided one in January.

"It's all about rebuilding and starting fresh"

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2005. Later in the day, the storm surge breeched levees throughout Louisiana and Mississippi, touching off a national emergency.

Three days later, the Titans faced the Packers in a preseason game. McNair, the quarterback from Mount Olive, Mississippi, played three series against Brett Favre, the quarterback from Kiln, Mississippi. Then the pair turned their attention back to the relief effort.

Before the game, Favre and McNair filled a tractor trailer with bottled water, canned goods, and generators to ship to the Gulf Coast. McNair offered autographed photos in exchange for $100 donations. "It's a relief for me and all my family members and my teammates to go out and do all we can to help those people in shelters and making them at least feel comfortable while they're there," McNair said.

In the days to come, as the full impact of Katrina came to light, McNair increased his efforts. Media coverage and relief efforts centered on New Orleans, but rural Mississippi was hit just as hard and had far less infrastructure. "You still have Pascagoula and others, where Steve is from Mount Olive, that've been hit, too," McNair's business manager Raymond White said. "What Steve is trying to do is hit some of those rural areas where there might be only one gas station around, to help out people."

McNair organized a relief drive in Nashville. He and his volunteers hoped to fill six trucks with supplies. They filled twenty. They raised $80,000 in cash. "You have to be amazed because in a short period of time to put something like this together," McNair said. "My hat goes off to the people who came here who went through their closets and supplies and donated some things to send to people who don't have anything."

Between the preseason game and the relief drive, McNair flew home to flood-ravaged Mississippi. He returned to Tennessee optimistic. "I talked to some people, and they feel really strong about it, about the positives," he said. "It's all about rebuilding and starting fresh. That's the positive thing being taken out of it."

Peyton and Eli Manning also joined the relief effort, as did hundreds of other NFL players and thousands of professional athletes. The disaster revealed what's best about sports in America: wealthy athletes' willingness to give back, the kinship that underlies on-field rivalries, the healing that occurs when a community gathers for a game, even after a tragedy. McNair was among the first to offer relief, getting supplies to the Gulf Coast when they were most needed. The 2005 season was his among his worst as a quarterback: though he made the Pro Bowl, the Titans went 4-10 with McNair as a starter. Off the field, it was his best season ever.

"They won the battle."

Super Bowl XXXIV unfolded like the old fable of the tortoise and the hare.

The hare-quick Rams took a 16-0 halftime lead, then napped. McNair and the tortoise-slow Titans offense embarked on an erosive comeback. It took the entire third quarter for the Titans to score their first touchdown, failing on the two-point conversion. They got the ball back and drove for another touchdown. They tied the game in the final minutes with a field goal.

Kurt Warner and Isaac Bruce erased 27 minutes of work with one long touchdown pass.

For the Rams offense, everything came easy. For McNair, every drive was grinding trench warfare. With top receiver Yancey Thigpen was injured, McNair had to rely on tight ends Wycheck and Jackie Harris, inexperienced receivers Dyson, Isaac Byrd, and Derrick Mason. Stalwart running back Eddie George offered four reliable yards and a cloud of dust, but McNair could only count on himself for big plays. He made them, scrambling 23 yards to set up the first touchdown, threading a deep pass over the middle to Byrd to set up another, refusing to go down on a sneak while fullback Lorenzo Neal shoved him forward to convert a fourth-and-1.

Big plays aside, the Titans crept down the field on rollout passes to Wycheck and Harris, quick in-routes to Dyson, handoffs to George in situations when most teams would abandon the run. It all worked, but the Titans offense burned time and timeouts. The Rams needed neither to reclaim a seven-point lead, to pin the Titans at their own 12-yard line (thanks to a kickoff return penalty) with one timeout and less than two minutes to play.

McNair's final drive was more methodical than heroic. A nine-yard pass to Mason over the middle. A seven-yard pass to Wycheck in the flat. An incompletion. Was this the birth of a legend, or clock-eating desperation against a prevent defense? The pocket collapsed, McNair scrambled, turned upfield to reach the first down markers, then cut to the left sideline to get out of bounds. Defender Dre' Bly twisted McNair's facemask to keep the quarterback from reaching the sideline, and the complexion of that final drive changed. The Titans had the ball on the Rams 45-yard line. They still had their timeout.

A Rams penalty gave the Titans five more yards. McNair scrambled right, broke a tackle, ran out of bounds for two yards. A quick curl to Dyson over the middle brought another first down. The game got sloppy in those final seconds. McNair nearly threw an interception to Bly, but Rams defender Kevin Carter lined up offside, erasing the play and giving the Titans five more yards. McNair picked up a Rams blitz, but George didn't, and McNair's hot-route pass to the inattentive George bounced off the back of his arm.

The next play could have been the greatest in Super Bowl history, if only the play after it succeeded. Words don't do justice to McNair's scramble, eluding two defenders, planting his hand on the turf to keep his his footing, throwing a strike to Dyson at the 10-yard line. It was breathtaking, and it took America to a place we had never been before: ten yards, one play, no timeouts, the Super Bowl in the balance.

McNair and Dyson connected once more, on a slant over the middle, for nine yards. "It was a one-on-one battle," McNair said of Dyson's attempt to elude Mike Jones. "They won the battle."

McNair was just 26 years old. We assumed the best was yet to come. In many ways, it was. The Titans finished 13-3 again in 2000. They reached the playoffs in 2002 and 2003. McNair led the team to the conference championship in 2003. McNair was a better quarterback in those later years than he was in 1999; he scrambled less, relied less on George, did more with his arm and mind for teams that weren't as good as the one that lost Super Bowl XXXIV. Age took its toll, and the cost-conscious Titans unceremoniously dumped McNair on the free agent market in 2006, but he wasn't finished. McNair turned in one of the best seasons of his career for the 2006 Ravens, leading the team to a 13-3 record, throwing for 3,050 yards, most of them on the same short passes he used to whittle away the Rams lead in the Super Bowl.

But McNair never reached the Super Bowl again. His image crystallized in January of 2000. The pass, the tackle, the reach ... this became McNair's moment.

"He played football the way it was supposed to be played"

It was an ugly game between two ugly teams. The Ravens, playing behind a patchwork line and with few offensive playmakers, could only muster three field goals. The 49ers, starting over-the-hill veteran Trent Dilfer and facing the formidable Ravens defense, managed just a touchdown. The Ravens, one year removed from the playoffs but enduring a lost season, hung on for a 9-7 win on an October afternoon in 2007. McNair was 29-of-43 for 214 yards, most of the passes (11 of them), short hitches to Mason, his favorite target in two cities. McNair, slowed by a groin injury and looking much older than he did in 2006, could move the ball, but he couldn't get the Ravens in the end zone. "It was frustrating. We'd get into the red zone and had to settle for field goals. We've got to do better. It's something we're going to have to work on," he said.

He never got the chance. McNair's chronic back problem flared up again after the Niners game. "I guess he slept on it wrong," coach Brian Billick said, stating that McNair would be a game-time decision the following week.

McNair wouldn't start again for a month. When he returned to the field, he was awful, throwing for just 63 yards in a 38-7 loss to the Steelers. Two weeks later, McNair was shelved for the season. That messy win against the 49ers, two bad teams trading punts and field goals, far from the playoff chase, was his last NFL win.

McNair retired in April of 2008. The headlines called him a role model and trailblazer. Columnists wrote of his resilience, grit, toughness. "I love him as a father figure," Vince Young said of the man who mentored him. "He played football the way it was supposed to be played," said Mason.

Many spoke and wrote about his legacy as a black quarterback, one who bucked the "great athlete who cannot lead" stereotype and was idolized by a generation that included players like Young. "When he came out in '95, not many people were taking a chance on a lot of quarterbacks that played at small schools, much less a black quarterback back when there were so many stereotypes about African-American quarterbacks," Mason said. "Can they lead a team? Are they smart enough? Can he be that franchise guy?' He was that kind of guy."

McNair's career taught lessons about race and about courage, but One Yard Short taught us something else. The sports culture has grown increasingly shrill. The schoolyard taunt of "loser" passes for learned discourse on talk shows and the Internet. "He never won anything" is the bon mot that tarnishes the legacies of non-champions in all sports. Fans are expected to forget everything a player like Dan Marino or Donovan McNabb accomplished, ignoring dozens of wins to dwell on one or two losses.

One Yard Short exposes those "he's not a winner" arguments for the suckerpunch they are, showing the keen edge that separates champions from also-rans. McNair earned immunity from such taunts that day, proving that he could, even though he didn't. Thoughtful fans can return to that moment when pondering the legacy of other players, who may have come up five yards short, or twenty, but could still see the end zone, still gave their teams a chance at glory:

A loss is not always a failure.

Losing a game doesn't make someone less motivated, less talented, less conscientious, less of a man.

There are elements of competition -– perseverance, sportsmanship, courage, effort -– that are just as praiseworthy as winning.

The circumstances surrounding McNair's death cloud his off-field reputation, but they don't change what he represented on the field. Leader, trailblazer, warrior, a mortal who came up just short of a championship, a worker who never complained, always battled, did what was best for the team. A man who played football the way it was supposed to be played, and by losing Super Bowl XXXIV, taught us how the game should be enjoyed.


35 comments, Last at 15 Jul 2009, 3:12pm

3 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Personally, I think the only play that can compete with McNair's hand-down scramble in Super Bowl history is the Tyree helmet catch.

4 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Thank you for this.

I never followed McNair. Now I know what I was missing.

6 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Another fabulously well written piece from Mr Tanier- nice work sir. Writing of this caliber makes you deserve to be featured on the internet's best football website- oh wait, you already are.

8 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Growing up in Tennessee in the 80s and 90s was hard as far as pro football was concerned. The Falcons were not far away, but I'd venture a guess that 90-99% of the state preferred the Vols. The local TV stations didn't even bother following the Falcons - instead opting to just show Game-of-the-Week match-ups every Sunday. I enjoyed watching Walter Payton, Bernie Kosar, Steve Young, Warren Moon, etc, but eventually, without a team to identify with, I drifted off and stopped following football at all.

Steve McNair's Titans teams brought me back in. From their relocation, to the Super Bowl season, right up to the end, he was always a pleasure to watch. No matter what the circumstances of the game, you never felt like it was out of reach with McNair's calm and resolve - How many 1, 2, or 3 points did we play in those years? It seems like it was every one. The ones that we didn't win, he made you feel like we would be right back in it next week.

I have no naivety left regarding pro athletes. Some are awesome, and some are misguided, just like any other group of people, and it's hard to tell the difference in any case without spending a good deal of personal time with someone. But just as far as football goes, what McNair did for our team, I think, is set an identity and history in motion that I hope always continues with our franchise. I know that I'm not the only one in Tennessee that his game won over.

This is the best article I've seen so far that kind of gets at all that. Thanks Mike Tanier.

12 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

I wasn't going to go here...but when you went down the "community service" theme in light of Steve McNair's actions...I feel like this has to be matter how massively unpopular it will be.

Here's what I remember about McNair. I'll remember a terrible Father who's irresponsible behavior leaves 4 boys without a Father for the rest of their lives.

I also remember a guy, with 4 young boys, who spent so many over-nights with his 20-year old girlfriend in the Nashville condo, instead of being at home with his 4 boys, that many of the neighbors thought McNair actually lived in that condo.

Did McNair do great things in the community? Was McNair a leader on the field? Of course...these things are well documented and no one can take away the positive impact McNair had in these ways. But NOTHING excuses or detracts from any Father's first duty as a put your children first above yourself.

As Jason Whitlock said in his FOX article. Leadership and service to the community begins at home. At home. Where a Father to 4 young boys should be.

Thank you for the forum to express my opinion. As I wrote earlier, I'm sure it's not a popular one, but as a Dad to two young boys, I feel it needs to be said.

14 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Ultimately the legacy the dead leave is not in the lives they lived but in the effect they have on others that live on. CoachDave, I hope that McNair's tragic fall from grace reinforced your comitment and that of all husbands and fathers. Certainly our society has real problems keeping families working well. This is one of the reasons we love sports. Especially an incredibly cerebral and complex team sport like football. These teams must work as a group, and it is only hyperbole in the sense of time, that they must work as a family.

McNair's legacy is now mired in his death. His families story is far sadder than can be imagined. I wish them as much good as can come.

The thing is most of us are pretty intense football fans. Most of us read this site because of its quality insight and writing in regards to a complex and incredibly subjective sport. We have had a relationship with the football star McNair for over a decade. This relationship deserves to be honored. I dont hate Diego Rivera's art because he was a shitty husband. I dont avoid Sean Penn's movies because he beat up Madonna. If you constantly look at things with value and say "that statue has no arms" then you miss the chance to see the beautifully crafted marble and form of the rest of the body.

If you are on this site and read it regularly then, I'd guess, whether you'd like to admit it or not, football is like an art to you. McNair's career though not the greatest was a fine tragic story. In the Greek sense of the word. Moving from order to disorder but not after we followed his progression. I dont mind Mr Tanier's football centric recalling of his life. He recalls and honors a past that speaks to my experience of McNair. Fortunately or unfortunately most of us know zero about famous people's private lives. This reinforced that concept for me.

So are we mad that four boys no longer have their father? Honestly I'm not. It is horribly sad. It tears my heart. The same for his widow. This isnt the main thing I get from McNair's life though. It's just a piece. It isnt something I know anything about. The football player though was an "old friend" to me. He is gone so an honest heartfelt exploration of the football player was a pleasure to read.

Be Well

15 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

One Yard Short is still my favorite Superbowl moment. There are so many big, game winning moments out there that failing to score in a dramatic fashion just stands out more.

I've only ever been to one NFL game, Ravens-Colts in the '60 Playoffs, and while McNair was plain stinky (15-0 was the final score) I feel a special connection to him, as for that one afternoon he was MY quarterback.

Great work as always, Mike. Glad to read something free of hysteria and speculation for once.

16 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Obviously there were some flaws in McNair's character that put him and his family though this awful predicament that are difficult to look past. However, I think the point of the article is to try to remember the best qualities of someone, despite their faults. I hope that whenever I go my friends and family will remember the good things that I did and not dwell on the negative.

THe point of contention I have with the article is that it was John Elway and the Broncos that made the Superbowl watchable again.

18 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

I feel kind of superfluous just echoing everyone else, but this article deserves as much recognition as possible, so without further ado:

Wonderful piece, Mike. Thank you for sharing it with us.

20 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

I guess I'm in the minority not especially loving this piece (though I am a fan of Tanier's work usually).

Honestly, I'm still left confused in general on where to place McNair's on-field achievements and his place in NFL history. To me he's almost had a Brad Johnson-type career where he's certainly got some resume-building achievements, but where I'm still vague on his mark on the game. The only thing that always stands out for me about McNair is that he played hurt a lot of the time (and usually real injuries, not Roethlisberger injuries), but beyond that I just don't know.

And off-the-field, I didn't know about his charity efforts, but that just throws a wrench in the easy story that he was unfaithful (probably) and he ended up hurting his kids more than anyone else. I'm not sure that either story really defines him.

Yea, he's a difficult one to pin down and I'm not sure this article helped me understand him any more.

21 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Coach Dave,

Two quotes come to mind:

"Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins."

and -

"Men are as faithful as their options"
Chris Rock

You remind me of the arm chair QB who screams at the TV that they could do better than the player who short arms a reception or fails to hang in the pocket as a 300 pound giant is about to crush him. I really doubt you have any clue how difficult it is to stay faithful when you are a star NFL QB. Judging McNair by your own accomplishments is really no use to anyone.

Quoting Chris Rock once again - in his bit on infidelity and how the Republicans bashed Clinton for his affairs:

" one wants to fu.. Oren Hatch."

23 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

I really doubt you have any clue how difficult it is to stay faithful when you are a star NFL QB.

What a load of crap. Plenty of men with options stay faithful, including star NFL QBs.

24 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Hi everyone,

Please, no ad hominem attacks on other commenters.


25 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

I have to be honest I have no idea what ad hominem meant until a few minutes ago. I suspect that my comments from yesterday were deleted for that reason. I don't understand how commentors are protected from responses to ridiculous attacking statements.

I will stand by my point that it is tough to be all things to all people. McNair's indiscretion resulted in his death. It should be taken as a lesson. It should not be taken as an opportunity to bash someone who did so much for so many.

27 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

I would be interested to read the explanation as to why my earlier post was deleted.

Thank you.

28 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

I did like Mcnair as a player and he had a fantastic career. I remember the guy always being hurt, and always playing, that's respectable ... When he came to the Ravens, I thought they were going to do what they did last year because he is such a Vet and such a leader. Mcnair was a winner and with that defense...

I don't like the cheating on his wife part, I don't like that people around Nashville knew of him as a town lush. He was charged with 2 DUI's... One dropped... You know how that is Jeremy Stevens. I heard that he once offered to buy a girl "chest plastic surgery" the night he met her ( also not his wife). He'd go on drinking fishing trips where he'd get mind numbingly drunk.

Then we have the girlfriend that was 1/2 his age that told her friends they were "dating" for months. There were reports that she was in debt ( from a DUI) and other expenses and that at some point Steve offered to pay thoses expenses. There was also reports that she was angry that she heard of a 2nd girlfriend on the side.... That wouldn't shock me either, as I personally know a girl that was hit on by Mcnair when he was married.

Steve and the mistress were drinking at 2 bars the night of the shooting, one of the Nashville bars is named "losers". It isn't difficult to envision a situation where they come back to the condo at 2AM, this young girl was angry about something... ( a 2nd girlfriend on the side, a potential break up, not giving her money he promised to pay off her debt) before the shooting.

In reality, I feel VERY sorry for his wife and four kids as they had a complete bombshell dropped on them. We all liked Mcnair as a player, he certainly made some mistakes off the field, but didn't deserve to die for them. It is a sad thing.

29 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

I thought people were going to stop using the cliche "warrior" after Tillman was killed in combat.

31 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

Temo - "What a load of crap. Plenty of men with options stay faithful, including star NFL QBs."

And you know this how?

33 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

The former from personal experience, and the latter is impossible to prove either way.

Edit: Ok, not comparing my personal experience to an NFL QB. Don't go there. So nevermind.

34 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

"Men are only as faithful as their options" is meant to be a clever joke, not a mantra to live by. Plenty of highly desirable men stay faithful, and plenty of completely disgusting dirtbags have mistresses (just turn on Springer some time). The truth is there are always "options". The question is whether you choose to explore them.

35 Re: Remembering Steve McNair

He was one tough sonovabitch, and that ain't a bad summation of a football career.