Farewell to Mr. McNair

Steve McNair announced his retirement today. I am of the opinion that his jersey will not be retired. By the Ravens.

There was discussion about his number being retired by the Titans this morning on the Sirius NFL channel. I wouldn’t mind seeing a group number ceremony featuring Frank Wycheck, Eddie George, and McNair. You could call it the Hall of Very Good ceremony.

Some will say that McNair didn’t reach his full potential due to injuries. I would say that Jeff Fisher’s run-centric ways prevented McNair from opening things up until his seventh year in the league. In his senior year at Alcorn State, McNair had nearly 5800 yards of total offense. He almost won the freaking Heisman as a 1-AA one-man team. In the NFL, he mainly handed the ball off to George and threw seven-yard curls to Wycheck.

McNair started all 16 games three times in 13 NFL seasons. He exceeded 20 passing TDs only three times. His 3590 rushing yards for a QB is fifth all time. That’s not bad considering that he stopped running after 2002. Note that McNair finished with more interceptions than touchdowns only in injury-shortened 2004 and 2007. Yeah, Vince Young has a long way to go to live up to McNair’s career.

I’m tired of all the whiners who said that McNair didn’t deserve his co-MVP in 2003. If it weren’t for a stray piece of turf in Atlanta that caused him to miss two games, he would have taken it as a solo job. His passer rating, yards per attempt, and yards per completion led the league.

It’s too bad that his one chance at a Super Bowl victory was so early in his career. The last-gasp drive was a thing of beauty, with McNair avoiding sacks and hitting receivers who couldn’t get open against a solid high school squad. McNair set the record for QB rushing with 64 yards on eight attempts. Jackie Harris was the leading receiver with 64 yards.

It’s possible that he had more to show us, but we saw plenty. The bitter contract dispute that led the Titans to trade McNair for a fourth-round pick was a low point in franchise history. The salary-cap follies that led to McNair, Derrick Mason, and Samari Rolle becoming Ravens was completely embarrassing. The Ravens didn’t get much out of that investment.

I don’t think any Titan fan feels cheated with what McNair delivered. There’s a bias against players who are injury prone. Some think that injuries are a result of laziness or a lack of commitment. I think it’s a mixture of bad luck and as a QB, taking a few too many hits fighting for that extra yard. There‚Äôs a reason why good running QBs become good pocket QBs if they want to have a lasting career. McNair left it all on the field. We can’t deny that.

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