On July 4th, 2009, the football world lost one of the most treasured players in Oilers/Titans history, as Steve McNair was tragically murdered.
10 years later, his loss still stings tremendously, but the memories he gave to the NFL will last a long time. So to help celebrate McNair’s NFL career, I figured I’d talk about my absolute favorite plays from his time in Tennessee.
3rd and forever, and he makes it all work. McNair does an excellent job stepping up and keeping his eyes downfield. The Titans would’ve likely settled for a field goal to put themselves up 23-3 at the end of the first half, but McNair maximized the results with this beautiful touchdown.
The pocket here condenses, but McNair remains cool in the pocket and is somehow able to fire this off. This reminds me a little of something Aaron Rodgers would do, and though the throw isn’t 100% precise, that McNair was able to get this off in the area of his receiver is awesome in of itself.
I don’t have many words for this, this is just an incredible throw and catch.
I already looked at this throw from my article on the Titans’ 2002 postseason matchup against the Steelers, but it’s too good not to talk about again. That McNair is even able to get to the edge is already good enough, but he finds Justin McCareins and puts the Titans in position to move onto the Divisional Round.
Vintage Air McNair.
From 2003, on 4th and 10, the Titans needed a touchdown here or the game was over. And that’s exactly what McNair provided, winning it for Tennessee in spectacular fashion.
And of course, the most iconic play of McNair’s career...
Nothing more can be said about this that hasn’t already been said.
My status at Music City Miracles has granted me the freedom to look at past Titans games, and I’m glad I did because it’s made me realize just how good Steve McNair was in the NFL. He didn’t always have the best supporting casts, and his ability to show up in “clutch moments” won over a lot of football fans in addition to a devout following of him in Nashville.
Does that mean McNair deserves a shot at the Hall of Fame? I don’t know, but growing up he was one of my favorite quarterbacks. He was also the first black quarterback to win MVP, sharing the award with Peyton Manning in 2003. Simply put, his blend of passing and mobility only improved as he got more experience in the league, and when it comes to Titans quarterbacks, he’s at the very top.
McNair will continue to be missed. He captivated many fans of the NFL, so his death hit really hard when it happened ten years ago. Rest In Peace, Air McNair.