On a serious note this weekend we saw a great competitor pass. By all accounts Mr. McNair was a great man on many of the score cards we use to score men.
Cinderella Story – Check! Deciding to attend a traditionally black school, Steve McNair put I-AA Alcorn State on the map with a senior year totaling 5,799 total yards and 53 TDs. That year he proved that the little school can make people take notice finishing 3rd in the Heisman voting behind NFL RB greats Ki-Jana Carter and Rashaan Salaam. In fact he had a great run in the playoffs that year finishing the year with a game in which he threw for 514 yards and 3 TD’s but still came up short to a little known coach of Youngstown State, Jim Tressel.
Successful Athlete – Check! 1995’s 3rd pick in the draft, he waits two years behind Chris Chandler before getting his start in 1997. He proceeds to throw for the most yards since Warren Moon wore the baby blue, rush for the third most yards by a QB in NFL history, and sets a franchise record with only 13 ints. That would only be the beginning of a career highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance, 2003 Co-MVP of the league, 5 playoff appearances, and 3 Pro Bowls.
Man of the People – Check! Always willing to pitch in, his wife and he spent countless hours loading food, water, and clothes on trucks that he hired heading for Hurricane Katrina victims. In 2001 he founded the Steve McNair Foundation devoted to serving underprivileged children through programs and grants focusing on inspiring and empowering today's youth to utilize the educational, civic, and athletic opportunities available to them.
Family Man – Check! By all accounts he was a loving and caring husband who had four children that he adored and inspired. He was committed to his family and cherished his new found time in retirement to spend as a family man.
Everything going for him, and yet he throws it away on the fleeting thrill of a 20 year old waitress. I don’t find joy in another man’s failure, but instead use it as a reminder. Today I’m going to hug my children a little tighter, kiss my wife a little longer, and at the end of the day make sure my heart only lingers on the one God gave me.