Losing is not Failure

Super Bowl XXXIV went down in history as one of the greatest Super Bowls ever.

The high-flying “Greatest Show on Turf “ St. Louis Rams jumped out to a 9-0 half-time lead and a 16-0 lead halfway through the third.  It was not nearly the offensive explosion that most were expecting, but the Tennessee Titans defense was doing their job.

With big play receiver Yancey Thigpen injured, the Titans had to rely on the rough and tumble running of Eddie George, the inexperienced wide receivers Isaac Byrd, Derrick Mason and Kevin Dyson, and the underneath routes of tight ends Frank Wycheck and Jackie Harris.  Any big plays from the Titan offense had to come from the footwork of quarterback Steve McNair.

During the next 20 minutes of football, the Titans scratched and clawed their way to a 16-16 tie.  A 23-yard McNair run on 2nd and 6 left the Titans knocking on the door for their first touchdown.  Two plays later the Titans were on the board.  The failed 2-point conversion attempt left the Titans trailing 16-6.  The next Eddie George touchdown was possible because McNair converted a crucial 4th and 1 sneak where he refused to go down.  The Titans trailed 16-13 with 7:21 to go in the game.  A McNair scramble, a couple of Eddie George runs and some underneath passes helped the Titans set-up the game tying field goal with 2:15 to go.

It took the Greatest Show on Turf 18 seconds to reclaim the lead as Kurt Warner hit Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown pass. 23-16 Ram lead.

Dyson reach
If the Titans were to tie the game, they had to go 88 yards in 1:48 with only one timeout.  The Titans chipped away at the Rams with McNair scrambles and underneath passes.  The result was first and goal with 5 seconds to go.  McNair’s pass to Kevin Dyson was complete but the Rams’ Mike Jones came up big with the tackle at the one yard line. 

The Titans lost the game but won the day.  If you use the measure that effort, perseverance, and sportsmanship are what defines a winner; McNair, and the Titans, did indeed, prove victorious.

Charity is Community Leadership

Three days after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast in 2005, Steve McNair, from Mount Olive, Mississippi worked with Brett Favre, from Kiln, Mississippi to send shipments of food, water, and generators to rural Mississippi.  Later, McNair and Titan teammates, spearheaded efforts to fill more trucks with needed supplies and raise over $80,000 in cash.

As many more athletes rallied to the relief efforts on the Gulf Coast, it needs to be noted that Steve McNair was there at the forefront.

Shirking Responsibilities is Failure

On July 4, 2009 Steve McNair was found shot to death in a Nashville condominium that he co-owned with a 20-year old waitress from Dave and Buster’s. 
The waitress, Sahel Kazemi, was also co-owner of a 2007 Cadillac Escalade with McNair .

According to neighbors, McNair spent so much time at that condo that they thought he lived there.

Steve McNair was a married father of four boys.  I do not know the nature of his marriage with Mechelle, but I do know that his irresponsible behavior has left those four boys without a father.  His failure to put his children above his own personal gratification has left an indelible mark on his life and memory.

To paraphrase the comments of Jason Whitlock, anytime we discuss Steve McNair the leader, we have to remember that leadership begins in the home.

Sources: Parasailing Photo from TMZ, USATODAY Play By Play, Youtube for Video of last drive

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