Ten years ago today, a slow Fourth of July for sports news suddenly changed.
News emerged that former Titans and Ravens quarterback Steve McNair had died, that he had been killed. McNair supposedly was shot execution-style by a 20-year-old woman who had never owned a gun until a few days earlier.
The shocking events sparked questions that never have been answered. Last year, Tim Rohan of SI.com took a thorough and careful look at the case through the Fall of a Titan podcast, which considers a complicated series of circumstances and relationships and police work from a variety of perspectives — and which opens with a disturbing detail regarding the condition in which his body was found.
Despite many lingering questions, the death officially remains a murder-suicide, even though it quite possibly was a double murder.
The third overall pick in the 1995 draft of the Houston Oilers, McNair became one of the best quarterbacks of his era. He led the team that the Oilers became (the Tennessee Titans) to Super Bowl XXXIV, a game that McNair’s last-second pass nearly sent to overtime. Four years later, he shared the NFL’s MVP award with Peyton Manning.
McNair became legendary for his ability to play through injuries, and to play well whether healthy or not. After an ugly separation from Tennessee in 2006, McNair landed via trade in Baltimore, and in his first season with the team he led the Ravens to the No. 2 seed in the AFC postseason.
He last played in 2007, finishing his 13-year career with 31,304 yards passing and 3,590 yards rushing. He threw for 174 touchdown passes, and he added 37 on the ground.
The death of Steve McNair will continue to raise questions, and as time passes the truth may be harder to finally uncover, if there is indeed something more to the case than what police quickly determined.
Steve McNair was 36 when he died. He had four children. The tenth anniversary of his passing surely will be difficult for his family, friends, teammates, and coaches, and we extend our condolences to all of them.