Steve McNair is one of only three quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for 30,000 yards and rush for 3,500. He went to three Pro Bowls, was named league co-MVP and took the Tennessee Titans to a Super Bowl. But is that resume good enough to get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? As much as I'd like to say yes, the answer is probably no. McNair was a very good player , but not a great one. He was a terrific performer, but he didn't perform at an elite level over a long period of time.
But if toughness, competitiveness and heart were the only criteria, McNair would be a lock for Canton, Ohio. People talk about Brett Favre being a tough guy because of his durability record, but no one defined tough like McNair. He played through various injuries when most guys would take themselves out of the game. That not only showed how tough he was, it also displayed his leadership. He was revered by teammates because of his willingness to lay his body on the line for them. He wasn't the most talented quarterback, but he succeeded with will as well as skill.
I'll never forget the second half in Super Bowl XXXIV when he literally willed his team back from a 16-0 deficit. He was amazing on that final drive, making play after play. The St. Louis Rams tried everything to stop the guy and he just kept coming. Several times Rams defenders had him trapped for sacks and he kept getting away. His last completion came one yard short of a tying touchdown that would have forced overtime. The Rams held on to win, but McNair's status was elevated in defeat.
It still a shock that McNair is dead. But his passing won't diminished the legacy he left behind.