NFL fans flocked to social media on Sunday, Feb. 14 to pay tribute to the late, great quarterback Steve McNair. The 2003 co-MVP would’ve celebrated his 48th birthday today.
McNair is rightfully celebrated as one of the most electric and influential quarterbacks to play the game. He became the first African-American quarterback to win the NFL MVP award when he was crowned in 2003 with the Tennessee Titans. McNair also made three Pro Bowls, ending his 13-year career with 31,304 yards and 174 touchdowns through the air. The Titans retired his No. 9 jersey in 2019.
Prior to his arrival in the NFL, McNair played college ball for Division I-AA Alcorn State. Citing his desire to play quarterback, he opted to attend the Historically Black University, despite having an offer to the University of Florida. He went on to finish third in Heisman Trophy voting in his 1994 senior season, throwing for 5,377 yards and scoring 56 total touchdowns. Just a year later, the Houston Oilers drafted him with the third overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft.
McNair’s crowning moment with the organization came during the 1999 season, when he led the newly nicknamed Titans to the Super Bowl. In a postseason that included the famous “Music City Miracle”, McNair’s club fell just a few inches short of a victory, ultimately falling to the Rams. He never made it back to another Super Bowl.
McNair’s life ended in tragedy when he was fatally shot in 2009. He was 36.
On Feb. 14, what would’ve been his birthday, fans expressed how much the great quarterback meant to them. Take a look at some of the tributes to McNair from the sports world on Sunday:
Steve McNair would have been 48 today 🙏
Throwback to his incredible 2003 season when he was named NFL co-MVP 🏆
— ESPN (@espn) February 14, 2021
Remembering Steve McNair on what would have been his 48th birthday. 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/3Xy1q2YvFB
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) February 14, 2021
Good morning HBCU Nation!
Today we S/O the Late Great Steve McNair of @BRAVESSPORTS who was born on this day in 1973. As a Brave McNair set D1-AA career records for with 14,496 passing yards, as well as the division record for total offensive yards with 16,823 career yards. pic.twitter.com/OpkfmWIiPz
— BJ Jones (@InsideHBCUFball) February 14, 2021
Happy Birthday Steve McNair 💙 pic.twitter.com/C8qMD0rHn5
— Titans DieHards (@TitansDieHards) February 14, 2021
One of my all time favorite Oilers/Titans. Steve McNair. Was such a warrior on the gridiron. Appreciate ESPN mentioning him today. 🙏 Love ya, Mc-9. MVP🏆 https://t.co/5g51EPnhwb
— Chris A. White 🐻 (@fyrebear) February 14, 2021
McNair’s legacy as one of the best quarterbacks to play in the NFL lives on. He was recently elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020.
McNair’s memory will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of those that watched him play. Our thoughts are with his friends and family today.