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April 29 2017


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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

In Memory of Air McNair
July 5, 2009

PREVIOUS SIDELINE NEXT SIDELINE

I never saw Steve McNair play a game at Alcorn State, but I distinctly remember listening.

Back in the early '90s, a wide choice of digital channels didn't exist. Live college football was unheard of British TV. The best college football fans in the UK could hope for was to micro–adjust AM radio and hope to get a waft of Armed Forces Network. Even then, those would be big–name colleges, not Alcorn State.

Those being the days before every street had internet access, college football news meant a daily subscription to the UK's abridged edition of USA Today. I followed, as the story of Steve McNair grew – every week, another clutch performance, another clutch of gaudy s tatistics, the growing debate of whether it meant anything against the lower level of competition. None the less, 'Air' McNair was worth increasing column inches, getting his picture on the front of the sports section, then in the top corner of the front cover itself as an icon of college football highlights.

And then, one Saturday, it happened. Normally, during the gaps between the end of one featured 1–A game and the start of the next, listeners would be 'returned to their scheduled programming', but not on this occasion. As my girlfriend and I redecorated our flat that evening, we received bonus coverage — a 1–AA game, an Alcorn State game. We couldn't believe our luck. Nor could we believe McNair would pull off another come–from–behind win for our benefit, right on cue. But he did, pulling off a two–score escape act with his arm and feet — live before our very ears.

That was 'Air' McNair — bringing Alcorn State football to downtown Bournemouth. That year, McNair not only won the Walter Payton Award as the best 1–AA football player, he even came third in the Heisman voting, unheard of for a player from the second tier of play. Rashaan Salaam and Ki–Jana Carter — the players who polled ahead of him — never translated their talent into long NFL careers. McNair did, transitioning the Houston Oilers into the Tennessee Titans, and then leading the Titans to within a yard of Super Bowl glory. After 13 years, 11 with Houston/Tennessee, 2 with Baltimore, McNair retired from the NFL as a 3–time Pro Bowler.

Saturday, McNair and an unnamed female victim were found dead of gunshot wounds in what police are viewing as double homicide.

Plenty of players and coaches will be able to conjure memories of the man, the player, the legend. All I have to offer is a recollection of an evening painting the walls and listening to 'Air' McNair. But it was magic. It was the stuff of legend.


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