The NFL lost another veteran passer today with the retirement of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair.
McNair is a former league Co-MVP and has been to the Super Bowl. But, will his accomplishments be enough to earn him an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Here’s a quick look at arguments for and against McNair.
First, let’s look at what he has going for him.
He did win a Co-NFL MVP title in 2003; sharing it with Peyton Manning. If you don’t think that’s significant, consider that the last two quarterbacks inducted into the Hall of Fame, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, never won it. He’s also a 3-time Pro Bowl Selection and a former All-Pro selection.
He’s been to the playoffs 6 times since taking over as a starter in 1997, has been to one Super Bowl (Super Bowl XXXIV) and the AFC Conference Championship twice.
He’ll probably gain a bit of consideration because of his ability to make plays with his legs; he has more than 3,500 yards rushing and his 37 rushing touchdowns are just six shy of Steve Young’s record for quarterbacks.
However, he does have some negatives working against him.
First, he’s never won a Super Bowl. People will be quick to point out that Dan Marino never did either. But Marino held pretty much every career passing record at the time of his induction and continued to hold most of them until Brett Favre broke them this year.
McNair’s 31,304 career passing yards aren’t even enough to crack the top 20 in that category. Neither are his 174 touchdown passes. Moon, by comparison, also never won a Super Bowl and is fourth on the all time yardage list and 6th on the touchdowns list.
You also can’t overlook his injury history throughout his career. His first few seasons in the league weren’t too bad; he missed 9 of 112 potential starts. However, he missed 20 potential starts over his last four seasons in the league. Considering he’s retiring at the same time as the all-time leader for consecutive starts (Favre); you have to think that will count against him during the selection process.
For the record, if it were up to me, I would vote him in. He was one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league and would often play hurt; something that contributed to the missed games. And, when healthy, he was good enough to lead his team to a winning season; sometimes with very little help on offense. Unfortunately, I think the negatives in his career might be enough to delay his entry into the Hall of Fame or prevent it completely. Only time will tell.