Does Steve McNair Belong In The Hall of Fame?

First of all, my condolences to the friends and family of the late Steve McNair. It's pretty crazy when you start hearing the details surrounding his death and it's even crazier to think that McNair was only 36 when he died; a very young man. But after I gave it a day and mourned, they inevitable question popped into my head: was he a hall of famer, and if not, will this shooting put him in? It seems very cold to think like that I know, but let's be honest, we're all thinking it or soon will. When his eligibility for the Hall comes, his tragic death will come up. But I'm here to analyze now, l;ooking at just his numbers, if he actually deserves to be inducted into Canton.

Upon first glance, without looking into any numbers, you think there's definitely a possibility McNair could go in. He's played for some pretty good teams in Houston/Tennessee and Baltimore and when you really think about it, he seems to be consistent. He brought the Titans to a Superbowl only to lose on the last play of the game and only by one yard, ONE YARD. McNair also won a MVP (granted it was a co-MVP with Peyton Manning, but hey a MVPs an MVP) and went to three Pro Bowl games. But now let's look at this numnbers

First, we'll look at the "on the surface" numbers, his total yards, TDs, INT, and so forth. Throughout his career he put up 31,304 yards (28th all time), 174 TD (46th all time), but only 119 INT (77th all time), leaving him with a decent 1.46 career TD/INT ratio. He has a career passer rating of 82.8 (28th all time). But McNair was also a running QB and he put up some decent yards on the ground as well. He has a career 5.6 yards per carry (ranked 9th all time, although I don't know if this is among QBs or all runners) and has 37 career rushing TDs. On the surface, these numbers are decently impressive, but let's look "beneath the surface" to see if we can make a more convincing argument.

McNair had a career 60.1% passing percentage which is good for 25th all time, a career 2.6 INT %, and 3.8 TD % good for 142th all time. He's ranked 98th in yards per passes attempted and 183 all time for yards per passes completed. However, he really compete a lot of his passes ranking 34th in passes completed per game. He also did not fumble a lot ranked 14th all time in fumbles.

So what does this tell us. Well, for starters, if you looked just at all those rankings, you didn't see a whole lot of top 20s. He only topped in the top ten in one category, YPC (albiet that's a nice category to be top ten in), and the vast majority of his rankings are within the 25-45 range. What really hurts him is the TD% and the yards per passes completed. This tells me that he didn't fully help his team by scoring for them. And although he did complete a lot of passes, his career yards per completion tells me those were pretty short passes and probably didn't help his team TOO much.

But his passing numbers are a bit flawed because he did a lot with his feet which doesn't really come up in statistics. So all those total yards and TDs should get a few extra bumps because when he ran, he ran effectively, which really did help his team. Plus, he rarely coughed up the ball. While he may not have helped his team, he most certainly did not hurt them either. His low INT% and low amount of fumbles tells us a lot.

So does this make him a HOFer? I say "no". I'm sorry to have to say this, especially with his death so recent, but I'm sad to say I don't think, on numbers alone, he SHOULD get in. However, if he does get in you won't hear any objections for me. To me he's borderline and you can make the argument that when you include his rushing stats, all those "25th all time" gets bumped up to "top 20". But to me, his numbers suggest that teams win with him, not because of him. He seems more of a "manager of the game" than an elite all time QB. QB's get put to a higher standard and I'm sad to say McNair does not meet them. I look for a QB that can win games or play smart and effectively when I "choose" HOF quarterbacks and McNair did not seem to do that.

Now don't get me wrong, if there was a "Hall of Very Good", McNair is a first ballot-er. And if he was still playing and able to play, he would help out a lot of teams and if the Bears didn't just get Jay Cutler, I would love to have McNair on my team. But when we're talking about the best of the best and the cream of the crop, I don't think McNair is up there.

But for now, let's all mourn the loss of a good man and a great player and still remember all the good he has done, both on and off the field.


Cubsfan4evr said...

I agree that he isn't a hall of famer. He was very good, but not in that category.