Questions for McNair more than just black and white

Skin tone of Titans QB isn't all he's hearing about

AFC notebook

January 27, 2000|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair was asked, among other things, about his turf toe, the cold weather, Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, the Titans' conservative offense and the artificial turf at his Super Bowl media session yesterday.

Oh, yes, he was also asked about being the second black quarterback to start a Super Bowl.

That shows how times have changed since Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl for the Washington Redskins after the 1987 season.

Williams spent the entire week answering questions about being the first.

Now McNair gets only an occasional question about being the second because black quarterbacks are no longer rare.

"To be the only other to be in the Super Bowl is a great inspiration for me because it only happened once, and I'm the second," McNair said.

Another sign of how times have changed for the new generation is that McNair didn't consider Williams a particular role model.

He was more of a Terry Bradshaw fan in grade school when the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback won four Super Bowls.

"I just liked the way he played," McNair said.

McNair's toe is better

McNair was wearing a boot on his foot to protect his turf toe at the media session, but he said it feels a lot better than it did last week at this time.

"I'm improving. It's feeling good," he said.

Although he was limited to 65-75 percent of the offensive snaps in yesterday's practice, the Titans expect him to start Sunday.

Yancey Thigpen didn't practice yesterday and remains doubtful with a hairline fracture of his foot.

Running back Rodney Thomas is questionable with a lower-back injury and didn't see much action in practice.

The only player definitely out is Marcus Robertson, who suffered a broken leg last week. Anthony Dorsett, the son of Cowboys' Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, will start in his place.

Super myth

One of the Super Bowl legends is when Williams was being questioned about being the first black quarterback 12 years ago, he was asked, "How long have you been a black quarterback?"

It turns out that may be another Super Bowl myth.

An Atlanta reporter tracked down Butch John, the reporter who supposedly asked the question.

The reporter's version is that he said, "You've been a black quarterback all your life. When did this really start mattering?"

He said Williams replied when he got in the NFL.

Steckel's past

An offensive coordinator on a Super Bowl team usually gets a lot of mention as a head-coaching candidate.

But Les Steckel, the Titans' offensive coordinator, is never included on any list.

That's probably because of his one-year stint replacing Bud Grant as the Minnesota Vikings' head coach in 1984 when the team went 3-13.

The former Marine who had his players climbing ropes got the reputation for being a taskmaster that he's never lived down.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.