Dear Mr. McNair,
Welcome to Baltimore and your new job as the Ravens starting quarterback. We've admired your work for years, particularly that 1999 Super Bowl (which you would have won for the Titans had your receiver's arms been about 3 feet longer). You even earned an MVP playing for a Tennessee team that's got what appears to be a flaming thumbtack on its helmets. That's not too shabby. For Ravens fans, your arrival is just about the most exciting thing since the Ray Lewis acquittal. Just one piece of advice: Make sure your insurance is paid up and you've got a second career to fall back on.
Let's face it. Baltimore is to quarterbacks as large comets are to dinosaurs. We've killed more promising careers than Enron's collapse. Remember Scott Mitchell? Randall Cunningham? Elvis Grbac? Kyle Boller? (Oh, wait, he's still around.) They all looked great before they donned the purple and black. Mr. Grbac was considered a top-tier quarterback in Kansas City. After one season here, he had to be ushered into witness protection. The other Elvis has been seen more often in the last five years.
It's not clear exactly why this happens. Some fans blame Brian Billick, but even our highly verbal coach couldn't be that powerful. With the possible exception of Trent Dilfer, no quarterback who comes here finds success elsewhere either. Once they've played in Baltimore, they never go back to throwing completions.
As you might imagine, this is a little troubling to Ravens fans. It's as if the football gods gave this city Johnny Unitas and we're still paying for that blessing. Or maybe there's an NFL talent cap instead of just a salary cap and we only have enough space for the likes of Tony Banks and Jeff Blake. Or maybe it's because Johnny U finished his career in San Diego that Baltimore got cursed. First by Robert Irsay, then by the Ravens parade of mediocre quarterbacks.
But hey, this is June. September is still a long way off. You're only 33 years old. There's plenty of gas left in the tank, right? Make no mistake, we're delighted to have a quarterback prone to throwing more touchdowns than interceptions. Just be careful out there, will ya?