Column: Titans continually spoil NFL’s idea of fun


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Let’s be real. The Titans are not the NFL’s idea of an easy way to generate hype.

The Titans were given exactly one primetime game for the entire season: A Thursday night game at Jacksonville in Week 3.

So for those in charge of planning the upcoming 2019 NFL schedule, the Titans weren’t figured to be a major player in it. But, Tennessee played spoiler to the NFL’s intended narratives before the ink even dried on that schedule.

September 8, 2019. The amount of hype in Cleveland and around the nation for the Browns was frankly irresponsible.

The addition of Odell Beckham Jr. in the off-season and Baker Mayfield’s record-setting rookie campaign was enough for folks to look past the historical losing, the first-time head coach, and the meaning of “slump” in the commonly-used phrase to describe a quarterback’s sophomore season. And yet, a handful of NFL experts picked them to go to the Super Bowl.

Insert Tennessee.

In front of a national audience with CBS’s top crew on the call and in front of a national audience, the Titans put the hype train to a screeching halt. A sea of orange dressed in fresh-out-of-the-box Mayfield and Beckham jerseys watched their Super Bowl team lose to the nobody team from Nashville 43-13.

Now, to week 10.

Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes was set to make his miraculous return to play after missing three weeks recovering from a dislocated knee cap. He threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns, but the Titans won anyway 35-32. Once again, the story line pre-written for the game was re-written by the two-toned blue.

Then, there was the end-of-season playoff hunt.

Despite the Titans being the NFL’s hottest team down the stretch and boasting the rushing king, many wanted to see Mike Tomlin pull off a coach-of-the-year-worthy job by turning his Steelers into a playoff team without their Hall of Fame quarterback under center.

Instead, the Titans said, “Duck that,” and stole the 6th seed in the AFC.

The plucky Titans prepared for their meeting with the aging G.O.A.T in what many thought may very well be Tom Brady’s last game at Gillette. How about a big win to properly send off the 6-time Super Bowl champ?

Not only did that scrappy team from the Music City find a way to win, what may have been Brady’s final throw in Gillette, was a pick-6 to a former teammate, Logan Ryan.

The Titans sacked everyone’s hopes to see a Brady vs. Mahomes rematch in the AFC Championship, but there still remained the prospect of a matchup between the quarterbacks of the future – Jackson vs. Mahomes.

“Sorry, NFL.”

The Titans single-handedly crushed the dreams of millions hoping to see the Ravens’ football-altering rush attack from Jackson and Co. make its highly-anticipated run through the playoffs.

The constant doubt around the 2019 Titans is the reason they say they’re still playing into early 2020.

“I feel like it’s not a bad place to be in my opinion. People are counting us out. They’re always counting us out. That should make you go into the game feeling like less pressure because if no one expects you to do anything, why not prove them wrong?” said Titans safety Kevin Byard, actually.

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