Lets face it, when it comes to being superstitious we all are in some form or fashion. That’s not a good or a bad thing…simply stating a fact.
In the world of sports, the die-hard fan can be the most superstitious human being on earth. We have our rituals, our favorite game day jersey, favorite chair to watch the game, etcetera.
If you are a superstitious fan of the Tennessee Titans, then I have some good news for you…
All signs point to a return trip to the playoffs this season.
Last Thursday night the Titans unveiled their new uniforms in front of 20,000 raucous fans in downtown Nashville. The fanfare and excitement surrounding the event was eerily similar to the 1999 uniform unveiling when the team officially became Nashville’s very own.
That season culminated in a 13-3 record, a miracle finish in the wild card game, improbable road wins in the divisional round and AFC Championship game, and one of the most memorable finishes in Super Bowl history.
No one was picking the Titans to do any damage after back to back 8-8 seasons in 97 and 98. And today, no one is picking the Titans to do any damage after posting back to back 9-7 seasons in 2016 and 2017…even after advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs last season.
The 1999 unveiling preceded a season in which the franchise quarterback, Steve McNair, was entering a make or break year under center. Although he was entering his 5th season as a pro, there were still lingering questions about his ability to lead a franchise as a predominately run-first qb.
While not noted as a predominately run-first qb at this stage of his career, Marcus Mariota is still facing a make or break year after enduring his worst statistical season as a pro in 2017. Like McNair, questions about Mariota’s ability to lead a team to the Super Bowl still linger from local and national media outlets.
Punter Craig Hentrich, running back Eddie George, safety Blaine Bishop, and tight end Frank Wycheck was on hand to model the new uniforms in 1999.
So guess who the Titans brought on stage Thursday night in their now-vintage throw back jerseys? Hentrich, George, Bishop, and Wycheck.
To the cynic is just coincidence. To the superstitious fan…it’s a sign.
But wait…there’s more….
If uniform change doesn’t register on the radar of the superstitious, then history should.
Since relocating to Nashville and officially becoming the Titans, the franchise has followed up each of their playoff appearances with a return trip to the playoffs.
After falling a yard short of forcing overtime in the magical 99 season, the Titans posted the best record in the league the following season.
In 2002 the Titans overcame a 1-4 start to make it all the way to the AFC Championship game. The following season they defeated their arch-nemesis, the Baltimore Ravens, in the wild card round and were a Drew Bennett dropped pass away from defeating the juggernaut Patriots in the divisional round.
After a three-year playoff drought the Vince Young led Titans made the playoffs in 2007, and followed that up with the best record in the league in 2008 behind an explosive and electrifying rookie running back…Chris Johnson.
And last season the Titans ended a decade-long playoff drought behind the heroics of Marcus Mariota. His comeback performance on the road in Kansas City will forever loom large among fans of the game.
Yes, the staunch intellectual will summarily dismiss these events as happenstance or coincidence….but if you are superstitious (as most of us are) then you should be excited for what this season has in store for the new-look Titans.