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A franchise that has repeatedly changed with the times to evolve into the current football club we see on the field today, the Tennessee Titans originated in 1960 in the Eastern Division of the AFL before joining the NFL following the 1970 merger. Known at that time as the Houston Oilers, the team would move to Tennessee in 1997 and adopt the Titans name in 1999.
Despite the changes, this franchise cannot escape their snake bitten nature, with their only two championship wins occurring back to back in 1960 and 1961 in the AFL. The Titans made it to the Super Bowl only once, losing a heartbreaker to the Greatest Show on Turf in the St. Louis Rams in 1999. Quarterback Steve McNair’s pass on the final play of the game to wide receiver Andre Dyson resulted in a tackle just inches short of the goal line in the waning seconds of the game, sealing a Rams victory and breaking the hearts of Titans fans.
Not all history has favored the opposition, however, as the Titans were the beneficiaries of one of the most famous plays in NFL history. Nicknamed the Music City Miracle, an unlikely play at the end of a 2000 Wild Card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills saw tight end Frank Wycheck throw a lateral pass to Kevin Dyson who sprinted 75 yards to the end zone and a Tennessee victory. Fans have debated for years about whether or not it was actually a lateral pass, but the Titans had the call go their way and moved on in the playoffs that year.
Today, fourth year Quarterback (and former second overall pick) Marcus Mariota has every intention of leading this team not only back to the title game, but to their first Super Bowl victory. Circling around him in the huddle this season will be receivers Eric Decker, Rishard Matthews, and Corey Davis. The number five overall pick from Western Michigan in 2017 is looking to build on a solid first season in the league. Delanie Walker will bear the brunt of the work at Tight End. The running back position tandem on DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry kept opposing defenses on their heels.
A wild card berth set the stage for a dramatic playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs in which the Titans narrowly emerged as the victors by a score of 22-21. Their playoff hopes would end, however, the next week at the hands of the eventual AFC Champion New England Patriots in a 35-14 loss. A taste of the postseason has both the team and fans excited for the future of this team.
Bud Adams, the late owner and founder of the franchise, had the privilege of watching some amazingly talented players play for him over the years. Legends of the Oilers/Titans include the likes of Warren Moon, Earl Campbell, Elvin Bethea, Bruce Matthews, Mike Munchak, Steve McNair, Eddie George, and Keith Bullock. For a more detailed history of the Tennessee Titans click here.