“My Story of Fanhood”

May 17, 2011
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
If you know me, you know that I love my Tennessee Titans. They won the first real football game I watched,(The one where a rookie phenom named Vince Young returned home to Houson for the first time to play the Texans. He would go on to run in the game-winning touhdown in overtime.) have a history of being tough and nasty, and are just fun to watch.
After watching this first game, I was not only hooked as a football fan, but I also knew that I loved the Tennessee Titans. The two following seasons after I became a fan went pretty well. We made the playoffs both years, and in 2008, we started the season with a perfect 10-0 record. There is seriously no better feeling you can have as a fan, than feeling unbeatable. Those two years were very similar: We had a hard-nosed defense, and leadership (In 2008, veteran Kerry Collins replaced an injured and emotionally strained VY. He did a great job of not being flashy, managing games, and at times carrying us to a win). We would finish 13-3, but get eliminated by our old rivals, the Ravens, but hey, 13-3 was a VERY nice season.
The following offseason, Titan great, and former starting QB, Steve McNair was shot and killed. The city rallied behind the Titans in honor of McNair. We were supposed to win it all for Steve. This was going to be our year. Think again. We started the season by losing a heartbreaker to the Super Bowl champion Steelers. That's not horrible. Then, the QB who led us to a 10-0 start just the year before was having a horrible season. Did that mean VY would get a chance to return to his former glory? Yes, yes it did, but not before we would start the season 0-6, with the 'cherry on top" 59-0 loss to the only decent Pariots. NO NFL TEAM (especially mine) SHOULD LOSE 59-0. Up to that point of my fanhood, I've never seen a team just quit like that. They had lost one of the key things that made me a fan in the first place: Their toughness. The next game on the schedule was two weeks later, against the Jags. This also marked VY's first start under center since week one of the 2008 season, against, you guessed it, the Jags. He didn't have a spectacular game, but at that point it felt as if ANYTHING different would have been better. VY along with our new nucleus of young skill position players of rookie receiver, Kenny Britt, and Chris Johnson carried the team all the way back to a solid 8-8 record (Having a very stelllar offensive line, anchored by Mike Roos and Dave Stewart helped, too.). VY also added another signature win to his list, with an amazing drive down the field, culminating with a last seccond game-winning TD pass to K-Britt. So, that's it, right? Our QB matured, we had a receiver with a ton of raw skill, and Chris Johnson was becoming arguably, the best running-back in the game (Johnson earned the nickname of CJ2K after rushing for 2,000 yards on the season.). With these players, we had managed to become a flashy, high scoring team. All should have gone well in Nashville, right? Yes, they should have. Well... They did not.
Skip foward to week two of the 2010 season. VY had a horrible game against Pittsburgh, gets benched for Kerry, and we lose another heartbreaker to those Steelers. It was later reported that VY missed several team meetings that week, which probably prompted his poor play, and subsequent benching. Still, we went on to start the season 5-2, and our season was rolling! We also picked up Randy Moss. I was skeptical from the beginning, because he was traded from the Pats to the Vikes. He was then cut. That is ominous. On paper, a combo of VY, CJ, Kenny, and Moss is a dream come true. Our offense should have gotten even better. It didn’t. Randy was hard-headed, and Coach Jeff Fisher was not having it. Our offense, if anything got worse. Zoom to week 11 against the Skins. The Titans were now in the midst of a two game losing streak, making us 5-4. The proverbial stuff had just begun to hit the proverbial fan. Not only was this a horrible game, but VY also got injured and was replaed by rookie QB, Rusty Smith. I am not making this up. Granted, Kerry was hurt, but still, I would have rather had the rotting corpse of Steve McNair play than a guy named Rusty Smith. (Too soon?) After the game, VY decided to throw his pads into the crowd. This was strike one. He then yelled at long-time head coah, Jeff Fisher, and then, he stormed off. Meet strikes two and three. After being put on injured reserve for the rest of the season, Rusty was named the new starter. YOU CAN NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP! In one swoop, the two remaining things that made me a fan years ago were gone. VY was still immature, and Rusty and company had turned the team back to its old low-scoring offense, but without the gritty defense.This meant CJ had to do all the work. He could not. Teams knew we could not pass, so they only focused on one thing: Jamming those twenty-four karat grills down CJ’s throat, thus halting our entire offense. This was not fun. We would finish the season 6-10. It was just getting started. In the offseason, Jeff Fisher, who was heasd coach since 1994 got the axe. Vince Young, who was preceived to be the future as recent as three months earlier was reportedly being shopped around. He will not be back next year.
Let the re-building begin! Management decided to re-haul essentially the whole satff. Our new head coach was Mike Munchack, who was the offensive line coach. We also got a new offensive coordintor, defenive coordintor, and pretty much everything else you could think of. This April, we took part, in the annual NFL Draft. All mock drafts pointed to us picking standout defensive tackle Nick Fairley. This made sense, because it meant we would be going back to what had made us successful in th past: Defense. Instead, we took a VERY green Jake Locker. At pick eight, last year Locker would have been a steal, as he was the projected top pick. But a dissapointig Senior season resulted in him being a boarderline second round pick. This was a MAJOR reach, especially considering that if we did take a QB, we would need an instant starter. Locker is far from this.I think they wanted the antithesis of VY, a more traditional QB skillset. You can not deny Locker’s skill, but this one pick could set us back years. That scares me. I did like our later picks, though. We got Akeem Ayers, Jurrell Casey, and Colin McCarthy. These three players all fit the mold of what the old Titans way of defensive toughness. At the very leat, they add depth to a thin, old defensive line, and linebacking core. I guess they also justify not going with Fairley, too, but not well enough for me.
My experience as a fan has been a memorable one. There were highs and lows. I saw gritty defense and explosive offense. I saw the rise, then fall, then rise again, then fall again of Vince Young. I saw Chris Johnson rush for 2,000 yrds, and I’ve seen what the death of a former star could mean to ctiy, and its team. Sure, there were not any Music city Miracles, but you don’t always need one. I was “born” a Titan fan, and I will do everything possible to remain a Titan fan.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback