One thing my 33 faithful readers will know1 is that I fully expected the 2016 Tennessee Titans to exceed most expectations. I would wager that the majority of the national sports media would have had them finishing with no more than four or five wins this season. I think their 9-7 record goes beyond exceeding expectations. It shatters them. And I am unbelievably proud of the Titans for that accomplishment.
I did not address the horrible loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Christmas Eve for a few reasons.
One, I was on vacation with my family for Christmas and I did not want interrupt it.
Two, where we were staying, there was no WiFi access so I was effectively shut out from the internet world. That ended up being a good thing. I didn’t want to write about that loss. The grief was still too near.
Let’s leave it at this: That one loss did not keep the Titans from the playoffs. As a matter of fact, there were six other losses that contributed to missing the post-season. It was disappointing watching the team get outplayed by a team as bad as the Jaguars, but it seemed sort of inevitable in retrospect. Prior to that three game winning streak (Bears, Broncos, Chiefs) the Titans had not won more than two games in a row the entire season. A let down after two huge, emotional wins made perfect sense. I hate it but this team was just not good enough to get over that hurdle. They will be next season.
The Tennessee Titans have battled and fought this entire season.
They did not mail it in once. Even the Jacksonville game was more about an emotional letdown and not a matter of poor effort. They established an identity, something that has been lacking for years in Nashville. They made the rest of the league take notice.
Mike Mularkey and Jon Robinson make a good team. They are the right men for the task ahead. Amy Adams Strunk is the right owner. Marcus Mariota is the right quarterback. (I will gush about him next week in my season wrap-up article.)
This team had no off-the-field issues this season. No arrests. No scandals. This is a team every Tennessee Titans’ fan can be proud of. And here is the great part: this team will only get better. If you have been burned by the Titans for too many years and are hesistant to jump on board, hesitate no longer. It is time. The Tennessee Titans are no longer a joke. They are no longer the laughingstock of the NFL. And they will no longer be a team the media ignores. They will force everyone to pay attention.
Be proud Titans’ fans. The Titans are back.
- It was 32 for a long time, but I finally convinced one of my good college friends, Matt, to start reading. ↩