Historical Moments Since 1997
1997: After getting clearance to leave Houston a year early, the team needed to find a temporary home while construction began on their new stadium in Nashville. Eventually the Oilers would sign an agreement to play at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. On August 31st the Oilers made their Tennessee debut at the Liberty Bowl by beating the Oakland Raiders 24-21 in overtime. Highlighting the day was Eddie George rushed for 216 yards. However the Oilers would lose their next 4 games, as QB Steve McNair struggled in his first full year as a starter. The Oilers would recover to win 3 in a row, but finished at 8-8, while alternating wins and losses in the 2nd half. Playing in Memphis the Oilers would go 6-2 at home, despite struggling to get more then 30,000 a game. After the season, the Oilers decide to move again, deciding they are better off playing in Nashville their eventual home, they sign a deal to play a season on the campus of Vanderbilt University.
1998: The Oilers get off to a slow start playing in Nashville's Vanderbilt Stadium, losing 3 of their first 4 games. However, QB Steve McNair, and Eddie George continued to develop into All-Pros as the Oilers started to put together wins, in total taking 7 of 10 to stand at 8-6 in playoff contention with 2 weeks to go. However, the Oilers would finish at 8-8 again after losing their last 2 games to playoff teams.
1999: With their new stadium in Nashville finally complete, the team decides to make a name change to align themselves closer with the people of Tennessee. Playing on Nashville's Greek influences, the name Titans is chosen exemplifying power, strength, knowledge and excellence. On September 12th the Titans christen Adelphia Coliseum in grand style beating the Cincinnati Bengals 36-35 on Al Del Greco's FG. Adelphia Coliseum would provided just what the team needed, a home field, and they would take advantage winning all 8 home games, while compiling a 13-3 record, and making the playoff as a Wild Card. Despite finishing 2nd in the AFC Central the Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars twice, handing them their only losses on the season. Along the way DE Jevon Kearse quickly established himself as one of the most dominant players on defense collecting 14 sacks, and winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. In their first playoff game in Tennessee the Titans host the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round. The Titans held the lead most of the day, but the Bills rallied, and appeared to have dealt the Titans a heartbreaking loss by taking a 16-14 lead, with 16 seconds left in the game. Needing a miracle Frank Wycheck lateraled the kick off to Kevin Dyson who ran the 75-yard for a Touchdown that gave the Titans a 22-16 win, in a play that earned instant folklore in the NFL, earning the nickname of the "Music City Miracle." The Titans would go on to upset the Colts in Indianapolis in Divisional 19-16, as Eddie George rushed for 162 yards, including a key 68-yard TD run. In the AFC Championship Game the Titans traveled to Jacksonville hoping to beat the Jaguars for the 3rd time. After falling behind 14-10 in the 3rd Quarter, the Titans would win the game behind 23 unanswered points 33-14 to advance to the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Leading the 2nd half surge was QB Steve McNair who ran for 2 Touchdown scores.
Super Bowl: Facing the St. Louis Rams in Atlanta the Titans saw their dreams of a Lombardi trophy fading trailing 16-0 late in the 3rd Quarter. However, the Titans showed no quit as Eddie George got them on the board with a TD in the final seconds of the 3rd Quarter. Although they missed a 2-point conversion the Titans were not finished yet scoring 10 points in the 4th Quarter to tie the game at 16-16. However, just after the 2-minute warning the Rams stuck back scoring on a Kurt Warner 73-yard TD pass. Now down 23-16 with less then 2 minutes left the Titans needed another miracle to get to overtime. Steve McNair drove the Titans down the field and had them at the 9-yard line with 7 seconds left. There he would have one last play to tie the game, as he hit WR Kevin Dyson who had an angel for the endzone, but Dyson was brought down 1-yard short of tying score as time ran out.
2000: After starting the season with a loss in Buffalo to the Bills the Titans established themselves as the best team in the AFC by winning 8 straight, and taking over first place in the AFC Central. However, their winning streak would come to an end on November 12th with a 24-23 loss to the Baltimore Raves. It was also their first loss after 13 wins at Adelphia Coliseum. The Titans would lose only one more game the rest of the season finishing with a 13-3 record, while capturing Home Field Advantage. In the Divisional Round the Titans faced the Ravens again, and had many opportunities to take control in the 1st half. However, PK Al Del Greco had a miserable day missing a FG, and having another block as they game entered the 4th Quarter tied at 10. The Titans appeared set to take a lead as Del Greco set up for a chip shot. However, he had another FG blocked, and this time it was returned 90-yards for a TD as the Ravens took the lead. A few minutes later the Ravens would salt the game on a Ray Lewis Interception return that gave them a 24-10 win. Following the game Del Greco, the all time scorer in franchise history was released.
2001: After losing FB Lorenzo Neal to Free Agency RB Eddie George was left without a lead blocker, and he was exposed right form the start in a 31-23 loss to the Dolphins at Adelphia Coliseum. In that game the Titans were not only beat they were beat up as QB Steve McNair, and RB Eddie George were injured in the game. With their top stars playing hurt the Titans got off to a 0-3 start. McNair would return and would have another stellar season passing for 3,350 yards and 21 TD passes. However, George would struggle with pain all season and would be limited to 939 yards, as the Titans could never get it going, as their playoff hopes ended early in a disappointing 7-9 season.
2002: The Titans started the season on a solid note with a 27-24 comeback win over the Philadelphia Eagles at The Coliseum. However, along the way Jevon Kearse suffered a foot injury that would force him to miss most of the season. Without Kearse the Titans looked lost losing their next 4 games. However, the Titans would rebound to win their next 5 games. After a 1-point loss on the road to the Baltimore Ravens, the Titans found themselves facing a second straight loss trailing the New York Giants on the road 29-21 with 9 seconds left in the game, when Steve McNair hit Frank Wycheck with a 9-yard TD pass. Still needing a 2-point conversion to force overtime McNair rushed up the middle to knot the game at 29. In overtime McNair would drive the Titans into Field Goal range where Joe Nedney hit the game winner for 38 yards out to improve the Titans to 32-29. The win would spur the Titans on to a strong finish as it started a season ending 5-game winning streak that enabled the Titans to capture the newly formed AFC South with a record of 11-5, which also earned them a first round bye. However, the Titans would not garner any respect form the rest of the league, as they were the only team not to have a representative earn a trip to the Pro Bowl. Facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Playoffs at The Coliseum the Titans would be put to the test as Eddie George was knocked out of the game early in the 3rd Quarter with a concussion and QB Steve McNair was playing through badly injured thumb, as they game went into overtime tied at 31. In overtime the Titans took the opening kick down the field when Joe Nedney hit a 31-yard FG. However, as fireworks were celebrating the Titans victory the referees ruled the Steers had called time out before the kick. On his second attempt Nedney's kick would sail wide. However the Steelers would be called for running into the kicker giving Nedney another chance, which he nailed from 26 yards out to send the Titans to the AFC Championship. Facing the Oakland Raiders on the road with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line the Titans appeared to be in good shape late in the first half leading 17-14 on the road. However, 2 costly fumbles deep in Raiders territory gave the Raiders a 24-17 halftime lead. The Titans would not recover as the Raiders went on to win the game 41-24.
2003: The Titans started off the season by getting a measure of revenge against the Oakland Raiders winning an exciting opener in primetime 25-20. After splitting their next 4 games the Titans ran off a 6-game winning streak as QB Steve McNair made the Titans one of the top offenses in the NFL with 7 of their first 10 games scoring at least 30 points, despite playing with consistent pain through a variety of injuries. The injuries would catch up to McNair as he missed 2 of the last 3 games after the Titans hopes of winning the division title were lost in a 29-27 loss to the Colts at the Coliseum in Week 14. Nonetheless the Titans would have a successful season getting into the playoffs as a Wild Card with a solid 12-4 record as Steve McNair shared NFL MVP honors with Colts QB Peyton Manning. In the playoffs the Titans battled the Baltimore Ravens in a classic nail bitter as both McNair and Eddie George battling injury had solid games as the Titans got the road upset 20-17 with a 46-yard Game Winning Field Goal by Gary Anderson in the final minute. However things would prove tougher the following week as the Titans traveled to Foxboro where they were met by temperatures near 0 degrees in against the New England Patriots. Battling the cold and pain McNair had another solid game passing for over 200 yards as the game was tied at 14 in the 4th Quarter. After the Pats took a 17-14 lead with 4:11 left in the game. The Titans had one more chance to tie the game or pull off the upset. However the drive died at midfield as did the Titans season. The off-season would prove turbulent for the Titans as Eddie George and Jevon Kearse were forced to be let go do to salary cap concerns while Frank Wycheck was forced to retire due to continued concussion problems.
2004: The new look Titans would start the season earlier then expected when a coming Hurricane move in Miami moved their season opener from Sunday to Saturday, the early start would not effect the Titans who shut down the Dolphins for a solid 17-7 win. However wins would not come easy as they dropped their next 3 games as QB Steve McNair suffered through a season of nagging injuries that would limit it to just 8 games and have him contemplating retirement. Without their MVP McNair it seemed as if the air had been let out of the balloon as the Titans endured a disappointing 5-11 season their worst since moving to Tennessee. After the disappointing season the Titans continued to make a youth movement as several key players including Samari Rolle, Kevin Carter and Andre Dyson were let go.
2005: Coming off a disappointing season the Titans got off to a rocky start as they were pounded in Week 1 by the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-7. They would recover to win their home opener a week later against the Baltimore Ravens 25-10. However, there would be more days like Week 1 as the season went on as the Titans struggled all year with one of the worst defenses in the NFL, while the body of QB Steve McNair continued to break down. As the season wore on back up Billy Volek would see more and more playing time as rumors circulated that Steve McNair might actually retire. The Titans would go on to finish in 3rd Place with a 4-12 record, their worst since moving to Tennessee. Following the season the Titans rebuilding continued as they drafted Rose Bowl Hero Vince Young out of Texas, while rudely showing Steve McNair the door by first not allowing him to use the team's practice facility, before eventually trading him to the Baltimore Ravens.
History obtained from http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nfl/ten/tentitans.html