It is probably enormously egotistical of me to occupy space on your Fanposts with this missive, especially since I am a "lurker" rather than a "contributor" to MCM (I did give a stab at commenting but lost time for it after the 2011 season). But here goes: after 21 years of rooting for the Oilers and Titans -- a sudden, but deep and decisive feeling within me tells me it is time to move on. I fell compelled to share this epitaph of my fandom with you.
I became an Oilers fan in 1991. At the time I was living in Louisiana but my roots were in Houston. When I started following football, it made sense for me to follow the Oilers. Emotionally that was a very unfortunate decision, because that team was the opposite of clutch. The Run-n-Shoot put up amazing numbers on offense. In 1993 Buddy Ryan's 46 scheme did the same on defense. But we flamed out in the playoffs... in 1992 we allowed an Elway fourth quarter comeback. In 1993 we were up 35-3 against Buffalo and yet allowed them to come back for a win. In 1994 we flamed out against an inferior Chiefs team that we had defeated 35-0 in the regular season. My friends mocked me for supporting such a loser team. At least I had the Rockets in the Spring....
But I stuck with the team. I sat through the rebuild -- first Fisher, then McNair, then George. Even though the team had moved to Tennessee I was emotionally invested in the coaches and players. And they paid me back by slowly crafting a strong, steady team that had "clutch" written all over it. Finally.
Then came the Music City Miracle. For a fan, an event like that is once in a lifetime, if that. The Buffalo loss of '93 was avenged in spectacular fashion. After that, the Super Bowl. We lost, but played a game worthy of respect. Though we didn't win the big one, and we never made it back, the Titans teams of the first half of the last decade were ones that any fan could find pride. McNair, Mason, Bishop, Bulluck -- these guys were epic.
Then came the great bust. But, compared to the late '90s, this was nothing. We still had a competent coach. And, for a while at least, it seemed we had found another franchise quarterback. He certainly won a lot of games. That 98-yard drive against Arizona is probably my 2nd favorite moment as a fan.
But then it imploded. Fisher grew stale. VY regressed into Vunce. And so the Old Regime collapsed, as it had to. But -- with the owner's seat is occupied by a senile nonagenarian -- the odds were stacked against our ability to hire a credible new management team. So we hired a new coach whose resume highlight to date was that he was really good at pushing around defensive tackles. HoF. But Xs and Os? Previous management experience? Not so much... but hey... Thorchack! Yea.
It got worse. Bad coordinator hires. A failure to address our critical needs in the draft. The disappointing performance of our new franchise quarterback. Then a series of inexplicable firings. Got rid of the GM but not the coach. Fired the OC but didn't replace him. Kenny 'effing Brittiot. Ugh.
Suddenly it feels old. I've lost my passion. I live in Austin and have never been to Nashville. For all my life I've never personally known another Oiler/Titan fan. At some point in the last two months, I started losing interest. I don't know why. I didn't ask for it. It just happened.
In life, you can lose your love and find yourself alone. In the NFL, I don't think that's possible. To truly love the game you have to love a team. So, almost mysteriously, I found myself paying more and more interest in the Seahawks. I won't lie. The inspiring play and person of Russell Wilson was key. But there were other factors. I am a huge admirer of Pete Carroll's approach to coaching. I have spent a lot of time working on consulting projects in Seattle in recent years. The new uniforms are the best in the league, by far (IMHO - Kudos to the Nike design team). It just all seems to add up. After a while, something just clicked.
I'm providing evidence. But this isn't a fact-based decision. It's an emotional one, though without doubt it is a product of factual events.
So... there you have it. The eulogy of my Titans fanhood, if you will. I don't mean it to be depressing, or a negative. It just is.
I've tremendously enjoyed MCM over the years. Jimmy, Gramsey, August, Winnie, Superhorn, DReese -- thank you for all the great content and insights. Pratt, FOTD -- thank you for adding humor with you comments and memes. Everyone else, you're awesome too.
Take care. Peace. Shalom. Adieu. And Go Titans! (if I can offer any parting luck).