From 1999 through 2003, the Titans went 56-21 with only 2 seasons that ended without a post-season win. From 2004 through 2007 they went 27-37. It's a tale of two radically different teams, a schizophrenic roller coaster for Titans fans.
In September of 1999 the Tennessee Titans were wrapped in newness: new name, new uniforms, new stadium, new fans and a new chapter in franchise history. They filled every seat in Adelphia Coliseum, and treated those grateful followers to an undefeated season at home and a 13-3 record overall.
Then came the Music City Miracle. Then came the epic win over Jacksonville. Then came the most exciting Super Bowl in NFL history (that's science people). There was the record smashing rise of the Freak, and the retirement of Bruce Matthews. The Titans were the toast of Nashville and the envy of most serious NFL followers for their consistency.
By 2004 the Titans were getting old. The injuries were piling-up, and so was the salary cap number. Back-loaded contracts and veterans in decline were sprinkled all over the roster. After a rough 2004 season the core of the team was blown-up, and Steve McNair's departure after the 2005 season ended the only real 'era' Nashville had seen in professional sports. From 2005 through 2007 the team we see today was assembled, though they struggled to learn how to win again.
Also, there was this one guy who came in for a year or two. He was great at returning kicks, putting strippers through school and keeping cops all over the country busy.
Last year the franchise we'd known was reborn. After years of being undermanned (causing Fisher to call more trick plays, onside-kicks and fake punts than I've ever seen from any other NFL coach) the talent on the field graduated from learning how to play to learning how to win. Vince Young electrified, the running game pounded and the Haynesworth led defense terrified. The Titans defied the naysayers by making the playoffs a year before most though we would be ready.
So what's the point of all of this? We're back! The Titans are a team others hate to play again! Our defense is stocked with Pro Bowl-caliber talent, the offensive line is dominant and the thunder and lighting duo of White and Johnson can grind teams into submission before snapping off huge plays. The roster is stocked with too many hard-nosed players to list hear. They play with ferocity and intensity every weekend. When things go wrong they circle the wagons and stay focused on winning. Nobody pops-off to the media. Nobody tries to steal the spotlight. Even our uniforms finally look awesome.
If it weren't for VY's headline-ready issues I doubt many people would notice that we're 3-0... and even that didn't distract this team!
We Titans fans endured a seriously ugly team for a few years there, but I'm here to tell you this Titans team is built right, and they aren't going anywhere but up. Sure they're flawed in some spots, but I couldn't think of a group of guys or a coaching staff -- even my former personal nemesis Jim Schwartz -- who are more rewarding to root for than these Titans.
So, am I alone in feeling like 3-0 is just the beginning?