Yesterday's matchup was an absolute blowout, which anyone could have seen coming from miles away. That is what 1 seeds do to 8 seeds in tournaments. However, today's matchup should be a much closer one. It is interesting for a number of reasons. First off, this matchup will essentially decide the best Tennessee Titans' wide receiver to date. Derrick Mason and Nate Washington are the two receivers in this bracket with the highest seeds. Unless Kevin Dyson or Drew Bennett go on a miraculous run, this will likely decide who the fans believe is the best Titans receiver of all time. Also, sentimentality will play a key role in the voting. I am very interested to see who wins this matchup.
(3) Derrick Mason: Mason had a great Titans career. While his first three years don't show much offensive production, he exploded in the 2000 season, almost racking up 900 yards. After that, he had a 1000 yard season every year as a Titan--4 years in a row. He also was a fantastic returner on special teams. Titans fans can remember his kick return against the Jaguars in the 1999 AFC Championship game, that busted things wide open. He was probably the most consistently good Titans wide receiver ever. As we all know, the franchise has historically had trouble at the position, which makes Mason's value go up even more. However, his main knock is his post-Titans career. He went to the rival Baltimore Ravens after the infamous salary cap purge, and was very bitter after the fact. One game, when facing the Titans, Mason ran straight to the Titans' logo in the endzone and spiked the ball on it. When it was time to retire, he decided to retire as a Raven, instead of as a Titan. He certainly has lost his fair share of points among the fanbase.
(6) Nate Washington: Number 85 was almost always a fan favorite during his time in Nashville. His first season on the team can be remembered by some big drops, but after that, he really improved and turned into a very solid wide receiver. As previously mentioned, the Titans have had somewhat of a "wide receiver curse" since Derrick Mason left for Baltimore. However, Nate Washington did his best to combat that. He went for a memorable 1000 yards in 2011. During his time in Nashville, he battled and played through a number of injuries, showing true toughness, even during tough seasons with bad quarterbacks. In a time where some bad teams needed a veteran leader, he emerged. While he also left in free agency for a rival team, it was in a very different fashion. There was not any kind of animosity, and he was grateful for his opportunity as a Titan. While his statistics do not match Mason's, he gets an emotional edge, due to being the antithesis of Mason from a character standpoint.
My vote: I went back and forth on this matchup a couple of times. However, I think that I am going to pick Nate Washington here. While Mason had better statistics, I think Nate Washington identifies with the Titans and their fanbase much more. I really wish Washington could have played with Steve McNair. It seems like their two personalities would have meshed really well together; they are both tough players and team leaders. Also, While Washington didn't have Mason's numbers, his best quarterback by far as a Titan was a washed up Matt Hasselbeck, and he put up 1000 yards that season. I think this will be a close matchup, but I am going with Nate in the upset.