We finally had our first upset yesterday, with Kyle Vanden Bosch holding off Samari Rolle. It has been exciting to watch this bracket develop, and some of these round 2 matchups are going to be very interesting. However, today's matchup, featuring a 2 seed and a 7 seed, may not be as close as yesterday's:
(2) Kevin Mawae: Mawae was a huge piece of some Titans teams in the mid-to-late 2000's. He was signed after the Titans had some down years, due to the salary cap purge. However, he was the best player in a crucial free agent haul that turned the overall makeup of the team around. Centers do not typically get the appreciation that they deserve, which makes Mawae all the more valuable, considering the number of accolades that he's earned. As a Titan, he was an all-pro in back-to-back years, in 2007 and 2008. He was also an 8 time Pro Bowler throughout his entire career. When Kevin Mawae joined the team, quarterback and the running game were not exactly the team's strongest aspects. So, a nasty, extraordinarily talented center to solidify the middle was absolutely vital--it sprung things open for the run game, and protected the quarterback, which had the offense working at an effective level, leading to playoff appearances in 2007 and 2008. Also, in 2009, he helped block for a 2000 yard rusher in Chris Johnson. Not only was Mawae a very gifted center and key piece of the offensive line, but he was also a vital player in the locker room. The team needed a veteran leader, and he fit that to a tee. Mawae was a huge reason for the Titans' resurgence after the salary cap purge. The franchise is still looking to replace him, 7 years later.
(7) Kerry Collins: Kerry Collins' spot on the bracket was called into question by a lot of fans on the site, however, I believe that he absolutely deserves it. Was he the best quarterback that this league has ever seen? No. That being said, he brought something to the Titans that they needed in 2007 and 2008, and that was a stable quarterback. These teams had great defenses and great run games. However, they needed a quarterback that could keep the offense on schedule and protect the ball, which Vince Young proved that he was much too erratic for. He was great for the Titans, especially in 2008, when he very much was a key piece. If Vince Young had started every game that season, things would have gone very differently. Considering the franchise's struggles at quarterback, he should be appreciated all the more for what he brought to the team.
My vote: I very much believe that Kerry Collins' career with the Titans, albeit short, is constantly underrated by fans. That being said, it is clear that Kevin Mawae is the choice here.
Updated Bracket: It was unanimously decided that we would move forward with the revised bracket, so this is now the official bracket: