The Titans have been mediocre or worse for a long long time. There was that one magical season in 2008, with a veteran quarterback, a return of Jevon Kearse, and a dynamic duo at running back. But it ended as abruptly as it began and the team returned the woes of .500 football. Or did they?
Since 2004 the Titans have a record of 98 - 125. That’s well below a .500 average. That’s well below 8-8 football, a saying quick on the lips of every disgruntled Titan fan that wasn’t happy with Fisher, Munchak or even now Mularkey. You should really only be so lucky to have played mediocre football.
I get it. Fans want more and no one should settle for mediocrity. You want to win and you want to win consistently.
Titans fans have had almost nothing to root for in a long long time. So much so that many of them, (as I lower my eyes in shame)*, even hung on to the hope that Jake Locker could actually be the answer, followed by a strong contingent that the Titans had found a seventh round miracle in Zach Mettenberger.
Now Titans fans have actually gotten a taste of what winning football could be like. They’ve seen what a real quarterback can play like. And it’s made them salivate all the more. I only caution that they don’t bite the hands that feeds them.
I understand not believing in Mike Mularkey. I understand and actually agree with being upset with the hire to begin with and the lack of a search for options. What I don’t understand is the quick hook fans want right now. You see, it was Mike Mularkey paired with Jon Robinson that has brought you this taste. This taste of a chance of actually being good. That grabbed this slovenly drowning franchise by the neck and yanked it out of the gutter. That gave pride and purpose to the team that plays hard no matter what. And while you may believe that Mularkey is what’s holding this team back, he’s also the one that got the team here to begin with.
The Titans are both winning and losing close games. They are 8-7 going into the final game of the year, and yes only have a chance at the playoffs because Andrew Luck is in Europe and Deshaun Watson blew a tire. They are the definition of a mediocre team. Being okay with that, FOR NOW, doesn’t make you complacent. Just patient.
I believe Mularkey should be allowed to build and pilot this team another year**. I believe that for the most part, building a team, attitude, chemistry etc is a process. I also believe the stakes get higher next year. This year, I wanted no blowouts, competitive close games with a better division record, and a chance at the end. Next year you’ve got to show me improvement on that.
A number of disgruntled fans seem to be able to see the future. They know this path will end in mediocrity because that’s what has happened before, both for the Titans as well as the coaches. To that I say that people can change, learn and grow. Even head coaches of football teams. In the end these fans may just be proven right. In fact I would even venture they probably will be. I’m not saying I have faith that Mularkey will get this team to the next level, but I do believe he’s earned the right to prove me wrong.
In the end I believe all fans want the same thing. Other than winning it all, they want their team to succeed and win and be in the mix at the end of the season consistently. The only difference here is how long they are willing to give someone to prove that they can do that.
* I’ll never forget the game winning touchdown to Justin Hunter to finally beat the Chargers.
** I’m going to have to turn off all social media after posting this.