Man, that game last week was UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! When you combine the week 17 game with the comeback, it truly feels like a weight has been lifted off this team’s shoulders. As amazing as last week’s game was and as much as I can reminisce, there is another game to play. If you are a Titans fan, I’m sure that you have read, seen, and heard the same things as I have, where everyone in the media is counting this team out and considering this game to be a second bye week for the opposition. At first, I was thinking about matchups and the reasons to be confident and concerned about this game. But the more I thought about it, the more unnecessary I believed that it was. We know the challenges that this team is facing tonight. We know what the matchups will be. We know everything surrounding this game. Instead of rehashing the same things that we’ve heard all week, I wanted to take things in a different direction. Let me first say that I believe in this team, no matter where they are and who they play. Do they have the greatest roster, coach, etc. in the league? No. But there are several things about this team that make me proud to be a fan, and that make me believe that they can win any game. Without further ado, these are the 10 things that I love about this team:
- They are strong: I have been saying this all season long: This team shows up for the big games. I’m not going to even pretend like I know what the outcome of tonight’s game will be. That being said, I know that they will leave it all out on the field. No matter what the Titans have faced this season, we have not and will not see them quit. They also lead the league in 4th quarter comebacks. While this season may have caused us all to grow a gray hair or two, I absolutely love how strong this team is.
- They are resilient: Think about everything that has happened this season. All of the hamstring injuries. Losing Mariota for a few weeks. 57-14. All of the offensive struggles. Losing 3 straight down the stretch to face a must win situation against the division champions and one of the best defense in recent memory. Speculation about Mike Mularkey’s job security. 21-3. This team has faced just about every form of adversity that someone can think of for one season. Yet, they have rebounded every single time. Despite so many events that can potentially derail a season taking place, this team is 2 wins away from being in the Super Bowl. Mike Mularkey constantly says it, and it is completely true: this team has a will to win like no other. As a fan, there is nothing I respect more.
- They have swagger: This is the most swagger I’ve seen a Titans team have in a long time. Whether it is Marcus Mariota’s strut and trash talk after his stiff arm, or defensive stars clowning Blake Bortles, it has become evident that this team has some bark to its bite. They are not afraid to say something, back it up, and keep it moving. Every championship team that we have seen has a group of interesting personalities, and it has been very refreshing to see stuff like this coming out of the Titans’ locker room.
- They’ve done some seriously cool stuff: It feels great to get behind a team that makes you proud as a fan. Whether it’s the team surprising coach Mularkey with his Salute to Service award, surprising all-time great Blaine Bishop with his induction to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, coach Mularkey bringing Kool & the Gang to the facility to sing the team’s favorite song after a win, Amy Adams Strunk attending the Titans tailgate in Kansas City, or the team’s outreach to some very special people like Heather Melton and Travis Van, this team always have something that leaves me feeling good about being a fan. To any new fans of the team, trust me when I say it was not always like this. I credit this organization for completely turning things around and making me proud to be a Titans fan.
- The veterans who have endured some tough times: After beating Jacksonville the clinch the playoffs, I felt so happy for veterans like Derrick Morgan, Jurrell Casey, Brett Kern, Karl Klug, Wesley Woodyard, Taylor Lewan, and others who have been with the team during their struggles—coaching changes, free agents who have come and gone, losing streaks, and more. Through it all, they have worked so hard to get this team back to where they need to be, and it has been amazing to watch them win in the playoffs and be a part of this special team.
- The sweep: With all of the trash that Jacksonville talks and all of the media love that they get, the Titans whooped their behinds twice and was not afraid to talk about it. After Christmas Eve last season, it was beautiful to watch this team pull off the sweep.
- They’ve bought in: I really do not want to get into a conversation about the coaching drama, so I will leave it at this: It is more difficult than we think to get all 53 players with big egos + all of the coaches to fully and consistently buy in to a message and fully commit to a team-first approach. The main team that we have seen do this for nearly 2 straight decades will be hosting the Titans’ upcoming playoff matchup. It is something worth valuing in today’s NFL. After seeing this team buy in and rally despite a lot of outside noise and seeing what this team can do, I have realized that this is something greater than a typical football cliche. It’s the key to a successful team.
- #59: Seeing the players rally around Tim Shaw absolutely warms my heart. He has become a key part of this team, and has reached each and every person in that building, and I think that it’s a source of this team’s strength and resiliency.
- The media hates them: We have seen it all week, and really all season. No one wants to give this team a chance, and frankly, no one in the media truly wants to see this team advance in the playoffs. No matter where you go, you will see a member of the media saying this, that, and the third about this team and the players, and as a fan, I grow sick of it. But it also serves as yet another rallying point. I love when this team wins and it makes the media look bad. I am seriously hoping for it again today.
- They’ve made me a positive fan: Before these past two seasons, I had become an ultra-negative fan. I called for players to be released, coaches to be fired, and even for the team to be sold at one point. I expected to be disappointed, and at some points I was not feeling any true satisfaction in a Titans’ victory. I am truly thankful that so many good men, skillful players, and strong-willed people have come to this organization, because I am now a proud fan. Even in the darkest moments, I now have hope for this franchise, because I have seen how far they have come and what they can accomplish. There is no greater feeling than being a positive fan, and despite some hiccups, I have enjoyed this season like no other.
Guys, I have no idea what will happen tonight. Obviously I am hoping for a win like the rest of you, but it has been absolutely refreshing to see a team like this one. Whenever they are counted out, they rebound. Now, they are 2 games away from the Super Bowl. Think about that. Just 2 seasons ago, they were the absolute worst team in the NFL. Now, we are legitimately wondering if these team can knock of the New England Patriots on the road in the playoffs. They have come so far in such a short period of time. No matter what happens, I will cherish this group and this season forever. It has been a wild, special, and unique ride that has gotten us to this point. I am truly proud to be a fan of this team, and I am hoping that we can see them play a couple more games. GO TITANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!