The Titans announced this afternoon that they are retiring the numbers 9 and 27 in honor of Steve McNair and Eddie George.
For most Titans fans — myself included — McNair and George remain the two biggest symbols of the Tennessee era of this franchise. The team’s first round picks of the 1995 and 1996 NFL Drafts set the foundation of the team that would eventually become AFC Champions in 1999 and produce the most successful stretch of seasons in the franchise’s time in Nashville.
I was a teenager when McNair and George were taking the Titans to the Super Bowl so both these guys were absolute icons for me. It’s great to see the team recognize these legends with this honor.
No. 9 and No. 27 are the seventh and eighth jersey numbers retired by the franchise, joining No. 1 (Warren Moon), No. 34 (Earl Campbell), No. 43 (Jim Norton), No. 63 (Mike Munchak), No. 65 (Elvin Bethea), and No. 74 (Bruce Matthews).
McNair is one of just three quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least 30,000 passing yards and 3,500 rushing yards over the course of his career (Steve Young and Fran Tarkenton are the other two) and he won an MVP award in 2003. His toughness and leadership helped the Titans to a 76-55 career record with him as the starting quarterback.
George is one of just 31 players to ever reach 10,000 career rushing yards. He went to four Pro Bowls and was selected First Team All Pro in 2000 thanks to his 1,509 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground with 453 yards and 2 more touchdowns through the air. The memories of chants of “Eddie! Eddie!” in what was then called Adelphia Coliseum still give me goosebumps to think about.
Furthermore, Amy Adams-Strunk hinted at an aesthetic upgrade to the Titans Ring of Honor in the stadium which is great news. The team’s all-time greats currently are represented by basic banners hanging on the fencing at the very top of the stadium which, frankly, look a little cheesy. I’m excited to see what the team replaces them with.
The ceremony to officially retire the numbers will be held in conjunction with the Titans home opener against the Colts on September 15th at Nissan Stadium. That should add some additional juice to a massive early season matchup for Tennessee.