Before starting this conversation, I want to say that this post was a long time coming. I had planned to write about this before the AJ Brown trade; that’s how long I’ve been putting off this conversation.
But the topic of discussion is that in my personal opinion; and I do not say this lightly but I truly believe that the Titans superbowl window has officially closed… for now at least and if truly unlucky then maybe for the foreseeable future.
These past few years were the Titans best chance of making it and eventually winning a superbowl. In 2019, although I disagree with the switch at quarterback the Titans did make the AFC championships but fell just short. That 2019 season was the closest the Titans came to the superbowl since their 1999-2000 season when they made the superbowl. However, this team felt young and inexperienced in the playoffs and ultimately this was probably why the Titans didn’t make it.
The following year the Titans took a titanic (pun intended) step forward in terms of offense but the defense routinely couldn’t keep up. In the 2020 season the Titans offense had a historic season offensively and while the defense was horrible the team should’ve made a deeper playoff push than they did.
Come the 2021 season and the script was switched. The defense drastically improved and the offense fell flatter than what fans were expecting. After the Julio Jones trade this offense was supposed to be on par if not better than the 2020 offense but failed to live up to those expectations due to injuries and offensive play calls.
That three year window between 2019-2021 was idealistically the Titans best chance of winning a superbowl. Dating back from 2019 until 2021 this team had a quarterback who was playing lights out, a very good receiver duo in Corey Davis and AJ Brown, tight ends who did their jobs well in Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firsker. Oh and let’s not forget our beast of a back in King Derrick Henry. Defensively, we had players the likes of Jurell Casey, Jeffrey Simmons, Kevin Byard as well as breakout stars and newcomer Harold Landry and Denico Autry making their presence known. All of this culmination of talent within that three year frame should’ve resulted in at least one superbowl appearance.
In that 2019 season it started the journey for a team hungry to hunt down their first superbowl but inexperience let them down. The 2020 season saw them reach an offense never seen before but a defense that was lackluster. Then, the 2021 season saw a defensive turnaround only for the offense to fall behind. Even with the injury to Derrick Henry and the 93 total players the Titans still secured the number one seed and should’ve represented the AFC in the Superbowl. The Titans had it all but couldn’t put it together. One year the offense plays phenomenally while the defense flops and the next year the opposite.
There are a plethora of reasons why I feel that the Titans superbowl window has closed. Firstly, I question the roster and talent on this team. Last year we had a tremendous defense and an offense that tried to remain afloat through the injuries to Derrick Henry, AJ Brown and Julio Jones. This year we no longer have AJ Brown or Julio Jones and are relying strictly on Derrick Henry. Defensively, we lost Harold Landry to an ACL injury and although they started off rough they have since gotten better. The amount of star players that this team had vs. last year has changed drastically and if we couldn’t even make it past the divisional round last year with the likes of AJ Brown and Julio Jones then I hate to imagine what it’ll take this year to advance in the playoffs. We’ve slowly but surely lost talent and have replaced them with players not up to the talents we’ve let go of.
Secondly, the cap situation is the next reason. With the money strap into the quarterback, running back, left tackle, outside linebackers, and safety position we’ve had little to no room bringing in free agents to replace the talent we’ve lost. Our offensive line and receiver core have both taken a hit due to the cap situation that we are currently in.
Lastly, I want to talk about the quarterback situation. I’ve already expressed how I feel about Tannehill in a previous post. If with AJ Brown and Julio Jones last year was what Tannehill can give us then without them his job just became extremely more difficult. Some say that we have Treylon Burks and Robert Woods but neither has made any significant impact when they were on the field. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see Tannehill connect with Burks and Woods and see this offense take off but realistically speaking it most likely won’t. Not to mention, the AFC has been loaded with some very good quarterbacks and Tannehill either needs to step it up tremendously or the Titans need to find someone that can lead them to new heights.
Overall, too much is working against this team to realistically say that they can win a superbowl now or in the near future. It pains me to say this but I don’t think we can win a superbowl with Derrick Henry anymore. As each season passes he ages and this team is nowhere near ready to contend for a championship any time soon. I truly wish that I am absolutely wrong about this but I don’t see things getting soon enough.