As we come upon one of my favorite times of the year I feel the butterflies in my stomach start to swirl around. I love the nervous energy, the anticipation, the thrill of not knowing how many parts the Tennessee Titans will have to replace this coming year as opposed to the previous year.
You see, I’ve been following the Oilers/Titans for 26 years, since I was 10 years old. I don’t mean to date myself, but for the most part it’s the same thing: wash, rinse and repeat.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about constantly rebuilding, constantly watching guys that the Titans draft, grow, develop, and then move on to greener pastures once free agency hits. There are two exceptions.
In the mid-90’s, specifically ’91-’93, (the run and shoot era) Bud kept the team together in an attempt to make it to the Super Bowl by keeping players such as William Fuller, Al Smith, Ray Childress, and signing Wilbur Marshall, and trading for Lee Williams. The Titans again tried keeping things together after their Super Bowl year in ’99. Keeping both of these teams together to try and win the Super Bowl is understandable. The team was right at the door and ready to make a run but they just couldn’t do it. Of course for this to happen (the Titans having a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl) only six times in the last 30 years says something as well.
So what else is going on? Well there is this perception that the Titans are a small market team and that they don’t have money to compete salary wise with the bigger market teams. Wrong! Bud Adams is an old Texas oilman who has enough money to buy half the United States.
The truth, Bud Adams probably likes the profit more with the team right now more than he likes winning. How else can you explain the fact that for years we have seen players get drafted, developed, play through their rookie contract, and then leave for big free agent bucks. Luckily most of these players have not come back to haunt us with fantastic performances, but when a good player leaves it creates a void that is sometimes too hard to fill. Get a few of those holes on your team and it creates a situation where a team is constantly rebuilding.
Welcome to the Tennessee Titans!!!
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