Ready for the NFL playoffs to once again include the Tennessee Titans? Ending a four-season playoff drought—and nine-year drought without a playoff win—begins with one simple sports lingo: protect this house.
It’s a simple theory. If a team can’t defend its home turf, then how will they win enough road games to make up for it? Unless you’re the New York Giants, this usually doesn’t happen. Most Super Bowl contenders will set themselves up for postseason success when they win at least 75 percent of their home games.
Here are the home records and overall records for every Super Bowl champion from the last 10 seasons (2003-12):
Super Bowl Champions: Home Records (2003-12)
2012 Baltimore Ravens: 6-2 (10-6)
2011 New York Giants: 4-4 (9-7)
2010 Green Bay Packers: 7-1 (10-6)
2009 New Orleans Saints 6-2 (13-3)
2008 Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-2 (12-4)
2007 New York Giants: 3-5 (10-6)
2006 Indianapolis Colts: 8-0 (12-4)
2005 Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-3 (11-5)
2004 New England Patriots: 8-0 (14-2)
2003 New England Patriots: 8-0 (14-2)
Seven of the 10 champions won at least six regular-season home games. Not among those teams were the 2005 Steelers, 2007 Giants and 2011 Giants. They clinched playoff berths because of their status as road warriors. Their lackadaisical home records complicated their playoff journeys as they had to play most of their games away from home.
Former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher was often criticized for his teams’ tendencies toward mediocrity. Over the last few seasons, that mediocrity has been on full display at LP Field:
Tennessee Titans: Home Records (2003-12)
2012: 4-4 (6-10)
2011: 5-3 (9-7)
2010: 3-5 (6-10)
2009: 5-3 (8-8)
2008: 7-1 (13-3)
2007: 5-3 (10-6)
2006: 4-4 (8-8)
2005: 3-5 (4-12)
2004: 2-6 (5-11)
2003: 7-1 (12-4)
LP Field hasn’t offered much of a home-field advantage. Or maybe a more accurate assessment is that it offers a huge home-field advantage but the Titans aren’t taking advantage of it. Regardless, the Titans have won six-plus regular-season games in two of their last 10 seasons.
Not good enough. Encouragingly, the Titans appear to have a favorable 2013-14 home schedule:
2013-14 Tennessee Titans Home Schedule
Week 3: San Diego Chargers
Week 4: New York Jets
Week 5: Kansas City Chiefs
Week 7: San Francisco 49ers
Week 10: Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 11: Indianapolis Colts
Week 15: Arizona Cardinals
Week 17: Houston Texans
All of those matchups are winnable. Last season, the Titans used a less-talented roster to win home games against the Jets and Jaguars. The Titans will get early games against a Chiefs and Chargers team who have new coaching staffs. Colts and Cardinals are beatable. 49ers and Texans are the biggest challenges.
There is no reason for anything fewer than five home wins. 6-2 is very doable. Taking care of business starts with winning six-plus games at LP Field.
What do our readers believe? Can the Titans turn LP Field into one of the NFL’s most feared home-field advantages? Or will the Titans continue to play mediocre football with the occasional dud (e.g. Chicago Bears) in front of their fans?
Answer in the poll below and discuss on Disqus, Facebook or Twitter.