NFL.com media analyst Elliot Harrison selected the all-time greatest players for each organization. His choice for the Tennessee Titans, Houston Oilers franchise: Bruce Matthews. Below was his explanation:
Went back and forth on Earl Campbell and Matthews. The argument for Campbell: He was the best player at his position for three NFL seasons. No other Oiler/Titan can make that claim. Yet, Matthews is the choice. He was always among the top guys at his position, and gave the franchise two decades of service. Oh, and the fact he made 14 Pro Bowls doesn’t hurt, either. Fourteen?!
Keep in mind that this includes Titans and Oilers. Harrison’s outlook considers the entire franchise. A Titans-only approach may have bumped Steve McNair or Eddie George ahead of Matthews. That’s not what this was though. Considering both franchises’ superstar players means that Harrison considered Matthews’ entire career, not just his last few seasons that he finished in Nashville.
It’s hard to argue against Matthews. What I found interesting was how he mentioned that he was flopping back and forth between Matthews and Earl Campbell. It’s safe to assume that Campbell was his No. 2 selection.
Was it that simple to eliminate George? Let’s compare some of their stat lines. I’ll even throw Chris Johnson in there, just for the sake of comparison.
George had more years, carries and approximately 1,500 more rushing yards. Despite that, Campbell still had the advantage in touchdowns. Johnson had the highest average but his overall production tailed off too much toward the end of his Titans career to figure into this equation.
Campbell was the first player taken in the 1978 NFL Draft. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame via the class of 1991. In the end, the five-time Pro Bowler may not have lasted as long, but he was the better player during his time.
What do others think? Bleacher Report featured columnist Daniel Barnes published his list of the top 25 Titans (no Oilers included). His top five (from 5 to 1): Jevon Kearse, Eddie George, Keith Bulluck, Bruce Matthews, Steve McNair.
How do our readers feel? Who’s the best Titans/Oilers player in franchise history? Answer in the poll below and discuss via social media or the comments section.
NFL (Elliot Harrison)