Tennessee Titans: Bigger home opener than 1999


Downtown Nashville will be rocking Sunday at high noon, when the Tennessee Titans host the Indianapolis Colts. With so much optimism surrounding rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, you can expect a raucous sellout crowd at Nissan Stadium.

And what they’ll witness is the biggest home opener in the history of the franchise. Even bigger than the Titans’ inaugural 1999 season.

Heading into the 99 season opener, the team’s overarching theme was to send a message…to make a statement that the nomad Tennessee Oilers that played in Memphis and Vanderbilt Stadium the two prior years were a thing of the past. They now had a new name, new uniforms, and most importantly…

A permanent new home.

I sat in the nose bleed seats at every Titans home game that season, and nothing matched the intensity and electricity of that first one. Tennessee rallied from a 9 point deficit late in the game to escape with a one point victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Uniforms aside, the Titans looked like a completely different team. They made their statement, and then some, by going 9-0 at home, and reaching the Super Bowl.

This year’s Titans prepare for their home opener with the same level of enthusiasm surrounding them. This team looks completely different from the one that went 2-14 last season. So much so, that record now seems like eons ago.

But while the optimism surrounding the two home openers are similar, the magnitude of the game isn’t.

The 99 home opener was the first game of the year, so the magic of the moment centered solely around Tennessee’s reintroduction to the NFL. This home opener offers it’s own magic, but in addition…

It is now a huge early season divisional showdown.

No one knew what to expect from the Titans this year with a rookie quarterback under center, but no one expected them to come into this game at 1-1…and sitting atop the AFC South…with Jacksonville no less.

No one expected the Colts to enter this game at 0-2, and facing a must win situation.

If the Titans win Sunday, then they head into their bye week at 2-1, and no worse than tied for the lead in the division. Jacksonville faces the juggernaut Patriots this week.

Tennessee would move to 1-0 in the AFC South, and 1-1 in the conference. They would also hold a two game lead on Indianapolis, and the tie breaker at that point.

Most importantly, Tennessee would return from their bye week a relevant topic of discussion…by leading the pack and staying in the hunt for a playoff birth through the month of October.

The Colts’ playoff chances would be in serious jeopardy. The last time a team rebounded from an 0-3 start and made the playoffs was 1998. None have won the Super Bowl.

If Indianapolis wins, however, then they’re right back in the race…and following last year’s script. The Colts started 0-2 in 2014, then went on to win the division.

Tennessee would fall to 1-2, with two long weeks to defend the fact that they are a different team than last year.

With all due respect to the 99 Titans, this is more than just a new-look home opener this year. This game could put Tennessee in a good position to do the unthinkable this season.

It just happened to fall on the first home game of the season.

Next: Are the Tennessee Titans looking at offensive tackles?

More from Titan Sized