Tennessee Titans: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NFLPhotoLibrary)
(Photo by Joe Murphy/NFLPhotoLibrary) /
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Bruce Matthews, Tennessee Titans
(Photo by NFL via Getty Images) /

. G/C/T. (1983-01). Bruce Matthews. 1. player. 35

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2007)
  • Tennessee Titans No. 74 jersey retired
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • 14x Pro Bowl (1988-01)
  • 7x First-Team All-Pro (1988-90, 1992, 1998-00)
  • 2x Second-Team All-Pro (1991, 1993)

Bruce Matthews is not just the greatest player in Oilers/Titans history, but the best player in his own illustrious professional football family. His father Clay Matthews Sr. played defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950s. Matthews’ brother Clay Matthews Jr. played linebacker for the Cleveland Browns in the 1980s.

His nephew is Clay Matthews III, the outside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. Matthews’ son Jake Matthews plays left tackle for the Atlanta Falcons. In total, eight members of this clan have played in the NFL, but only Bruce Matthews is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Matthews played his entire career with the Oilers/Titans franchise. He was selected No. 9 overall by the Oilers in the 1983 NFL Draft out of USC. 19 years later, Matthews retired as the greatest players in franchise history in 2001 at the age of 40. But what Matthews such an incredible player?

Well, he is considered to be the most versatile offensive lineman in NFL history. Not only did he play in 296 career games with the Oilers/Titans, but made 293 total starts at several different positions.

He started 99 games at left guard, 67 of them at right guard, 87 during his run at center,  22 more at right tackle and another 17 at left tackle. Just doing that alone would have him as an all-time great anyway.

Let’s not forget how dominant he was during his time with Houston/Tennessee. Matthews made 14-straight Pro Bowls from 1988 up to his last NFL season in 2001. He was an All-Pro nine times and made the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team in his outstanding football career.

Given that he played for the franchise so long, he was teammates with several incredible offensive players including Mike Munchak, Warren Moon, Eddie George and Steve McNair. While he might be best remembered as a guard, Matthews was most importantly one of the most dominant offensive lineman in NFL history.

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Matthews earned rightful Canton enshrinement on his first ballot in 2007. His No. 74 jersey has been retired by the Titans organization. A few years after playing for the Titans, Matthews coached in the NFL, first as an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans from 2009 to 2010. He would then be the Titans offensive line coach from 2011 to 2013 on Munchak’s staff. Overall, it will be next to impossible for Matthews to lose his spot as the best player in Houston/Tennessee franchise history.