If P.K. Subban is traded, who is the face of Nashville sports: Taylor Lewan or Marcus Mariota

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 8: Marcus Mariota
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 8: Marcus Mariota /

If P.K. Subban is gone, who would be the face of Nashville sports: Marcus Mariota or Taylor Lewan?

For many people outside the state of Tennessee, the biggest names on the Tennessee Titans roster are Derrick Henry and Marcus Mariota because of their college accolades. However, many people would be surprised to know that the most recognizable player internationally it probably not a Titans player at all.

If you don’t watch the NHL or if you somehow don’t know who Nashville Predators star P.K. Subban is, allow me to introduce you.

For the last three seasons, Subban has been the most recognizable face on the ice for the Nashville Predators. On a team built around defensive talent, he was the premier defensemen in the top-4.

Not just a bruiser, Subban’s ability to facilitate and score on offense has made him exciting to watch in his three seasons with the Preds. His chemistry with his teammates including Ryan Johansen is part of what makes the team so likeable.

You really couldn’t dream of more marketable player if you tried. The Canadian defenseman started his career with the Montreal Canadians, but was traded to Nashville in a heartbreaking move. Instead of rejecting the trade or shutting down, he completely embraced the lifestyle in the South, even putting on a cowboy hat during warmups.

Even though he was marketable before he came to Tennessee, it helps a lot that he came in right when the team started becoming perennially great. In just three years he saw the Preds go to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016-2017, win the President’s Trophy in 2017-2018, and win the Central Division in 2018-2019.

Despite all of this, there are rumors that he could be on the trade block this weekend which is why we need to bring this up here.

If he is traded, then the ever-growing city of Nashville will need a new player to put on billboards? You could easily argue that trade would mean the biggest sports star in town is gone, which means someone needs to step up.

So, who could fill that vacuum? Ultimately, it comes down to two names for me.

The first is Marcus Mariota, obviously the QB of a Tennessee Titans team that has won 27 games over the last three years not including a playoff victory. With so much success early, why wouldn’t he be the face of the team and the city?

Unfortunately for him (but maybe fortunately for fans and the team) he isn’t chaotic or outspoken, and he often gets forgotten when people are talking about talented young quarterbacks despite his success. There is a difference in charisma and leadership, and the latter doesn’t sell

What is Mariota’s brand? Alright sure, super humble guy, charitable with his time, treats people well, and has never let money or fame change him in a negative way. That makes you a great human, but not necessarily someone that pops off the screen in a commercial.

You know who has taken this fan base by storm and quickly turned the city of Nashville into his own personal fan club? Taylor Lewan.

The boy himself has really become one of the more noticeable offensive linemen in the NFL, even doing spots for GMFB and as a frequent guest on podcasts. Speaking of podcasts, you may have heard that he has one of the most interesting and informative podcasts (Bussin’ with the Boys) around, especially if you are a Tennessee Titans fan.

It is rare for an offensive lineman to become the face of a franchise and a big star, but not impossible. Jordan Gross was always very well like nationally for the Carolina Panthers, Joe Thomas is a legend and an while and entire generation just knows his name from video games, John Madden entered the NFL as an offensive lineman.

Taylor Lewan is a different breed, loved by defenders and skill players alike. When he isn’t going to his annual Pro Bowl, he is chugging beers and throwing catfish on the ice at Preds games or dressing up like Boss Hogg when signing his extension.

When the Tennessee Titans were making their video package for the 2019 NFL Draft, it was Lewan, not Marcus Mariota that they had walk NFL cameras around the city of Nashville. If the team already recognizes him as a face of the franchise and a leader, why shouldn’t the rest of the nation?

Sure, there are other contenders like Kevin Byard, Delanie Walker, Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, Pekka Rinne, or even Brandt Snedeker.

At the end of the day though, no one is as charismatic as Taylor Lewan or as successful over the last few years. He is under contract for a long time and seems to be pretty settled in Nashville, so why not get behind him and push him to be the guy that the national media associates with the city.