Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens: A rivalry renewed
The rivalry between Tennessee and Baltimore really started to develop during the 2000 season. Following a superb inaugural season as the Titans in which the team went undefeated at home and found themselves in the Super Bowl, Tennessee solidified themselves as one of the best teams once again the very next season.
Following an 8-1 start, the Titans found themselves an unblemished 12-0 inside Adelphia Coliseum (now Nissan Stadium).
That all changed when the Ravens came to town and handed Tennessee its first home loss since moving into the new stadium by a score of 24-23. Following the game Ravens head coach Brian Billick took a shot at the team by grabbing a Sports Illustrated magazine that proclaimed Tennessee as the best team in football by saying:
‘’Here it is guys, the NFL’s best team. Well, maybe they are… but not today’’.
This video was shown on every major network and got under the skin of Titans head coach Jeff Fisher so much that he decided to use it as bulletin board material later in the year.
The Titans were able to rebound from that one-point defeat, losing only one more game the rest of the season, which set themselves up to be heavy favorites come January by being the No. 1 seed in the AFC following a 13-3 season.
Following the Ravens’ Wild Card round victory, these division rivals went on to meet for a third time that year after splitting the previous two matchups during the regular season. Both teams had historically great defenses and were poised for another slug fest — and that is exactly what took place.
Prior to the playoff game, Fisher decided to show the entire Ravens locker room scene from their previous game on the big screen in hopes of hyping up everyone inside the stadium.
Brian Billick ultimately got the last laugh that year, as the Titans trailed the Ravens 17-10 with just over six minutes remaining in the game. The Titans began to drive the ball and seemed to be on their way to potentially tying the game.
And then disaster happened.
Titans quarterback Steve McNair threw the ball behind star running back Eddie George, causing him to tip the ball in the air and into the hands of Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis.
The heart and soul of the Ravens returned the interception all the way to the end zone and all but ended the Titans’ dream season, as the Ravens went up 24-10. This was the Titans’ second ever loss inside their new stadium, both of which came at the hands of the Ravens. To make matters worse, the Titans completely dominated on everything but the scoreboard.
Tennessee had 17 more first downs and out-gained the Ravens by 183 yards on the day, but the Titans missed three field goals and the Ravens capitalized on their mistakes and made the plays when they mattered most.
Baltimore ultimately turned Tennessee’s unfortunate demise into a dream season of their own, as they used the momentum of beating arguably the best team in the NFL to fuel themselves the rest of the way to their first Lombardi trophy in team history.