The Tennessee Titans may have quite a decent record of success in the NFL and AFL (if tracing roots all the way back to the Houston Oilers), but to most fans, the team’s entire history may be encapsulated with a single image: Kevin Dyson stretching for the one yard he’d never get in Super Bowl XXXIV against the St. Louis Rams – and why not? That’s what happens when your team is Jeff Fishered…
You know what? Ignore the parenthetical in the above paragraph. NFLbets considers the Titans’ history to begin in Houston in the days of the great rogue league, the AFL. After all, the Titans organization does. The Oilers were one of the American Football League’s eight charter teams in the inaugural season of 1960; this team won the first two AFL titles behind incredible double threat QB/placekicker George Blanda, who was dominant enough to have either thrown for or kicked *every single point* of the 34 the Oilers scored combined in those games. These Oilers would go on to nearly complete the threepeat in ’62, but lost in double overtime to the Dallas Texans.
But thereafter, for as long as the team stayed in Houston, the proto-Titans never got seriously close to either an AFL Championship title game or Super Bowl appearance. Back-to-back AFC Championship games following the 1978 and ’79 featured the Oilers of coach Bum Phillips and halfback Earl Campbell getting beat down by *those* Pittsburgh Steelers, by scores of 34-5 and 27-13, respectively.
In 1984, Warren Moon finished tearing up the Canadian Football League to sign with the Oilers. Four seasons later, he’d lead the team to seven consecutive playoff runs, all of which ended in the divisional round or sooner. And along with Moon’s departure came a temporary bottoming out; this was followed in turn by the hiring of Jeff Fisher as head coach. Fisher quickly had the Titans in his soon-to-become familiar area of 7-9 to 8-8 before the big move.
Said big move came in 1998, after franchise owner Bud Adams had reportedly had “secret meetings” with Nashville politicos in the early 00s. Not even Fisher could make Steve McNair and Eddie George mediocre and in ’99, the team earned a playoff bid. After eliminating the Buffalo Bills with the “Music City Miracle”, they’d take the fabled Greatest Show On Turf down to that iconic final play. Five more times would the Titans make the playoffs despite Fisher’s best efforts (including his ultimately successful bid to ruin Vince Young) between 2000 and ’08. The King of Average survived in Tennessee through 2010 before moving on to the St. Louis Rams, where he could begin with ruining football for fans in two more cities.
Unfortunately for the Titans, Fisher’s stench of mediocrity wafted over the team for eight seasons, during which the best any Tennessee side could muster was a 9-7 mark. No. 2 overall draft pick QB Marcus Mariota has been a sparkplug for optimism among Titans fans, but in the man’s first three seasons, the team has gone just 21-27 and has been outscored by 143 points total.
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