What's special about the Tennessee Titans?

One of the most disconcerting aspects of traveling to a country whose language you don’t know is how the most commonplace things become indecipherable. Ask a stranger for directions and she may think to explain tricky vocabulary but she’ll almost never think to describe whether the place she just referred to is a city, train station, library, cafe, or all of the above. The same is true for sports natives. A thoughtful sports fan should be willing and able to explain a rule, but he’ll almost never think of explaining who a particular team is, what sport they play, or the team’s history and characteristics. In this series, we’ll do just that — describe what is unique about each sports team.

Tennessee Titans – the basics

  • Sport – Football
  • League – National Football League (NFL)
  • Conference – American Football Conference (AFC)
  • Division – AFC South
  • History – The Tennessee Titans played for the first 36 years of their existence as the Houston Oilers, first in the American Football League (AFL) and then in the NFL. The team moved to Tennessee in 1997 where it played as the Tennessee Oilers for two years before changing its name to the Titans.
  • Championships – The Titans franchise claims two AFL championships from 1960 and 1961.
  • Rivals – The Titans maintain a rivalry with the team that took their place in Houston, the Houston Texans, and their divisional opponents, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Nostalgia is a strange beast. It’s very likely that we’d regard the old Houston Oilers differently if the team hadn’t moved to Tennessee, but once they did, the Oilers became a focus of a great many fond memories. The Titans have always lived in the shadow cast by the memory of the Oilers and despite being supported well by fans in the area, it will probably take a Super Bowl win for them to finally step into the spotlight as the Titans.

Here is the their winning percentage in each season since their inception:

Who are some notable players or figures from the Tennessee Titans?

Warren Moon was quarterback of the Houston Oilers from 1984 to 1993. As was the case for many black quarterbacks in those days, Moon had to take a circuitous route to NFL success. Faced with the prospect of going to a major football college but having to change positions, Moon decided to continue playing quarterback and go to a lesser known school, West Los Angeles College, where he set records. Undrafted by the NFL, Moon went to play in the Canadian Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos for six years and won five Grey Cups (the CFL version of the Super Bowl.) Finally, the NFL and the Houston Oilers came calling and Moon had his shot. By 1989, he was the highest paid player in the league. He had an extremely successful career although he never reached the pinnacle of success in the NFL that he had in the CFL. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Steve McNair took a similar path to NFL stardom, although he skipped the Canadian track. The University of Florida offered him a full scholarship to play football but wanted him to switch from his preferred position of quarterback to running back. McNair declined and went to Alcorn State University, which plays in college football’s second division. After a remarkable career in college, McNair was drafted by the Houston Oilers with the third overall pick of the 1995 draft (showing that there had been some progress for black quarterbacks since Moon). He led the team for the next 11 seasons and bridged the gap between Houston and Tennessee. He was the team’s starting quarterback during their one Super Bowl appearance in the 1999 season. He was murdered in 2009 by his mistress.

Where do the Tennessee Titans play?

The blind date test

Imagine you’re about to go on a blind date and all you know about the person is that he or she is a Tennessee Titans fan. Here’s what you can guess about that person. Remember that all fans are unique. We bear no responsibility for any misunderstandings we engender. Trust but verify.

He or she is someone who holds back judgement until they get to know something or someone pretty well. That’s a good quality, especially since you ran out without noticing that stain on your shirt.

What will make a Tennessee Titans fan squirm?

Insist that the “Music City Miracle” was an illegal forward pass.

Buy Tennessee Titans Swag!

What do the Tennessee Titans look like?

Team colors are Titans Blue, navy, red, white, and silver. Their current uniforms look like this.

Tennessee Titans Uniforms

Current and recent teams

Coming soon — a post about the 2015 Tennessee Titans including an overview of their most interesting characters as well as what fans expect from the team this year.

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