Today, I attended the 69th game played by the Tennessee Titans at the stadium now called LP Field. I estimate that I’ve attended at least 60 of those games. When I first started attending games at the stadium, the home team nearly always won — (ironically, today is the sixth anniversary of the first loss in the stadium after 12 straight victories, a one-point loss to the team we lost to today by the same margin). Recently, the odds haven’t been so good. In other words, the home team has lost lots of games in recent years. I hated each of those games. I don’t just go to enjoy the football. I go to cheer the home team on to victory. For me, there are no such thing as “moral victories” when it comes to millionaires playing football — I got over that a long time ago when I retired from being a football fan of a nearby university. So, I am not one to describe a loss as a “good loss.” Give me an ugly W any day.
For the first time ever, however, I am making an an exception to that rule. Today was the best football game I’ve ever seen at the stadium now called LP Field — that ended in a loss for the home team.
Those who read this blog know how much I am a fan of former Titans quarterback Steve McNair. Today, he returned to Nashville as the quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens. Watching him play today, especially seeing him connect with Derrick Mason for a fourth-quarter touchdown, was a bizarre flashback for me. The game the Ravens won today — ugly, close, with some lucky and pitiful officiating thrown in — is just the kind of victory that McNair used to win with the Titans. As I said at the beginning of this season, I thought I’d never be a Ravens fan — and I wasn’t today. But I’ll always be a fan of Steve McNair. I hope his team makes it to the Super Bowl and wins. Nothing could make me happier.
That said, today’s game convinced me of something else: I’m glad McNair was traded. I’m glad he’s getting a chance to play the end of his career with a team that plays like the Titans teams he led to several playoffs.
On a positive note, the team now wearing Titans uniforms remind me of the three straight 8-8 years the team was last called the Oilers. The quarterback who is now leading the Titans reminds me of the quarterback of that team. I’m optimistic about the future of this team and its quarterback (it’s the “fan” in me). One day soon, the breaks and calls will start falling the right way.