The Tennessee Titans were the NFL’s best team in 2008 and predestined for the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the Ravens came into LP Field and ended all hopes.
September 7th, 2008, was the beginning of a magical time. It was Week One of the NFL regular season for the Tennessee Titans. It was Chris Johnson‘s two-toned blue debut.
Little did ten-year-old me know he would become my favorite player of all-time in a Titans uniform. Vince Young going down with an injury early in the game, gave Titans fans and I the impression that the season was already done before it even began.
Great. Another mediocre Titans season is ahead, everyone! Nothing new here! That’s probably what went through my mind at the time.
But in came Kerry Collins, who led the Titans to a solid 17-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He didn’t do much, though. He threw for a mere 65 yards.
It was the tandem of Chris Johnson and LenDale White that solidified that win. A tandem that ran for a combined 133 yards in that game. A tandem that would later be known as the historic “Smash ‘N Dash.”
2008 ended up being a great season for the Tennessee Titans. After that win over the Jaguars, they went on to win nine more in a row, which included a hard-fought win over Peyton Manning and the Colts in the franchise’s first “Code Blue” game on Monday Night Football.
They went on to defeat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a close battle. Also took down the Bears and their stifling defense on the road in an icy-cold game riddled with snowflakes. The run had its challenges, but boy was it fun.
The fun continued with a blowout 47-10 win over the winless Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Smash ‘N Dash had a field day in that one, seeing Chris Johnson rush for 125 and LenDale White rush for 106. Both had two touchdowns apiece.
Finally, to put an exclamation mark on a fantastic season, the Titans clinched the no.1 seed at home versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16 in a fantastic game. Smash ‘N Dash showed up with 117 combined yards, and the defense helped stifle the Steelers and propel Tennessee to a 31-14 win and the number one seed.
Yes, you read that right. The Titans were the number one seed and the team to beat in the AFC. They were the best team in the entire NFL, and no one knew how to stop its prolific run game charged by the rookie Chris Johnson and his protege LenDale White.
But it all came to a screeching halt when the one-seeded Titans hosted the sixth-seeded Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round. The Ravens came in, out-rushed the Titans, held C.J. to just 72 yards, and ended the Titans’ hopes of its first Super Bowl berth since 1999-2000 season.
Now, eleven years later, the Titans are having a magical season. So are the Ravens. The Titans have a prolific run game. So do the Ravens.
But this time, the roles are reversed. The Ravens are the one seed, and the Titans are six. And Baltimore will host the game.
The Titans have a chance to bring closure to the heartbreak that’s been living inside of me since I was ten years old. They have a chance to return the favor by marching up to Baltimore and ending the Ravens’ hopes of their first Super Bowl appearance since 2013.
The Titans and Ravens will face off this Saturday, and you know what they say: “history repeats itself.” Will it this time?