Thursday, November 20, 2008

How 'bout them Titans?

Last year at this time, the New England Patriots were sporting a perfect 10-0 record, and all the pro football experts were ready to enshrine them on Mount Olympus. Of course, we know how that story ended. This year, another team has made it through their first ten games without a loss, and they play their home games just down the road from here. But nobody is rushing to proclaim the 2008 Tennessee Titans as immortals. The standard response of the football world to the Titans' success is "How are they doing it?" The media and fans like teams that score lots of points, and unlike the Patriots of a year ago, the Titans put up no gaudy offensive numbers; they have no true superstars. The Titans' game plan is to crush their opponents with their top-rated defense, and wear them down on offense with a punishing ground game supplemented by occasional short passes from journeyman quarterback Kerry Collins. Vince Young, who was supposed to be the Titans' marquee player, carries a clipboard and watches Collins guide the team to victory each week. An indication of the facelessness of the Titans' roster is that most of the commercial endorsements go not to any player, but to coach Jeff Fisher. Off the top of my head, I can't recall a situation like that at the pro level. Yet the Titans go on winning, and everyone keeps scratching their heads.

This was a popular idea last year. Consider this an open thread to talk football. College or pro, cheer or gripe, it's all good.