Looking back at what was penned on BC Sports three years ago is an experience both fond and revealing. There've been some great columns submitted over the history of the section, but it also reminds me: Christ, have I really been doing this for three years? Well, no. The answer is four.
Back in 2006 on this humble site, the consummate David Mazzotta presaged the Tennessee Titans' playoff chances, who began 0-5 and was at the time 5-7:
There is an outside chance that they win out the year … and turn Jeff Fisher from lame duck to Coach of the Year candidate. That would be the story of the year.
Sadly, it didn't happen. They won all but their final game, ending 8-8, and a supernatural season became mortal. They would have been the first 0-5 team to reach the postseason.
The 2009 flavor of the Titans began an extra foot deeper in the port-a-john, 0-6. That's when Jeff Fisher wore the Peyton Manning jersey at a fundraiser, and everybody had assumed it was a D-Fens-esque emotional snap. He's lost it. He's finished. He's milking the rest of the season which, as a man so tenured in the NFL the last job he interviewed for was with the Houston Oilers, he's dutifully earned. But instead, the Titans are 5-6 and a game behind the last Wild Card spot. Admittedly, so are about 47 other teams.
Okay, so maybe it wasn't the Manning jersey that changed the Titans' fortune. Otherwise you'd have seen Charlie Weis in a Tim Tebow get-up long ago. Maybe it was the respite. The bye week split the six losses and five wins. Or perhaps it was the man who supplanted Kerry Collins at quarterback, Vince Young. (Speaking of people who were assumed to be finished.) While not instrumental in the late great surge in 2006, he is the current reason, especially considering his part in the only-happens-in-movies 99-yard drive to beat the Cardinals on Sunday.
Here's where our fragile hopes are lifted beyond their means. The Football God Of Reason (Yahweh's distant cousin, Nohweh) tells me that Young's win over the Cardinals is probably the zenith of the Titans' season. Fighting for that sixth Wild Card spot are seven contenders, eight if you count the 4-7 Buffalo Bills. (I do not, and even sillier deities would likely dismiss the claim.) With the AFC playoff hunt more crowded than a Chinatown apartment, a 9-7 record will not be good enough. They'll have to win their final five matchups, which includes some brutal ones against San Diego and, more pressing, next week at this team based in Indianapolis that's reportedly quite talented.
I really hate to point this out, and I almost want to retract it, because this franchise has the resilience of the Colorado Rockies, the Mighty Ducks, or the real life Mighty Ducks, which at this moment in history are just known as the Ducks. Maybe it's better to leave a fun football story unfold by itself like an unfinished Origami project.
The more "realistic dream story" belongs to the New Orleans Saints who stand at 11-0 and could become the second traditionally terrible team in as many seasons to play in their first Roman Numerals. After the way they treated the Patriots in the Superdome on Monday night, hopping on the Saints bandwagon is more of a lucid dream. Getting one's hopes up about the Titans — again — plays the role of the pipe dream. But it's also a hipster's dream: they're more of an underdog, and therefore more tempting to get behind.
And with my track record of predicting the future, I'm almost certain in three more years, I'll look back on this article and see if it's possible to go back in time and slap myself.
Photo Credit: Associated Press