Jun. 08, 2020
The three best players in Tennessee Titans history
The Tennessee Titans are a newer franchise by NFL terms. The team has been playing in Nashville for just over two decades and have managed just one Super Bowl appearance since moving from Houston to the Music City.
But, that doesn't mean the Titans' faithful haven't had their fair share of stars. Remember when Randy Moss was a Titans wide receiver for a minute? Or Andre Johnson?
And who can forget the magnificent return of 'The Freak' Jevon Kearse in 2008?
Here - in my opinion- are the three best players the franchise has had.
3. RB Chris Johnson (2008-2013)
Oh CJ2K. Who can forget the fastest man in the NFL between 2008 and 2013?
The running back out of Eastern Carolina was a star from the day he was drafted in the first round by Tennessee until he left after six thrilling seasons.
Amassing nearly 8,000 rushing yards, 2,003 receiving yards, and 58 touchdowns, Johnson was and still is considered by many to be a better all-purpose running back than Eddie George (more on this argument later).
In a time where the Titans were mundane in their play calling on offense, Johnson brought a spark that few players in the National Football League can provide.
He was dynamic running the ball, weaving through tight holes at the line of scrimmage or splitting out as a wide receiver and making even the best corners in the league look foolish.
Although Johnson's output took a serious hit when he left Nashville and moved to the New York Jets, his career is still worthy of a Hall of Fame ballot in my eyes.
His 2009 season alone took the world by storm as he managed 2,006 rushing yards and 2,509 total yards from scrimmage.
Much like Christian McCaffery was in 2019 for the Carolina Panthers, Johnson was the Titans' offense. He did everything for the team.
2. RB Eddie George (1996-2003)
Isn't it crazy that the Titans have seemingly always had a star running back? Eddie George was the pioneer for star running backs in the two-tone blue and continues to be a huge influence on the franchise.
The Heisman winner out of Ohio State was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the spring of 1996 and played a season under the Oiler name before the franchise relocated.
Wow was Eddie a beast.
He was the Derrick Henry of the league before running backs of that size were more common. Number 27 was a between the tackles, hard-nosed runner who enjoyed contact and made a living fighting for that extra yard.
In eight seasons with the Titans, Eddie had 2,733 carries, 10,009 rushing yards, and 74 total touchdowns.
He was paramount in helping Tennessee to the 2000 Super Bowl and he remains an ambassador of the team.
He even had his jersey number retired not even a year ago. To compare Eddie George to Chris Johnson is simply unrealistic. The two played the game in very different times and had completely different styles of play.
Johnson was a guy who needed to be in space to make a difference and Eddie was a between the tackles runner.
1. QB Steve McNair (1995-2005)
The Tennessee Titans will likely never have a quarterback tougher or better at leading a team than Steve 'Air' McNair.
The third overall pick out of Alcorn State was a star from the moment he arrived in the NFL until the day he called it quits in 2007.
Steve, like Eddie, was a part of the Houston Oilers franchise for a couple of years before the team relocated to Nashville and despite some serious injuries, led the Titans to the Super Bowl in Atlanta in the franchise's first year as the Titans.
Steve's legacy was immortalized along with his good friend and teammate, Eddie George, last fall as his number nine jersey was retired.
McNair not only had incredible statistics - 27,141 passing yards, 156 passing touchdowns, and a completion percentage of 59.5 - over his 11 years of service with the organization, but it was his mental and physical strength that make him the best player in franchise history.
Even though I was very young during his prime, I remember watching Steve play through a bruised sternum against the Kansas City Chiefs. I remember watching Steve get away from rushing defensive linemen like it was nothing.
I remember Steve tucking the ball and galavanting down the middle of the field in Jacksonville, helping the Titans win the AFC Championship for the first and only time.
Sharing MVP honors with Peyton Manning in the 2003 season and being voted to three Pro Bowls in his illustrious career are simply side notes.
McNair was a figurehead in the community, a leader on the field, and was loved by everyone here in the state of Tennessee and in his home state of Mississippi.
His tragic death on July 4, 2009, haunts many to this day. Were he still alive, I am certain Steve and Eddie would both be ambassadors for the Titans working side by side like they did for so many years in the backfield.
Steve McNair was everything you would want in a team leader and much, much more. You simply can't look at the Titans organization and not think of number nine.