The Tennessee Titans come into 2013 with high hopes of going to the playoffs. Those hopes ride on the arm of QB Jake Locker, who struggled with injuries and performance last year. If he has a solid year, the Titans could be the NFL's surprise team.
The history of the Tennessee Titans brings you back to its original setting of Houston, Texas, where they began as a franchise known as the Houston Oilers. The team was a charter member of the American Football League and its first champion, winning the AFL championship in 1960. They also became the first team to go back-to-back, winning the title again in 1961. Another first for the Oilers was when the team moved to their then-new home stadium of the Astrodome. Their move made them the first professional team to play in a domed stadium on synthetic turf.
In 1970, the AFL merged with the powerful National Football League and what followed was not very kind to the Oilers. They struggled to find any success as part of the AFC, but the end of the decade saw stars Elvin Bethea, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson and Earl Campbell take the team to AFC Championship games in 1978 and 1979. The franchise's time in Houston is marked with seasons where the team finished with good records only to ultimately fall short in the playoffs. By 1995, owner Bud Adams wanted to get a new stadium in Houston but was denied the opportunity. He made the decision to relocate the team to Nashville, a city that would build him the state-of-the-art stadium he was looking for. Officially heading to Nashville in 1997, the now Tennessee Oilers played two seasons at Vanderbilt Stadium, finishing both seasons 8-8.
In 1999 a new era began in Tennessee. The franchise officially changed its name to the Titans and moved into their new stadium, Adelphia Coliseum (now known as LP Field). Steve McNair and Eddie George led the Titans to an impressive 13-3 record. They advanced through the playoffs and to the conference championship, where they beat their division rival Jacksonville Jaguars 33-14 to advance to their first Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXIV, the Titans faced the St. Louis Rams in one of the best championship games ever played. McNair completed a pass to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, who was tackled at the one-yard line as time expired, giving the Rams the victory 23-16.
In the years since the team has struggled to find that same success, but new players including Jake Locker and Chris Johnson hope to bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Nashville soon!