This Date in NFL HistoryEight years ago tonight, I was there. Given two tickets in the club seats by a local restauranteur, I saw that first Titans game at Adelphia Coliseum with my good friend, Vince. I'd seen this team before. Once in 1997, Paige and I drove to Memphis to see the then Tennessee Oilers beat the Buffalo Bills with ease and then in 1998, I saw them play four times at Vanderbilt.
August 26, 1999 — Adelphia Coliseum opened in
Nashville, Tennessee before a crowd of 65,729 with the Tennessee Titans
defeating the Atlanta Falcons 17-3 in a preseason game.
This '99 season, however, would be my greatest as an NFL fan. Between bought tickets and gifted tickets, I was at every home game that year. For the last few games, I was lucky enough to be an assistant to the NFL Films cameramen. Not much more than a gopher, I was ecstatic at the opportunity to work the sidelines, running up and down the length of the field, not seeing much of the action --I dare you to say down in front when "in front" is Tony Boselli -- but still feeling like a contest winner knowing how enviable my job was.
For that famous Music City Miracle win over Buffalo, I was behind the Titans' bench when all seemed lost and then I was behind the Bills' bench when "Homerun Throwback" was executed so beautifully. Mind you, I didn't see the play; I was busy looking at an LED display on the camera ensuring its user didn't run out of film. Suddenly, the noise from the crowd overcame my concentration. I tried to get a glimpse at what was going on but darn if my 6'2" frame didn't do a thing to help me from behind a wall of NFL players. I figured it out soon enough as my boss for the last three hours turned to me, shouted "Stay with me," and bolted across the field to get film of the Tennessee ("No flags on the field!") Titans celebrating their almost certain historic first playoff win in Nashville's Adelphia Coliseum.
The '99 NFL Season will always be the best one ever for me. I've caught a game here and there since and I've politely declined other opportunities to help the NFL Films guys. I've had my moment of glory on the sidelines; now I'm happy to watch it on TV with the perfect views and replays and the beer in my fridge which is always bought at a very reasonable price. A lot has happened to our hometown team since that inaugural season. We've had some good years, some woeful years, and some that started out woeful and ended with a lot to be proud of. It's now LP Field, not Adelphia Coliseum. It's Young, not McNair. But it's still Coach Fisher and Craig Hentrich and his famed knuckleball punts.
Here's to August 26, 1999 and to another miraculous season before us. Go Titans!
More highlights from titansonline.com:
September 12 - Al Del Greco kicks a 33-yard field goal to lift the Titans to a 36-35 win over Cincinnati in the first regular season game and victory at Adelphia Coliseum. The win, in front of 65,272 fans, is the team's first as the Titans, and quarterback Steve McNair passes for a career-high 341 yards in the victory.
September 26 - The team wins its first road contest as the Titans, a 20-19 victory at Jacksonville sealed by a Samari Rolle interception in the end zone with under a minute remaining.
October 31 - Steve McNair returns after missing five games because of a back injury to lead the Titans to defeat the previously-unbeaten St. Louis Rams, 24-21 at Adelphia Coliseum. McNair is named Miller Lite NFL Player of the Week for his performance in the victory.
December 19 - Tennessee clinches the franchise's first playoff berth since 1993 with a 30-17 win over Atlanta at Adelphia Coliseum.
December 26 - Tennessee defeats Jacksonville for the fourth consecutive time, a 41-14 victory in which Steve McNair throws five touchdown passes. McNair earns his first AFC Offensive Player of the Week and his second Miller Lite NFL Player of the Week honor this season for his efforts. The win completes the first unbeaten home regular season in club history.
January 8 – In a play known as the "Music City Miracle," Kevin Dyson returns a Frank Wycheck lateral on a kickoff return 75 yards for a touchdown, lifting the Titans to a 22-16 victory in the AFC Wild Card playoff game over the Buffalo Bills. The improbable play, which occurred with just 16 seconds remaining in the game, gives the franchise its first playoff win in Tennessee in addition to its first since 1993.
January 16 – Eddie George rushes for 162 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown run, as the Titans defeat the Indianapolis Colts, 19-16, in an AFC Divisional Playoff game at the RCA Dome.
January 23 – The Titans beat Jacksonville for the third time of the season and fifth consecutive time, using 23 second-half points en route to a 33-14 win at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville. Steve McNair runs for two touchdowns and Derrick Mason returns a kickoff 80 yards in the win. The win sends Tennessee to its first Super Bowl in franchise history and its first AFC/AFL Championship since 1961.
January 30 – The Titans fall short in their quest to win Super Bowl XXXIV, as Kevin Dyson is stopped one yard short of the end zone on the final play of the game in a 23-16 St. Louis Rams victory.