The League

Emil Steiner
Editor and Blogger

Emil Steiner

The author of NFL Crime Watch and Founding Editor of The League.

Music City Miracle II

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While it's a popular misconception that the word for crisis is the same as the word for opportunity in Chinese, down in Tennessee they are apparently synonymous. That is if you base your linguistics on the 2008 Titans, who have seemingly converted the lemons of losing their star quarterback into the lemonade of a 12-1 record. But in retrospect, that crisis might have been their only opportunity to achieve the NFL's best record through 14 weeks. Allow me to explain:

When Vince Young twisted his knee back in September, things seemed bleak. Perhaps not Patriots-Brady bleak, but the Titans had gone 10-6 last season and looked primed to take the next step. Few people thought that 35-year-old Kerry Collins had it in him to be anything more than a stop-gap until Young's return. Yet Young did not return, that is to say he chose not to return. He fled -- not only the team, but the apparent state of sanity we are accustomed to see high profile individuals emote.

It sounded like another sour chord had been struck for the fans of Tennessee. Despite their talent, potential and Jeff Fisher, the Titans would be led down the field by washed-out senior who never lived up to his potential. And then a miracle occurred.

With little warning and less fanfare, the Titans actually continued winning. By October 5 they were 5-0, by November 9 they were 9-0 and as of last Sunday they were AFC South Champions -- their first divisional crown since realignment. Today it's far from a joke to ask if the Titans are better off without Vince Young; it's a rhetorical question, like is the Pope German? But unlike Ratzinger's birth certificate, it's not so obvious why Tennessee has achieved their success.

Collins, for all his solid play, is hardly an MVP. The answer, is more mysterious. It springs in part from a pair of young running backs, LenDale White and Chris Johnson, having career seasons. It comes from veteran defensive players like Jevon Kearse who have found a way to recapture their youth, or in the case of Albert Haynesworth, their poise. Perhaps most saliently it comes from Head Coach Jeff Fisher and his ability to inspire the team to rally together in the face of a potential season-ending crisis. He has made them believe that they can seize this opportunity and win the Super Bowl. But that opportunity would not have arisen had Young not fallen.

By Emil Steiner  |  December 9, 2008; 12:37 PM ET  | Category:  Quarterbacks , Tennessee Titans Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Young and the Sidelines | Next: Collins Right For Now

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You have mastered the art of typing much, yet saying little. You will go far, my friend.

Posted by: Ben Stuplisberger | December 10, 2008 12:28 AM

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