By AUSTIN HUFF (@AustinHuff – October 4, 2018)
(The following is the first ever guest post on the Big 6 Blog. When Austin, who used to work with us here at The Zone and then became the producer of The Jim Rome Show, reached out to me, I was all for the idea. I hadn’t considered guest posts before, but sometimes you guys will see and react to things better, quicker, and in a different manner than I might. Austin is a talented and really good dude, so it’s awesome that he serves as the guinea pig for the guest posting concept. If you have something you want me to take a look at, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a really fun piece from a unique perspective. He’s from Mizzou, so we’ll forgive the BBQ slander. Martin’s FTW. Hope you enjoy it!)
If you are a Titans fan or live in and around the 615, you’ve seen it by now.
Heck, I live in the shadows of the Gateway Arch, and even I saw it shortly after it went live. My friend and former coworker, Kyle Brandt, dropped a nuke right on the heart of Lower Broad this morning. Please watch for yourself, and please, watch the ENTIRE thing.
— GMFB (@gmfb) October 4, 2018
That is, as the kids say, savage.
It’s a steel-toed cowboy boot swift kick where the sun don’t shine for us Nashvillians. And yes, I say “us” because even though I live 309 miles away, I still proudly call myself a Nashvillian.
A quick background on the guy in that clip, Kyle. He’s a former Princeton football player. He was on MTV’s The Real World. He was a soap star on Days of Our Lives. (That’s not a joke.) And he was the executive producer of arguably one of the founding fathers of the sports talk radio medium. Like I mentioned above, I know Kyle personally. I worked with him on The Jim Rome Show, and if you watched the whole clip, then you should understand he’s not the one saying these things about our beloved city of Nashville. He’s just letting you know what everyone else in the country is saying.
If anything, he – and the entire cast of Good Morning Football– have been huge advocates for the Tennessee Titans. They’ve hyped our flyin’ Hawaiian, Jon Robinson, and that All-Pro “fan” the Titans have playing safety. I’m still not over it, Deion. Good Morning Footballloved the Vrabel hire, and praised the city for landing the NFL Draft. So in no way did his words come from a place of malice.
I know yesterday was Mean Girls Day, but don’t go throwing this dude into your Burn Book just yet.
The thing I took away from this clip: he’s 100% right. Ok, maybe not 100%, but he’s like 82.6% right. Especially when it comes to his overarching point. If the Titans want respect, they’re not going to get it by asking for it.
Especially after a 3-1 start.
Let me repeat that: THREE and ONE. That’s a good month. To have a good season, you need FOUR of those.
We’ve seen plenty of Titans teams start 3-1 before. For example, in 2013, the Mike Munchak (remember him?) led Titans started 3-1. Great, right? They finished 7-9. What about 2011? They started 3-1. Finished a slightly better 9-7 and failed to make the playoffs. Or how about the final year of Nashville’s most notorious mustache? The 2010 Titans, led by Old Navy tech vest enthusiast Jeff Fisher, started 3-1. They finished 6-10.
So cut the “national media” some slack if they’re a little slow to hop on the Titans bandwagon, which – as Kyle alluded to – they probably assume is an actual bandwagon being pulled by horses on the dusty roads out of the ol’ Music City. Yee freakin’ haw, y’all!
But I’m sure a lot of Titans fans recognize that fact as well. If the Titans want national respect like Taylor Lewan asked for (while wearing the threads of P.K. Subban’s stylist, I presume), they simply have to win. An NFL season is really, really long. Like really long. Almost as long as that Week 1 game against the Dolphins. Case in point, last year the Chiefs started 5-0. How’d they finish? Well, Marcus Mariota caught his own touchdown pass… so… ummm… that should tell you enough about how the Chiefs season fared at the end. Hashtag LOL.
With all that said, I recognize that the problem most Nashvillians (and recent transplants) have with that clip from GMFB is the things Kyle said ABOUT Nashville. So allow me to break down the things he mentioned and see what’s WRONG and what’s NOT WRONG, really.
Disclaimer: I love Nashville with all my heart. It’s home. It’s been home since I moved there in 1990. But I’ve also lived outside of the bubble – or plateau – and have an understanding of how other’s see our beloved city from a national perspective.
Let’s break this thing down.
There are about 26 to 27 teams in the NFL…
WRONG. There are 32. But to play into his point, you could argue there are even less. If you think we’re the only team in the league that gets no respect, get in the DMV-length line. How do you think the Dolphins feel? You know the Dolphins right? No? Oh, that’s probably because no one talks about them either. They play in South Beach. They’re also 3-1. Ahead of the Patriots, I might add. If you still don’t know them, just flip on your TV, they’re probably still playing the Titans in Week 1. That game lasted so long, I’m pretty sure the Titans started Billy Volek at quarterback.
…You’re an offensive lineman…
NOT WRONG. Taylor Lewan plays left tackle.
…on a team [the national media] don’t care about…
NOT WRONG. That’s actually how we got here.
…in a city they’ve never been to.
WRONG. They’ve been to it. Trust me, I’ve been to Lower Broad on a random Saturday night.
Those aren’t locals lining up to get their picture taken in front of the I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE sign.
Those aren’t locals shouting “WOOO!” and “YEAAHHHH!” and “O.M.G, BECKY, HAND ME THE FIREBALL!” on those pedal taverns on the downtown streets. Locals who have to deal with this city’s traffic problem would never purposefully litter the streets with those four-wheel beer bikes.
Plus, everyone in the national media has been to Nashville at least once. And my apologies if it was during the extremely lean Zach Mettenberger years. In fact, we’re all sorry for those years. So please don’t judge the city on that.
…whose identity they view as churning out redneck music…
WRONG. We are also home to the iconic Jack White, the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, my girl Tay Tay Swift, and Royal High (a band some friends of mine started in high school).
…and being Kansas City’s barbecue understudy…
NOT WRONG. Look, I love Martin’s, Edley’s, Jack’s, and Peg Leg Porker. Hell, I’ll even throw in Bar-B-Cutie (I see you, Antioch). But the barbecue in Kansas City is really, really good, you guys. Now the hot chicken in Nashville on the other hand? I will fistfight anyone who speaks ill of it.
…They think your quarterback says nothing…
NOT WRONG. The next thing Marcus Mariota says will be his first. When asked by Good Morning Footballearlier in the year what his nickname amongst his teammates was, he told them, “Marcus.” But honestly, do Titans fans want a quarterback who talks a lot? I vote no. I like having a guy who keeps his head down and works. Let his stiff arms against the Jaguars do all the talking for him.
…your teammates aren’t winning them any fantasy titles or fantasy leagues…
NOT WRONG. Sadly. My advice, don’t start Derrick Henry this week. Sure, they’re playing the Bills, but those split snaps with Dion Lewis are killing his production. And Corey Davis just NOW scored his first touchdown?! Of course. The same week everyone put him on their bench.
…They think you got hammered by the Patriots…
NOT WRONG. *sigh* Only question is… which time?
(Image courtesy: NFL.com)
…and tried to fix things by signing a bunch of Patriots castoffs, including your head coach…
NOT WRONG. I mean, Nashville is kinda looking like Foxboro South. We’re a few hoodie sleeves being scissored off by and a few mumbled answers at press conferences by Mike Vrabel away from being the Tennessee Patriots. (Side note: pretty sure The Tennessee Patriots was another one of my friend’s bands in high school.) Then again, what do you expect? They were all signed by General Manger Jon Robinson who used to work as a scout for… *checks notes* …the PATRIOTS! Don’t be shocked at the next home game to see T-Rac on the sideline with a tri-point hat and a musket.
…They think it was way more interesting that the Chiefs LOST that playoff game than you won it…
NOT WRONG. Sadly people were way more into the fact that the Chiefs lost than the Titans won. Which is Mularkey. Not the adjective, the former head coach. Not shocked that a team coached by the great Andy Reid was more interesting than a team coached by a guy named Mularkey. Unfortunately naming your offense Exotic Smashmouth doesn’t instantly make it exotic. If that were the case, I’d tell everyone to now call me Sexy Austin.
…They believe half the people in your stadium are still wearing Eddie George and Chris Johnson jerseys…
WRONG. Half of the stadium is still wearing their Eddie George, Steve McNair or Frank Wycheck jerseys. But if you look close, you’ll be able to find a Tyrone Calico, or a Joe Nedney, and be honest, one of you still rock your Carl Pickens jersey to games.
…Half the people in America still think Jeff Fisher is your head coach…
Wait… Is Jeff Fisher not still our head coach?
…They ask how could you want respect nationally when you’re the third most popular team in your own state behind a losing college team and a hockey team…
NOT WRONG… for now. Yes, this is Power T state. I mean heck, this is the Volunteer State. Pretty sure it says so on the license plates. You know how Kentucky has the “blue mist” at all their away games? Well, at Titans home games, they have the “orange glitter.” Because on any given Sunday at Nissan Stadium, you’ll see two-toned blue and orange. And not always in that order. And the reason I call it orange glitter, is because it’s there for good. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it. But give it some time. Once the Titans get back to dominance – and they will, brick by brick – you’ll see the Titans get back on top the hierarchy.
…They think your team name itself is WWE…
WRONG. No one really has a problem with the team name. The logo on the other hand? Maybe. The mascot being a raccoon? Definitely.
…your uniforms are USFL…
NOT WRONG. I recognize this is a hot-button issue, so I’ll steer clear. But the uniforms could be better. We went from two-toned blue to two-toned blue and two-toned gray. Those blue helmets are nice, though.
…and your FOR THE BOYS mantra is scraped from the down-voted muck of a Barstool comments section…
NOT WRONG. I love the fact that this team has a rallying cry. Love it. But find it hard to get completely behind it considering how close it is to the frat boy anthem that Barstool Sports put into the ethos a few years back.
…I hope you guys win, because I would like to see it…
NOT WRONG. As I stated above, Good Morning Footballloves the Tennessee Titans. Kyle would love to see the Titans be good.
…But most of this country can’t wait for you to lose so they don’t have to watch it.
NOT WRONG. The Titans aren’t quite a national brand. Not yet at least. There was a small window in the early 2000’s where they were. But that was back when the Counting Crows were still on everyone’s iPods. The Titans don’t rate well nationally. But if they get good, they will. It’s that simple.
So there you have it. A slight defense for my guy Kyle, while simultaneously defending the city and the team that I love so much. You want respect? Win.
And win again.
And again and again and again.
Don’t stop winning until they can’t help but talk about you. So then one day, when you ask someone if they’ve ever been to Nashville, they can say, “Yeah, for a Titans game. It was incredible,” rather than, “Yeah, for my best friend Shelly’s bachelorette party.”
I’ll see you guys in London.