Thursday, September 10, 2009

Steelers vs Titans


It's about damned time. It feels like the season is starting late, doesn't it? Everything is all dorked up because of the late Labor Day, isn't it?
The Steelers and Titans play tonight, and it is the start of another NFL season:
While the NFL's 2009 story starts here tonight, for one of the teams involved in the league's single-spotlight kickoff game, it's more of a harsh reminder of what it didn't finish last season.

You may recall the Tennessee Titans are the last team to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, stomping the eventual Super Bowl champs -- and their Terrible Towels -- 31-14 in a Week 16 showdown that wrapped up the AFC's top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for coach Jeff Fisher's club.

But there's a flip side to that fun fact, and it still stings to admit it in Tennessee. The Titans haven't won a game since that beatdown of the Steelers on Dec. 21, and the juxtaposition of how these two elite teams fared after that highly emotional game couldn't be starker.

"We've had a bad taste in our mouth ever since,'' Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "Even though we went 13-3 last season, nobody feels like we accomplished anything. For us personally, our fans, our coaches, the way the season ended last year was a tremendous disappointment and a tremendous letdown.''

Tennessee must have messed with its good karma that day, when it scored more points against the Steelers and their No. 1 ranked defense than any other team did all season, but then celebrated on the sidelines with running back LenDale White and linebacker Keith Bulluck stomping on Pittsburgh's beloved Terrible Towels. I say that because the Titans lost the next week in their meaningless season finale at Indianapolis, took their first-round playoff bye, and then swiftly exited the Super Bowl tournament with a shocking 13-10 turnover-marred loss at home to Baltimore in the divisional round.

I think there is too much emphasis on the NFC East. The real matchups have been happening in the AFC, and the Steelers and Titans are proof of that. These are quality franchises, and I expect a quality game tonight (provided we can even pick it up out here between the Dominican Republic and Key West on the open water). I think that there is a very good chance you will see an upset, and I'm picking the Titans by three.

If I have to follow it on the Internet, so be it, but I am not going to miss the game tonight. All is right with the world when there's football on.

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