1999 Tennessee Titans season
The 1999 Tennessee Titans season was the franchise’s 40th season and their 30th in the National Football League (NFL). It was the first year for the club under the moniker “Titans”, while the nickname “Oilers” was retired by the NFL. The Titans became the seventh Wild Card team to qualify for the Super Bowl. However, after defeating the Bills, Colts, and Jaguars in the postseason, they lost the Super Bowl to the St. Louis Rams, 23–16 on a famous last second tackle made by Rams defender Mike Jones at the goal line that prevented Titans receiver Kevin Dyson from scoring a game-tying touchdown. The highlight of the season was the Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills, dubbed the Music City Miracle. In the games closing seconds, Kevin Dyson caught a lateral on a kickoff and ran all the way down the sidelines for a touchdown.
|1999 Tennessee Titans season|
|Head coach||Jeff Fisher|
|General manager||Floyd Reese|
|Home field||Adelphia Coliseum|
|Division place||2nd AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Won Wild Card Playoffs (Bills) 22–16|
Won Divisional Playoffs (Colts) 19–16
Won AFC Championship (Jaguars) 33–14
Lost Super Bowl XXXIV (Rams) 16–23
|Pro Bowlers||G Bruce Matthews|
TE Frank Wycheck
RB Eddie George
DE Jevon Kearse
|1999 Tennessee Titans draft|
|1||16||Jevon Kearse *||Defensive end||Florida|
|2||52||John Thornton||Defensive tackle||West Virginia|
|4||114||Brad Ware||Defensive back||Auburn|
|4||117||Donald Mitchell||Defensive back||SMU|
|5||151||Kevin Daft||Quarterback||UC Davis|
|6||186||Darran Hall||Wide receiver||Colorado State|
|Pro Bowl during careerMade roster Made at least one|
|1999 Tennessee Titans staff|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1999 Tennessee Titans final roster|
|1||August 15, 1999||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 20–22||0-1|
|2||August 20, 1999||at Arizona Cardinals||L 17-27||0-2|
|3||August 27, 1999||Atlanta Falcons||W 17–3||1-2|
|4||September 2, 1999||New Orleans Saints||L 11–12||1–3|
|1||September 12, 1999||Cincinnati Bengals||W 36–35||CBS||Titans win despite Bengals comeback from down 26–7|
|2||September 19, 1999||Cleveland Browns||W 26–9||CBS||Neil O'Donnell started for McNair and threw for 310 yards and a touchdown|
|3||September 26, 1999||at Jacksonville Jaguars||W 20–19||CBS||O'Donnell again started; Titans won even after giving up a last-second safety|
|4||October 3, 1999||at San Francisco 49ers||L 22–24||CBS||Game decided when Titans two-point conversion attempt in final two minutes failed|
|5||October 10, 1999||Baltimore Ravens||W 14–11||CBS||Titans gave up league-record 212 yards in penalties|
|6||October 17, 1999||at New Orleans Saints||W 24–21||CBS||Titans outscored Saints 17–7 in fourth quarter|
|8||October 31, 1999||St. Louis Rams||W 24–21||FOX||Steve McNair returned and threw two touchdowns|
|9||November 7, 1999||at Miami Dolphins||L 0–17||ESPN||McNair intercepted three times|
|10||November 14, 1999||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 24–14||CBS||Jeff Blake sacked seven times|
|11||November 21, 1999||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 16–10||CBS||Steelers penalized eleven times for 74 yards|
|12||November 28, 1999||at Cleveland Browns||W 33–21||CBS||Titans erased 14–7 Browns lead with a run of 26 points|
|13||December 5, 1999||at Baltimore Ravens||L 14–41||CBS||McNair intercepted twice as Tony Banks threw four touchdowns|
|14||December 9, 1999||Oakland Raiders||W 21–14||ESPN||McNair and Eddie George rushed for 204 yards and three scores|
|15||December 19, 1999||Atlanta Falcons||W 30–17||FOX||Frank Wycheck threw a 61-yard touchdown|
|16||December 26, 1999||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 41–14||CBS||Jaguars 0–2 against Titans and 13–0 against rest of league to date in 1999|
|17||January 2, 2000||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 47–36||CBS||Steve McNair, Neil O'Donnell, and Mike Tomczak combined for 523 passing yards, five scores, and two INTs|
|(1) Jacksonville Jaguars||14||2||0||.875||396||217||W1|
|(4) Tennessee Titans||13||3||0||.813||392||324||W4|
Week 1 vs. Cincinnati BengalsEdit
In the team’s inaugural game as the “Titans”, Steve McNair threw two touchdowns and ran in a third for a 26–15 lead with 2:55 left in the first half, but a Jeff Blake touchdown left the halftime score 26–21 Titans. The Bengals stormed to a 35–26 lead in the fourth before McNair connected with Eddie George for a 17-yard touchdown with 4:30 left in the fourth, then Al Del Greco kicked the game-winning 33-yard field goal of a 36–35 Titans final.
Week 2 vs. Cleveland BrownsEdit
Week 3 at Jacksonville JaguarsEdit
Neil O'Donnell was forced to start, and he threw a third-quarter touchdown to Eddie George, but an Aaron Beasley interception became a 35-yard Jaguars score and a 17–7 Jacksonville lead. O'Donnell rebounded with a fourth-quarter score to Michael Roan and a 20–19 Titans win as Tennessee surrendered a safety on the game’s final play.
Week 4 at San Francisco 49ersEdit
Tennessee suffered its first loss of the year as Jeff Garcia ran in a one-yard touchdown, then connected with Terrell Owens in the fourth quarter. The Titans trailed 24–16 when O'Donnell hit Yancey Thigpen in the end zone with 2:48 left in regulation; the two-point try was stopped, however, and the Niners ran out the clock for a 24–22 Titans loss.
Week 5 vs. Baltimore RavensEdit
The Titans committed the highest penalty yardage in league history to that point with fifteen fouls eating up 212 yards; the Ravens, under first-year coach Brian Billick, didn’t fare much better with nine penalties for 81 yards. Titans starter Neil O'Donnell completed 24 of 35 passes for 216 yards and a 27-yard score to Yancey Thigpen while Eddie George was limited to just 55 rushing yards.
Week 8 vs. St. Louis RamsEdit
In a Super Bowl XXXIV precursor, Steve McNair threw two touchdowns and ran in a third in the first quarter, then the Titans sweated out three Kurt Warner touchdown throws for a 24–21 win. The Rams coughed up three fumbles to the Titans.
Week 11 vs. Pittsburgh SteelersEdit
Week 14 vs. Oakland RaidersEdit
Week 15 vs. Atlanta FalconsEdit
Week 16 vs. Jacksonville JaguarsEdit
The Jaguars had beaten every team on their 1999 slate except the Titans, but the Titans finished a season sweep with a 41–14 rout. Steve McNair exploded to five touchdowns and 328 passing yards while Eddie George ran wild with 102 rushing yards. The Titans defense limited Jaguars quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Jay Fiedler to 196 combined yards and three interceptions.
Week 17 at Pittsburgh SteelersEdit
The Titans erupted to six touchdowns, a 42-yard Al Del Greco field goal, and a safety after sacking Mike Tomczak in the Pittsburgh end zone for a 47–36 triumph. Jevon Kearse and Denard Walker scored off Steeler fumbles while Steve McNair and former Steeler Neil O'Donnell combined for 203 passing yards and three touchdowns. Tomczak had two touchdown throws while Jerome Bettis and Richard Huntley each ran in a Pittsburgh touchdown.
AFC Wild CardEdit
Music City MiracleEdit
The Music City Miracle is a famous play in the NFL Wild Card Playoffs involving the Titans and Buffalo Bills that took place on January 8, 2000 (following the 1999 regular season) at Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee.
Going into the game, Bills coach Wade Phillips created a stir by starting quarterback Rob Johnson, rather than Doug Flutie, who had started 15 games, and who had led the team to the playoffs. Late in the fourth quarter, the stage was set for an exciting finish. Tennessee received the ball with 6:15 remaining. Titans receiver Isaac Byrd’s 16-yard punt return and five carries from Eddie George for 17 yards set up a wobbly 36-yard field goal by kicker Al Del Greco. The Titans took a 15–13 lead with 1:48 to go.
On the ensuing drive, with no timeouts remaining, Bills quarterback Johnson led the Bills on a five-play, 37-yard drive to the Titans' 24-yard line. On the last two plays from scrimmage, Johnson played with only one shoe on, as he had lost one during a scramble, and had no time to put it back on, with the clock running out. With only 16 seconds remaining in the game, Steve Christie, the Bills' kicker, made a 41-yard field goal to put Buffalo in the lead, 16–15.
Moments later, Christie kicked off, and Titans fullback Lorenzo Neal received. Neal handed the ball off to Titans tight end Frank Wycheck, who then lateraled the ball across the field to another Titans player, Kevin Dyson, who then ran down the sidelines for a 75-yard touchdown. The play was named Home Run Throwback by the Titans and was developed by Special Teams Coordinator Alan Lowry.
- Official review
Per the instant replay rules, the play was reviewed by referee Phil Luckett since it was uncertain if the ball had been a forward pass, which is illegal on a kickoff return. However, the call on the field was upheld as a touchdown, and the Titans won the game 22–16. After the game, however, many Bills players and fans continued to insist that it was indeed an illegal forward pass.
AFC Divisional PlayoffEdit
Although the Indianapolis Colts, behind second year quarterback Peyton Manning, had posted some gaudy numbers (3rd in points scored compared to Tennessee’s 7th) en route to a sterling 13–3 regular season record, the upstart Titans paid them little respect. Running back Eddie George rushed for a team playoff-record 162 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown, to help lead the Titans to victory. Manning completed only 19 of 43 passes in the loss for the Colts.
AFC Championship GameEdit
The Jacksonville Jaguars had been one of the NFL’s best teams in the 1999 season; they were 6th in scoring and first in fewest points allowed while pacing the AFC with a 14–2 record. However, both of those losses came at the hands of their opponents in the AFC Championship game, the Tennessee Titans. The Titans would prove up to the task of beating their division rival once again as the Titans scored a resounding 33–14 victory; the game was at times a chaotic affair as the Titans forced six turnovers and an end zone sack for a safety, all despite giving up four turnovers themselves; the Jaguars were also bullied into nine penalties for 100 yards. The Titans advanced to the first Super Bowl in club history.
Super Bowl XXXIVEdit
The Titans took over the ball at their own 10-yard line with 1:54 left in the game after committing a holding penalty on the ensuing kickoff. McNair started out the drive with a pair of completions to Mason and Wycheck for gains of 9 and 7 yards to reach the 28-yard line. Then after throwing an incompletion, defensive back Dre' Bly’s 15-yard facemask penalty while tackling McNair on a 12-yard scramble gave the Titans a first down at the St. Louis 45-yard line. On the next play, St. Louis was penalized 5 yards for being offsides, moving the ball to the 40-yard line with 59 seconds left. McNair then ran for 2 yards, followed by a 7-yard completion to wide receiver Kevin Dyson. Three plays later, with the Titans facing 3rd down and 5 to go, McNair was hit by two Rams' defenders, but he escaped and completed a 16-yard pass to Dyson to gain a first down at the Rams 10-yard line. Tennessee then used up their final timeout with just 6 seconds left in the game, giving them a chance for one last play. McNair threw a short pass to Kevin Dyson down the middle, which looked certain to tie up the game, until Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Dyson at the one-yard line as time expired. Dyson tried to stretch his arm and the football across the goal line, but he had already gone down, so it was too late. This final play has gone down in NFL history as simply "The Tackle".
After the game, many sports writers commented on Warner’s rise from an unknown backup to a Super Bowl MVP, but Warner himself wasn't impressed by it. "How can you be in awe of something that you expect yourself to do?" Warner pointed out. "People think this season is the first time I touched a football; they don't realize I've been doing this for years – just not on this level, because I never got the chance. Sure, I had my tough times, but you don't sit there and say, 'Wow, I was stocking groceries five years ago, and look at me now.' You don't think about it, and when you do achieve something, you know luck has nothing to do with it."
- STL – FG: Jeff Wilkins 27 yards 3–0 STL
- STL – FG: Jeff Wilkins 29 yards 6–0 STL
- STL – FG: Jeff Wilkins 28 yards 9–0 STL
- STL – TD: Torry Holt, 9-yard pass from Warner (Jeff Wilkins kick) 16–0 STL
- TEN – TD: Eddie George 1-yard run (2-pt conv: pass failed) 16–6 STL
- TEN – TD: Eddie George 2-yard run (Al Del Greco kick) 16–13 STL
- TEN – FG: Al Del Greco 43 yards 16–16 tie
- STL – TD: Isaac Bruce 73-yard pass from Kurt Warner (Jeff Wilkins kick) 23–16 STL
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 256
- "1999 Tennessee Titans Draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "TRANSACTIONS". nytimes.com. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2