Why Titans, NFL fans are fanatic

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It’s a sad day for sports fans in Nashville and in the middle Tennessee area. I’m not much of a hockey fan, but the news that the Nashville Predators are being sold leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The worst part of the news is that the buyer seems to want to move the team. (He tried to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins a year ago to move them to Ontario, where he lives.)
While the Titans have a lengthy waiting list for season tickets, have sold out every game since the stadium was built in Nashville, and enjoy tremendous fan support, other local sports have not done as well. There are various reasons why the other teams/sports haven’t enjoyed a comparable level of fan support but I don’t intend to go into those issues here.
What I will address is the mixed emotions fans have when franchises are moved. If the Predators are moved, there will be many Nashville fans saddened and even angry. On the other hand, an equal number of fans, if not more, will be delighted in Ontario.
Nashville was the beneficiary of the Oilers’ departure from Houston. The team’s former home, the Astrodome, was in such need of repair that a preseason game was actually canceled there. Of course, politics was involved and according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Bud Adams moved the team when then-mayor Lanier wouldn’t support a new stadium. Since then, Houston has built a new state of the art facility, funded by a hotel/motel tax on visitors, and proudly hosts a new franchise. If the politicians had done that a few years earlier, the Oilers would still be in Houston.
As much as I was pleased by the Oilers’ move to Tennessee, I can now better understand and appreciate the bitterness of fans in cities which lose a team. And if I can understand some of that as a non-hockey fan, I can only imagine how the die-hard hockey fans will feel when the Predators leave, if they do. I can also better understand the emotions of football fans who lose their team to another city.
The Bidwell family has moved the Cardinals from Chicago to St. Louis to Arizona, all in less than thirty years. Al Davis moved the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles, won a lawsuit against the league, and has since moved them back. The Rams also left Los Angeles, leaving that huge market without a NFL team, for St. Louis. Colts owner Robert Irsay had moving vans come in the middle of the night to move his team from Baltimore to Indianapolis. Art Modell is probably the most hated man in Cleveland history for moving the old Browns franchise to Baltimore, where it was renamed the Ravens.
For the fans of every city that lost a team, there was also a group of fans in the team’s new city that was thrilled to have them.
It’s just another example of how emotional some fans are and how much their teams are integral parts of their lives.

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6 Responses to “Why Titans, NFL fans are fanatic”

  1. Aaron B. Says:

    Great insight. I dislike the idea of the Preds leaving Nashville too but never once thought of comparing it to Houston’s loss of the Oilers. Makes one appreciate things a lot more.

  2. Andrew Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Aaron. I appreciate the compliment.

  3. Oiler Troll Says:

    Andrew, I love your site, and very much appreciate your taking on the issue of moving sports frnachises, but I respectfully submit…
    …you have NO idea how complicated the relationship between the Oilers and the city of Houston was (or you did not express it here).
    Humor me – it’s a blog, which means we are all here with free time.
    First of all, that pre-season game that was cancelled was only a ploy by Bud to stir up trouble and get out of his Dome lease with the County. The only real problem with the Dome was its size and lack of modern amenities.
    Keep in mind that at the time both Art Modell and Bud were on the NFL expansion committee. Think about that – two current owners were sitting there hearing the pitches of the smaller market cities eager to offer the moon to get into the NFL game – new stadiums, PSLs, guaranteed sell-outs, shares of concessions, boxes, parking, TV, everything – the whole package.
    Ironically, between the two of them, Bud was the better local citizen (no, that was not a typo and yes, that felt funny to say).
    Modell just bolted town and took up with Baltimore. Bud at least made some attempt to get the City of Houston to cough up cash for a new stadium. The City, represented by its old school 72+ year old mayor Lanier said “no thank you” – Lanier even went to congress to object to the practice of sports teams extorting cities for stadiums. It was all so quaint.
    Bud actually saw the writing on the wall on what the market would bear. Think about what he got Nashville to do for him.
    (And for the record, I love Nashville, used to live there, so here I am on your site, but it PAINS me when I pay my hotel bill knowing that I am paying for the stealing of the Oilers from Houston).
    So, Cleveland’s mayor cleverly made politcally hay out of Modell and in effect shamed the league into getting a franchise back in Cleveland and allowed the name “Browns” along with the records, etc.
    Houston, by taking what it thought was the “enlightened path” and not allowing itself to be extorted, did not get the sympathy. Houston even allowed itself by default to be portrayed by ESPN as a bad sports town, which is truly ridiculous – sports is what most people talk about in Houston, even the girls. Football especially so.
    I am sure that you all have heard plenty about what an A-hole Bud is (…and he is…), but with the benefit of hindsight, I actually give him something of a pass here – the business end of football and the blurring of public and private interests for sports had changed by 1996. Bud saw it, the people of Houston did not. Unfortunately for Bud, he had the PR skills of C Montgomery Burns, so the City never forgave him.
    In more inrony, they happily paid for Bob McNair’s palace in Reliant Stadium.
    Bud is a tragic example of how you can be your own worst enemy if your main focus is about yourself and not the team, no matter how powerful the idea. He was HUGE in starting the AFL, which was HUGE in making the NFL and football a better game, yet all you hear about historically is Lamar Hunt. Why – because Bud was an A-hole, period.
    Also, some kudos for you and what you do here: In the 30 years leading up to Oilers’ departure, Houston did not have a good sports press that really bothered to do their homework, know the game and know the situation (excluding John McCain, who is good). Houston writers were quick to jump on whatever bandwagon, or start the bandwagon so long as they had a story that was either cutesy/funny or provocative. They truly were idiots for the most part – a bad mix of little-league dad / soccer mom who wanted their ideas heard and implemented. The weak line heard most often – “I didn’t like the play calling.” – a line which reaks of , “I didn’t and don’t understand what is happening, I just know that we lost and I don’t like it.”
    What Houston sorely needed was a blog like this one so people could actually talk, read, think, discuss and get a fuller story than the crap written by Dale Robertson ( the friggin’ genius who picked a fight with Dan Pastorini days before the biggest game in Oiler history against the Steelers in January 1980 – I am sure it helped the team prepare, Dale).
    Anyway…I like the Titans. McNair, Goerge, Fisher and Super Bowl 34 lend them a quick sense of history, so y’all are lucky to have gotten that right out of the box. Vince Young with his strong ties to McNair reinforce that. That is a very good thing.
    What you are missing is the rich longstanding history of teams that: grew out of the AFL, challenged Joe Namath’s Jets, a team and coach rising out of the ashes of disastrous back-to-back 1-13 seasons, the rivalry with the way-too-pious “America’s Team” Dallas Cowboys, Bum Phillips getting players to play way way above their ability – Dan Pastorini, without Earl Campbell, just about beating the Steelers’ Hall of Fame defensive secondary with a bunch of no-name receivers to get into SB XIV, only to be traded and never play at that high of a level ever again. The history is rich.
    (I can’t talk about Warren Moon and failed expectations – it is just too painful).
    Sorry about the Predators – I am curious to learn what Ontario offered them because I thought Nashville had ponied up a lot there, too.
    And may I add – I love seeing the Titans wear predominantly Columbia Blue uniforms at home.
    Go Vince, Go Titans, Go Total Titans Blog.
    OT

  4. Andrew Says:

    OT,
    Thanks for your well-written input and for the compliments. Yeah, the Adams-Lanier stadium thing was of course more complicated than that, but that’s another story in itself.
    Dale Robertson – that takes me back a ways. Wasn’t he the writer Elvin Bethea dunked in the ice bath?
    And yes, I know about the AFL history and origins, which I’ve written about here before and remember the first days with George Blanda and Billy Cannon, et al. I also remember the Pastorini for Stabler trade, which didn’t really help either team. By the way, I thought Ken Burrough was one fine receiver – he made the Pro Bowl twice. Also, Earl Campbell joined the team in 1978, so it’s not like Pastorini didn’t have any weapons. Burrough and Campbell were both on the team the two years they challenged Pittsburgh.
    And I also remember guys like Carl Mauck and Robert Brazile and the travesty that was Eddie Biles. And they had a Pro Bowl safety named Mike Reinfeldt.
    Thanks again for your input, which brought back some old memories. It’s always good to hear from you, OT.

  5. Oiler Troll Says:

    Alright then. Well said. You know your stuff and I certainly meant no disrespect as I enjoy and respect this site and your work greatly.
    I didn’t know that Bethea dunked Robertson, but I can easily believe it happened.
    One quick addition and then I will stop looking backwards – Pastorini did have some weapons leading up to that final showdown with Pittsburgh…only to have Campbell shut down (he was still hurt from the Denver playoff game) and Burrough(s) was still hurting from a bruised tailbone suffered during the great Dallas Thanksgiving game. That game in particular was what I meant specifically, which means Dan’s performance in almost getting it done and getting to SB XIV while getting smacked around by the Steel Curtain was all the more amazing.
    Onward to the bright future of the Tennessee Titans.
    (And you gotta love how so many of the Texas CBS affiliates have dropped the Texans in favor of the Titans…).
    I miss Nashville.

  6. Clipse10 Says:

    Think titans will ever wear oiler jerseys?

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