I’ve never been a big NFL fan. But I grew up loving the Dallas Cowboys.
That was during the days of coach Tom Landry and quarterback Roger Staubach.
I still have Dallas shirts and other like items. And I will always pull for the Cowboys, even though my interest has dwindled in recent years.
A highlight of my love for the Cowboys came in my younger adult years. Pam and I and Emma (when she was a small child) visited Pam’s sister, who then lived near Dallas, for Thanksgiving. And during that stay, we enjoyed my first-ever Cowboys’ game in person. It’s something I will never forget.
But in recent years, my favorite has switched to the closest to home team, the Tennessee Titans.
As a teenager, I remember Bum Phillips, in that cowboy hat, coaching the Houston Oilers. He later coached the Saints.
In 1997, the Oilers moved to Tennessee, and that first season played their home games at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis.
The next season, 1998, they moved to Nashville and played in Vanderbilt Stadium. For those two years, they were known as the Tennessee Oilers. Their name was changed to the Tennessee Titans for the 1999 season.
The team now plays at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, which opened in 1999 as Adelphia Coliseum.
On the Saturday before Christmas, thanks to good friend Don Brooks of Oxford, I made another of what has become an annual trip to see the Titans play.
I dug out my Titans’ sweat shirt and toboggan. Some cold temperatures were in the forecast.
The opponent was the Washington Redskins with the Titans needing a victory to stay in the playoff hunt.
We parked in the usual parking garage, walked a few blocks and had a quick lunch in downtown Nashville at The Stillery.
Don, who had eaten there before, chose one of the specialties, hot chicken mac ’n cheese. I picked a hamburger with mushrooms and some mac ’n cheese as my side item.
We made it to our seats 10 minutes prior to kickoff.
Don’s seats were once up high, really high – about four or five rows from the top of the stadium. But a couple of years ago, he asked about better ones and was moved about 20 rows lower. It’s still upper deck, but great seats.
On the way into the stadium, we were given a new, free Titans’ toboggan.
The game was not an offensive showcase. Marcus Mariota, quarterback of the Titans, was injured late in the first half and didn’t return.
But Tennessee managed to rally from behind for the 25-16 win. The Titans outscored the Redskins 16-3 in the fourth quarter.
The fans were more into the game this time around than any Titans’ game I had attended. It was a great atmosphere.
The stadium is located on the east bank of the Cumberland River, directly across the river from downtown Nashville and has a listed seating capacity of 69,143. It wasn’t full on Saturday, Dec. 22, but it was loud.
One of my Christmas presents was a light Titans pullover with a hood.
The playoffs are here. I will pull for the Cowboys, as the Titans fell short of making the post-season.