Monday, May 11, 2009

Position in the Spotlight: Nashville

Nashville is a city that only very recently came into the world of professional sports. They gained their first franchise when the Nashville Predators entered the NHL in 1998. The Tennessee Oilers moved from Memphis and became the Titans a year later, and Nashville was suddenly a two sport town.
Both teams are around a decade old now, and, incredibly, particularly in this day in age, both teams have the coach taht orginally came with the team. Jeff Fisher has brought the most success to his team, going to the Super Bowl in 1999 and going to the playoffs a total of 6 times, leading his team to a 120-104 record. Trotz, on the other hand has not been met with the same success. Even so, he brought the Preds to the playoffs 4 years in a row, with the streak ending this year.
This is the problem with Nashville with regards to the sports teams. No doubt that both franchises value the contribution of their head coaches, but since there has been only one coach for each franchise, it's hard to tell which legacy will be carried on. That's why we need to turn to the players on the field, but only acknowledging that this will likely change in the next decade.
The choice for Nashville, after all that, is Titans quarterback. The Titans came to Nashville with former third overall pick and future three time Pro Bowler Steve McNair. McNair was one of the original mobile quarterbacks, following in the footsteps of Randall Cunningham. He led the team ot the Super Bowl in 1999, where they came just short of the title (by a yard) against the Rams.
Fisher and the Titans thought so highly of McNair's play with the Oilers/Titans for so many years that when they needed a new franchise quarterback and had the third overall pick once again, they drafted another gifted, mobile quarterback, Vince Young. The pressure was so extraordinary that he had a well documented mental breakdown this year. Kerry Collins, a seasoned veteran, was able to step in and lead the Titans to a very good season again this year.

Honorable Mention: Titans Running Back: Like McNair and the quarterback, the Titans came to Nashville with a good running back in Eddie George. Since then, despite good ground games, they have mostly had a running back by committee.
Predators Center: 4 of the top 8 leading scorers in history have been centers (David Legwand, Greg Johnson, Cliff Ronning and Jason Arnott) and 2 of the 4 captains (Johnson, Arnott).

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