The 2019 Tennessee Titans came up one game short of reaching the Super Bowl. Was this their best shot at winning a Super Bowl in the coming years?
Was this as good as it gets for the Titans?
Championship windows in the NFL open as quickly as the shut. Sometimes, a team’s shot to win a Super Bowl is only there for a fleeting moment. While the 2019 Tennessee Titans were a fantastic story, not getting it done in the AFC Championship vs. the Kansas City Chiefs means their Super Bowl window has closed for the time being.
Tennessee was able to overcome a 2-4 start to the season to make it into the AFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed at 9-7. The Titans had to switch from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill as their starting quarterback. Along with an outstanding Pro Bowl season out of running back Derrick Henry, the Titans became one of the most ferocious teams in the AFC this year.
Their head coach Mike Vrabel emerged as one of the best young coaches in the game today. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith climbed his way up the coaching ladder to the point where he might be an NFL head coach in a few years. This was a Titans team that played so hard for its coaching staff but to recreate this kind of magic next season, that’s probably not happening.
Henry is an unrestricted free agent this spring. The same thing applies to Tannehill. Odds are, Tennessee will either franchise tag Henry or sign him to a massive multi-year deal. Who knows if Henry ever has a run like he did this postseason? As for Tannehill, he’ll be back on a new deal, but he may not play as well as he did in the second half this year.
In short, Tennessee will have to start all over next season to find the special sauce that made this team so unforgettable. A lot of the players from this year’s team will return in 2020, but the chemistry will be different. While we do like Vrabel, Henry, Tannehill, Smith and all these Titans, their biggest problem for winning Super Bowls down the line is the conference they play in.
The AFC now runs through Kansas City because Patrick Mahomes isn’t going anywhere. It’s his conference now. We should expect Kansas City to play in seven AFC Championships in the next decade and win a few Super Bowls along the way. As his legend grows, this Titans’ playoff run will be a distant memory. Maybe there’s a chance for them, but it’s not a likely one.