Since 1997, there’s been professional football in Tennessee. But the Titans actually didn’t come to be until two years later.
In 1997, the Houston Oilers relocated to Tennessee, playing one season in Memphis before moving to Nashville in 1998. From 1998 to present day, there’s been pro football in Nashville, but the franchise still carried the “Oilers” team name for its first two seasons of play in the state.
It wasn’t until 1999, when the team began playing its games just outside of downtown Nashville in the then-Adelphia Coliseum (now Nissan Stadium) that the “Titans” name was adopted by the club. The Titans have been a staple in the community ever since.
The early years of Titans football were highlighted by star players, namely the late quarterback Steve McNair and running back Eddie George, as well as former head coach Jeff Fisher. With a star-studded on-field cast and Fisher calling the right shots, the Titans made it to Super Bowl XXXIV in January 2000, eventually falling in heartbreaking fashion to the then-St. Louis Rams.
Gameday in Nashville
Home Titans games in Nashville bring the city together for more than just football. Both fans with tickets to the game and without tickets to the game descend upon downtown Nashville and the parking lots around Nissan Stadium to soak in the atmosphere, and share drinks and food with friends.
Those that don’t have tickets to the game can head to one of the many nearby bars, restaurants, or Tennessee Titans tailgates to enjoy the gameday experience and even win free tickets in some cases, while those that do have tickets can either walk to or take one of many public shuttles designed to take fans from throughout the downtown Nashville area to the stadium. There’s one thing that’s for certain about gameday in Nashville – it’s best to arrive early, whether you’re going to the game or not.
The Titans created a bond with the community since arriving in Nashville via Memphis and via Houston. This bond was enhanced with the team’s Super Bowl-making 1999 campaign. But this isn’t a one-way lovefest, as the Titans are very active in helping to make the Nashville community a better place.
Each year, the Titans host fundraisers for breast cancer research, take part in “Titan Tuesdays,” where a different group of players visit with patients, students and organizations throughout the Nashville community, and host youth football camps for young fans in the area. The Titans also support other local and national causes.
For instance, the franchise helped with relief efforts from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and many Titans players were a staple during the Nashville Predators’ 2017 Stanley Cup Final championship run.
The Titans also participate in a caravan each spring to meet and interact with fans throughout the state and award a “Community Quarterback Award” to celebrate local heroes in the community.
Pro football arrived in Tennessee about 20 years ago and it’s not leaving Nashville anytime soon. What’s more is that with a young core of talented up-and-coming players, it might not be too much longer before the next wave of Titans fans are experiencing the thrill of watching their hometown team compete in the Super Bowl.