The Baltimore Ravens have tormented the Tennessee Titans since the team arrived in Nashville nearly ten years ago. Just the sight of Ray Lewis doing a dance as he appears out of the visiting locker room sends chills up most Titans' fans spines. However, there are five major reasons, aside from Ray Lewis, why the fans of the men in two tone blue simply don't like those pesky birds.
Reason #1: The First Home Defeat
After the Titans go 9-0 at home throughout the 1999 regular and post season (the inaugural season), the Titans win the first four home games of the 2000 season, moving the teams home record to an astounding 13-0.
Then the Ravens came to town, a team team the Titans had beaten 14-6 in Baltimore a few weeks before. The Ravens, led by quarterback Trent Dilfer, mounted a late fourth quarter comeback to hand Steve McNair and the hometown fans their first ever loss at the new Adelphia Coliseum. However, the Titans would bounce back rather nicely, winning five out of their next six games and finishing 13-3, to set up a rematch at home in the Divisional Round against Ray Lewis and Company.
Reason #2: The Rematch Gone Bad
Titans' fans got their wish. They wanted a rematch against the Ravens, and a rematch is exactly what they got. However, the outcome was more of the same for the boys from the Mid-South. The Ravens rolled into Nashville on January 7, 2000 and handed the Titans a demoralizing 24-10 loss that propelled Baltimore to the AFC Championship and later to a Super Bowl victory over Kerry Collins and the New York Giants.
Reason #3: Continued Domination
Over the next two years, the Ravens would beat the Titans all three meetings, including another win at Adelphia Coliseum in 2001, sending the Titans to a 7-9 season and no playoff berth.
Reason #4: Taking Away Players
After a 5-11 season in 2004, the Titans were forced to dismantle most of their major salary problems, which meant the release of key players. Two of the most vital members of the Titans teams since their arrival to Nashville were Samari Rolle and Derrick Mason. Both players were released and both signed with the rival Ravens.
Mason, in his return to Nashville in 2005 against the Titans, received 68,000 boos from the hometown faithful after he spiked a ball into the railing following a touchdown late in the game. Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher said it was simply out of his frustration of the Ravens loss to the Titans. Mason's frustration with the Titans has stemmed over into this year, after he and Cortland Finnegan jawed back and forth during the teams meeting earlier this year.
In 2006, the face of the franchise Steve "Air" McNair was traded away to the Ravens to make room for Vince Young. McNair not only led the Ravens to the playoffs, but he also came back to the Music City and beat the Titans in an emotional return during the regular season.
Reason #5 Something Personal This Time
Kerry Collins looks for another shot at winning the big one. The last time Collins was in the Super Bowl, the Ravens' defense intercepted him four times, and beat the Giants 34-7 on football's biggest stage. This year, the Titans starting quarterback has resurrected his career in Nashville and has Tennessee fans thinking Super Bowl once again. Collins will look for his revenge this Saturday as the Titans host the Ravens at LP Field.
No matter what the case, the Titans and Ravens matchup has long been a brutal meeting of two hard-hitting teams. This Saturday's date in Nashville will more than likely live up to that hype, as the Ravens look to spoil the Music City party once again.