Everything old is new again for the Tennessee Titans this offseason. First, the team brought back Mike Heimerdinger as offensive coordinator. The team then re-signed fomer Titans stars Jevon Kearse and Justin McCairens.
The back-to-the-future trend continued this week as the Titans today announced the signing of Quarterback Steve McNair to a six-year, $50 Million, deal.
“The best years the Titans franchise have ever seen were the years when Steve was our quarterback,” said head coach Jeff Fisher. “After our recent personnel additions… it just made too much sense to let Steve have another shot as well.”
McNair comes off of two injury-riddled seasons where he hardly played at all for the Baltimore Ravens, and played quite poorly when he was in the line-up.
“We feel like experience is an undervalued quality in an NFL player,” says recently rehired GM Floyd Reese. “The conventional wisdom in the league is that you have to get younger. But look how our last few seasons have gone since we’ve done just that… it’s been horrible. We believe that experience and age trump youth and physical talent, and we’re filling out our roster with that as our guiding philosophy. In fact, if you played for the Titans in 2002 or before, you should expect your phone to ring any day now.”
And Reese isn’t kidding. In just the past week alone, the Titans have re-signed kicker Al Del Greco, running back Eddie George, and tight end Frank Wycheck.
“We’re lucky Frank never left town,” quipped Heimerdinger. “Now we’ve got to see if we can unload Alge Crumpler on some other team. Sure, signing Alge seemed like a great idea at the time… but that was before we had really fully embraced this age movement. Alge’s a hell of an athlete, to be sure, but his physical talents can’t begin to measure up to Wycheck’s years of experience and knowledge of the game.”
The new so-called “age movement” has also solved another one of the Titans’ pesky problems: The Pac Man Jones situation. Says Fisher, “We have offers out to Samari Rolle and Blaine Bishop right now, and we expect those players to sign any day. Whenever the league decides to reinstate Pac… we’ll have no problem saying goodbye to him knowing that we have the experience of those two guys to fall back on.”
McNair was all smiles at the team facility today. “Look, this age movement is long overdue. The Patriots this past year had one of the oldest rosters in the league—especially on defense—and yet they darn near won every single game. That's why we're signing all our old stars. Experience. It’s the new Titans’ motto, so you better get used to it.”
Fan reactions seemed to be mixed. Gerry Gentry, of Murfreesboro, TN, is surprised, but plenty thrilled. “I’ve been saying for years that we needed to get Eddie and Steve back. We never should have let either of those guys slip away. That’s when all our problems as a team got started up.”
But Harry Weintrub, of Franklin, TN, seemed a bit more cautious. “I like McNair as much as the next guy, seriously… I do. But has anyone seen him play the last couple years? I mean, he kind of sucks now. And isn’t he pushing 50 years old?”
One person not happy to see the Titans moving toward older, more seasoned players, is former starting QB Vince Young. Already bumped to #2 on the depth chart after the McNair signing, Vince lashed out today when reporters questioned him: “This is the most retarded thing I’ve ever seen. I could throw Steve McNair further than he could throw a football!! These team officials have lost their damn mind, dude! King Kong ain’t got nothing on me!” Young then ripped his own shirt into pieces and stormed out of the room.
Reese understands Young’s frustration. “It’s hard to be the starter for two years and then ride the pine. But what Vince has to understand is the overall big picture. We’re trying to win more ball games, and at this time we feel Steve gives us a better chance to do that than Vince does. We believe that in order to get better in the future, we as a team have to go back to the past.”
Even without completed deals with Kevin Dyson and Lorenzo Neal (those deals are expected to be finalized by tomorrow), the Titans new roster makes them the oldest team in the NFL, with an average age of 43.25 years—nearly 8 years higher an average than the next oldest team.
Even the cheerleading squad is regrouping, focusing on older, more experienced women.
“Laugh all you want now,” says Fisher, “but we’ll have the last laugh. When we’re holding up that Lombardi trophy after this year’s Super Bowl, everyone will know the importance of experience and age. We’re starting something revolutionary. In a few years, rookies won’t have a chance in hell of making this league. As long as the Kerry Collins’ and Vinny Testaverde’s and Steve McNair’s of this world are able to get out of bed without a nurse’s assistance… this is an old man’s league.”