A Father-Son Road Trip: Remembering the 1999 AFC Title Game

A. Enslen ButlerContributor IMay 28, 2009

26 Dec 1999:  Fans let loose at the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans at Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons/ALLSPORT

Father's Day always reminds me of my favorite year as a football fan.

The 1999 Tennessee Titans rolled to the Super Bowl, and I had the chance to take my father to the AFC Championship game in Jacksonville.

I remember watching the Titans play throughout their 13-3 season. At the time, I was working my way through graduate school and missed the “Music City Miracle” wild card win against Buffalo.

My graduate assistantship kept me from making the road trip to Indianapolis to watch the divisional playoff win.

But I found my schedule free for the Jacksonville game. But I needed a ticket. This was a time before on-line ticket brokers and, to some extent, eBay. I also could not afford to spend a small fortune for a playoff ticket.

After the weekend games, I spent Monday on the Jaguars' website and saw that tickets were still available. On impulse, I bought two tickets to the game at face value. My first thought was to ask my Dad to go with me. 

Now, he has been a Bears fan for as long as I can remember. But he adopted the Titans as soon as they came to town. So he was as excited as I was to drive to Jacksonville. We could always talk about sports. 

He did not know the No. 4 wide receiver on the team for a fantasy league. But he knew the star players and he followed Tennessee's season. He knew that the Titans had beaten Jacksonville twice in the regular season.

He also knew that it is almost impossible to beat a team three times in a single season. We were hoping the Titans would win, but we went for the experience of going as father and son.

It is the same reason we went to the Olympics in Atlanta, knowing that the Olympic Park bombing occurred 12 hours before leaving. We wanted the chance to do something that we might not be able to do again. 

When the two of us went to Alltel Stadium, we were given “You Are the 12th Man” towels given to all fans. We took them politely, knowing we would never wave them.

Jacksonville used the towels often as the Jaguars led 14-10 at the half. The towels disappeared as Tennessee dominated the second half and won the game 33-14.

Watching the Titans win their way to the Super Bowl with my father is something that I always think about around Father's Day.

That playoff run and an improbable last-minute trip to Jacksonville made that 1999 team a special one for me. I am lucky that my father is still around waiting for one or two more playoff runs. 

But I doubt we will ever get playoff tickets for face value.