Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008. The Tennessee Titans were hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the winner of the game having the inside track to the best record in the AFC, and home field advantage through out the playoffs.
The Titans entered the game hungrier than the Steelers, and abused them to the tune of 31-14. Not only winning the game, but securing the rights to be called the best team in the AFC, and becoming the favorites to play in Super Bowl XLIII.
Toward the end of the game, with the outcome certain, some Titans players decided to make things personal with the Steelers and their fans.
By stomping the beloved Terrible Towel, the Titans signified they were not afraid of the Steelers, or any curse that may come along with the Towel.
See, Steelers fans have seen this before. In 1995, the San Diego Chargers defeated the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. At the end of the game, the Chargers won the right to go to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
At the end of the game, several Chargers players were waving Terrible Towels, stomping on them, and being disrespectful.
So what, you ask?
The Chargers went on to one of the worst beatings in Super Bowl history, losing to the San Francisco 49ers, 49-26.
Coincidence you say?
Dec. 4, 2005. The Cincinnati Bengals visited Heinz Field to play the Steelers, with the AFC North title on the line. In a high scoring game, the Bengals defeated the Steelers 38-31.
At the end of the game, T.J. Houshmandzadeh took a Terrible Towel, shined his dirty cleats with it, and threw it on the ground.
Cincinnati did win the division, and in their first playoff game in almost 20 years, hosted those same Pittsburgh Steelers.
On the Bengals first drive, Carson Palmer was lost for the game, tearing his ACL when Kimo Von Olhoffen rolled up on his knee.
The Bengals unraveled, with rumors of a fight between Chad Johnson and a member of the coaching staff (where there were supposedly punches thrown) at half time.
That is the same year the Steelers would go on to win their fifth Lombardi Trophy.
Still think it is coincidence?
When the Arizona Cardinals were preparing to depart for Super Bowl XLIII, the city had a pep rally for the team at the airport.
Even though no member of the team, or coaching staff did anything disrespectful, the Mayor of Arizona acted as if he were blowing his nose on the Terrible Towel, even after coach Ken Whisenhunt asked him not to.
The result, again, was a defeat to the disrespectful team.
Prior to stomping the Terrible Towel, the Titans were 13-2.
Since the Titans players, namely LenDale White, Javon Kearse and Keith Bulluck, were disrespectful to the Terrible Towel, here is how the Titans have done.
Week 17, 2008 - Indianapolis 23 / Tennessee 0
Divisional playoffs 2008 - Baltimore 13 / Tennessee 10
Week 1, 2009 - Pittsburgh 13 / Tennessee 10
Week 2, 2009 - Houston 34 / Tennessee 31
Week 3, 3009 - New York Jets 24 / Tennessee 21
Week 4, 2009 - Jacksonville 37 / Tennessee 17
The fact is, since the Terrible Towel stomp, the Titans have not been able to win a game, losing six straight.
Is this coincidence, or are they suffering the same fate as the other teams before them? Your guess is as good as mine, but unless something happens against the Colts Sunday, Tennessee will again be knocked out of the playoffs.