As the 2000-2009 decade ends, the inevitable retrospectives seem to pop up everywhere, and with every subject.
In sports, it's not only a time for reflection, but a time to look forward as well.
"This is where we've been, now where are we going?"
For the Tennessee Titans, the past ten years have been nothing short of exciting, if not dramatic.
Suffice it to say, most fans' fingernails are chewed to the core with all of the ups and downs that this franchise seems to go through.
The criteria for this ranking is subjective and opinion-based; short of Super Bowl wins, there are no hard and fast numeric formulas to accurately gauge importance.
Some moments are bigger to some than others.
At any rate, here is a look at some of the more poignant moments of the 2000's.
From the ridiculous to the sublime, all played a part in shaping the "Decade that Was" for this semi-charmed franchise.
This moment is somewhat of a double-edged sword for Titans fans.
While the significance of making the Super Bowl is indisputable, it did, in fact, turn out bad for Tennessee; hence its low ranking on this list.
For fans of the St. Louis Rams—and casual fans, for that matter—it will go down as one of the best Super Bowls ever.
But for the Tennessee faithful, it remains a bitter pill.
They would build on this game, true. In fact, they were one of the few teams in recent memory to NOT falter after losing the big one.
However, being a foot away from the Lombardi Trophy is achingly resonant to this day.
After spending the middle part of the decade mired in mediocrity, the Tennessee Titans all of the sudden seemed poised to become championship contenders with their fast start to the 2008 season.
Prior to that year, there was measured optimism, no doubt. Yet nobody expected a gray-bearded quarterback—Kerry Collins—to lead the Titans to a number one seed in the AFC with home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
True, they squandered all of it in one game, a divisional round loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
But after the first ten games of the season, there was a definite swagger that hadn't been there since the early 2000's.
In 2007, Vince Young avoided a sophomore slump and led the Titans to an improbable playoff appearance.
Most folks considered the Titans to still be in rebuilding mode, and didn't have them actually contending for a another season or two.
Granted, their ticket in was earned against the Indianapolis Colts' backups, but the ahead-of-schedule progress was not lost on Tennessee fans.
In 2000, the Tennessee Titans were out to prove that their magical Super Bowl run from the previous year wasn't a fluke.
And all season long, they proved it convincingly, running up a 13-3 record.
What most folks don't remember is that it was the Titans, NOT the Baltimore Ravens, that ranked number one in total defense that year.
However, it was the Ravens who prevailed, 24-10 in the divisional playoff round. The most painful part of that game for Tennessee fans is the fact that the winner of that game was probably going to be the Super Bowl winner, given the weak NFC that year.
It turned out to be the truth, with the Ravens triumphing 34-7 over the New York Giants.
Sigh..."coulda, woulda, shoulda."
There are many moments that could earn Eddie George a spot on this list, but eclipsing the 10,000 yard plateau is perhaps the most validating.
Only 23 other players have accomplished such a feat.
Considering that he did it without missing a game is all the more amazing. In the end, however, his high workload proved to be his fade-to-black undoing.
But even when his productivity slipped, it was George—along with quarterback Steve McNair—who remained the face and identity of the offense, if not the franchise.
He remained a gritty runner who came through in critical situations, even when his 1,500 yards per year days were behind him.
Most Titans fans had high hopes when Vince Young was selected as the third overall pick for the franchise in the 2006 NFL Draft.
But the fact that he produced immediately—at a position that usually takes years to master—was a pleasant surprise for everyone in the organization.
After an 0-5 start, he was inserted into the starting lineup and didn't look back, salvaging Tennessee's season with an 8-8 record.
He would later fall on hard times—which he has since risen out of—but his quick, positive impact on the team was significant.
Despite their early decade success, the Titans seemed to be snake-bitten whenever they played the Baltimore Ravens.
Simply put, Ray Lewis and Co. had Tennessee's number.
But, with the help of Eddie George, Steve McNair and geriatric kicker Gary Anderson, the Titans got the monkey off their back with a 20-17 victory in the 2004 playoffs.
But the most symbolic exclamation point to the game was Eddie George's legendary stiff arming of Ray Lewis in the ultimate mano-a-mano moment. Immediately after the play, they got in each other's face for some extra-curricular jawing.
When asked after the game what he said to Lewis, George deadpanned that he was "asking him how his Christmas was."
Revenge is a dish best served cold, they say. But in this case, the side of humor made it that much more sweet.
At long last, Steve McNair got his due, being named MVP after his outstanding 2003 season.
Well, co-MVP, actually, considering that he split the award with division foe Peyton Manning.
But it was no less important.
When he came into the league, he was simply a run-first, unpolished quarterback. Most folks thought that best case scenario, he would become an adequate passer.
Yet for him to mature the way he did and be named the most valuable player was redemption at its best.
Unfortunately, he was unable to parlay that into a Super Bowl victory, as the Titans lost to the eventual champion New England Patriots that year.
But his winning the award is arguably the exclamation point to a stellar career.
The above quote is how Jeff Fisher responded to a reporter questioning the Titans' right to be playing for the AFC championship.
While Tennessee went on to fall to the Oakland Raiders in the game, the fact that they even made it that far was a testament to their tough-as-nails mettle.
After starting the season 1-4, most had given up on the team. Throw in the fact that the still-in-his-prime Jevon Kearse was out indefinitely, and Titans fans were already looking to the next year's draft.
But, as they say, it's not about how fast a team starts, it's about who gets hot at the right time.
After owner Bud Adams publicly questioned Fisher's coaching, the team went on a tear, losing only once the rest of the year.
Given the similar arc of their current 2009 season, many folks nowadays allude to their 2002 year in a "remember the Alamo" sense.
Who knows what will happen, but what they accomplished that particular season was downright inspiring.
This is without question the franchise's signature play.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the Immaculate Reception.
The San Francisco 49ers have The Catch.
And after Kevin Dyson's Jan. 2000 heroics against the Buffalo Bills, the Titans have theirs.
With only seconds remaining, Tennessee found themselves desperately needing points to win the game and advance in the playoffs.
Things didn't look good, to say the least.
Even some players were resigned to what they thought was their fate. Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews admitted in later interviews that he was already thinking about his offseason vacation plans.
But then the improbable happened.
Buffalo predictably squib-kicked the ball, and fullback Lorenzo Neal fielded it. Then, much to the chagrin of fans who wanted them to down the ball for a few Hail Mary passes, he dished the ball back to tight end Frank Wycheck.
What happened next is the source of endless debate.
He lateraled the ball to Dyson on the other side of the field, who then ran untouched into the end zone for the victory.
Of course, whether or not is was a forward pass was—and, to some, still is—up for debate.
However, after referee Phil Luckett. embattled in his own right from a few botched calls from previous years, ruled the play legal and history was made.
After Tennessee's surprising 13-3 season that year, most would have considered it a shame to lose in the first round; winning was expected.
But to do it in such dramatic fashion cemented this game forever in Titans and NFL lore.