Another two post day but again there’s significance in that. Today is January 8th. Fifteen years ago today was the NFL AFC Wild Card Playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans. It is a well known game for a play, the Music City Miracle. And it happened to be the first NFL game I ever attended.
The story about me being at the game goes like this. The 1999 season was during my Sophomore year of college at Union University. The Titans had just changed their name and logo from the Oilers after having moved from Houston a few years prior. And they were having a great season. Up to that point, I had never been to an NFL game, even when the then Oilers played in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl or at Dudley Field at Vanderbilt. And while I was in college for the most part I was in Jackson.
However, I was on winter break (Union has a January term and I wasn’t taking classes that January) so I was back home with family. When the Titans made the playoffs, I made it a point to try and get tickets. So when they went on sale the week before the game, I went down to the local mall (named Shady Brook Mall at the time) and went to stand in line. The Ticketmaster outlet in the mall was a music store and they were giving people numbers prior to the start of selling tickets. They then randomly drew a number and that person was the head of the line. When they drew the numbers, I was fortunate to be close enough that I was able to buy 2 tickets, and they were lower level tickets to boot.
The game was on Saturday afternoon and my dad and I went up to Nashville. We parked over at Greer Stadium, the Nashville Sounds (old) stadium and took a bus over to Adelphia Coliseum (now known as LP Field). We made our way to our seats and found we were sitting near the end zone (I believe it’s the South end zone). I remember we were sitting next to this big guy who talked to us throughout the game and was funny. The stadium was loud and rocking. The game was back and forth. Unfortunately most of the scoring was happening on the other end of the field.
That changed late in the 4th quarter when the Bills drove down and kicked a field goal to take the lead. For the most part, the Titans were in control and winning but that score with about :16 seconds left was tough. Our friend who was sitting next to us left as did several others but me and my dad stayed put. That’s something that has always stuck with me, to stay through to the end of a game. And sure enough that paid off.
From where we were sitting we could see the kick and that Frank Wycheck, the tight end who happened to be out there on kickoff return throw across the field to Kevin Dyson, the receiver on the other end. Then it seemed like this swarm of blockers out of nowhere started blocking as he ran on the other side of the field down the sidelines away from us into the endzone. As he ran, the stadium got louder and louder until he reached the endzone and then it was wild. We all then had to wait for the review to make sure it stood. In our minds it was a lateral (wouldn’t be until later when got home and watched replays did we know there was any fuss). The replay booth was in the corner of the sidelines near where we sat so we could see the ref run to the booth and go inside and check and then came out and announced it was a touchdown. The stadium erupted again when the announcement was made. The Titans would go on to win the game and would eventually get to the Super Bowl.
Fifteen years later, that is still a cool memory I have of being at that game (by the way I have proof because I still have the ticket stub from the game). Here’s the end of the game with the TV broadcast along with a video with the Titans Radio crew: