Last week, Paul Kuharsky asked over at ESPN AFC South Blog which the best Oilers/Titans team was, listing among his possibilities the 1960 and '61 AFL champions, the 1979 team that lost close to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game, the 1999 Super Bowl team, and the 2000 team whose playoff loss caused me to kick apart a cardboard box. (Yes, it was empty, and I was going to throw it away. Yes, it felt good, dangit.)
I'd started some mucking around in this direction, poking around with different ways to evaluate the "best" team in franchise history. I tend to value regular season success more than postseason success, and particularly regular season dominance, as you'll see. I also didn't take into account in my analysis league-wide honors for players on that team, like Pro Bowls and All-Pro and Hall of Fame members. I especially don't particularly like relying on Pro Bowls, which tend to be the same players over and over mixed in with a smattering of guys who have good conventional stats. This tends to focus too much attention on particular big names (let's be honest, Bruce Matthews didn't really deserve to make it to the Pro Bowl every year he did), and also overrates stars-and-scrubs systems. In the analysis, I refer to teams' DVOA, the base statistic we use at Football Outsiders (available 1993-present), and also Pythagorean wins (PythWins), which tells you many games a team "should" win based on their points scored and points allowed.
So, what's my take on the best teams in franchise history?
A wise man once uttered the famous phrase, "First impressions are lasting."
So far, Ryan Mouton's plight as a Tennessee Titan more than validates the aforementioned age-old axiom.
From Titans' fans being upset due to him being chosen in the third round over local favorite D.J. Moore, to his untimely case of fumble-itis as a returner in the "forgettable" debacle in the Meadowlands against the Jets, Mouton's had his share of struggles entering his second year in Nashville.
With this weekend's news that fellow 2009 CB draftee Jason McCourty is running with the first team in OTAs due to his strong offseason, the pressure is certainly on Mouton to step up his game.
Formal notice: I'm officially on "not really writing posts" for the next couple weeks. Future installments of how much the offense changed, plus other posts I hope will be interesting, should resume early-mid June. But, just in case you cared what I thought about the latest and least boring Titans news:
Chris Johnson, Bo Scaife, and Stephen Tulloch are skipping workouts: I don't care too much about CJ and Tulloch; they're reasonable business decisions and both guys seem to be working out. It's not unusual for players in Bo's situation to hold himself out, but if his $4.9 million for 2010 was indeed guaranteed as was reported, I'm not particularly happy. CJ and Tulloch would get more money, at least guaranteed, if they hit the open market. If Bo left the Titans, I strongly doubt he's paid over $9 million like he'll get from the Titans between 2009 and 2010.
The Titans help Nashville recover: Best wishes to all our readers and hopes everybody came through unharmed and with no major losses. I've been through some nasty rain/water before, most notably Hurricane Alicia and a memorable day in the summer of '96 with 18"+ (the closest official rain gauge overflowed at 15.9"). It's a little far for me to volunteer, but I threw some money toward the direction of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee though you'll get swag if you give $100 to the Vince Young Foundation.
Terry McCormick, formerly of the City Paper, is reporting the Titans are close to hiring Ruston Webster, who worked with Mike Reinfeldt in Seattle. If you read this article from 2006 and this one from 2002 linked therein, you'll know everything I do about Webster.
Selected in the seventh and final round of this year's draft, former Brown DT David Howard will attempt to take the leap from the Ivy League to the NFL.
Listed by at least one major publication as a sleeper prior to draft weekend, Brown's intriguing athleticism demonstrated during his pro day served as the impetus for the Tennessee Titans to take a flyer on the former Ivy Leaguer in the draft's final round.
Similar to last week's exercise regarding fellow 7th rounder Marc Mariani, let's take a look at David Howard's chances of sticking around in 2010.