The 7 Greatest Players in Tennessee Titans History

The Tennessee Titans (formerly known as the Houston Oilers) have a rich history of talented players who have made significant contributions to the team’s success. From their early days in the AFL to their current status as an NFL powerhouse, the Oilers/Titans have seen some truly remarkable athletes take the field.

Let’s see who we consider to be the seven greatest players in Tennessee Titans history.

1. Steve McNair, Quarterback, 1995-2005

Steve McNair, affectionately known as “Air McNair,” remains the quintessential franchise quarterback for the Tennessee Titans. Under his leadership, the Titans reached the playoffs four times, and he shared an MVP award with Peyton Manning in 2003, highlighting his contribution to the team.

McNair’s stellar career includes three Pro Bowl selections and a Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 1993. Over his 10-year tenure with the Titans, he threw for 156 touchdowns and added 36 more on the ground. If Kevin Dyson had stretched just one yard further, McNair might have a Super Bowl ring in his collection.

Tragically, McNair’s life was cut short in 2009, but his legacy lives on; the Titans honored him the following season by wearing a No. 9 sticker on their helmets.

2. Bruce Matthews, Center, 1983-2001

Bruce Matthews is an icon in the world of football, having left an indelible mark on the Tennessee Titans franchise. Playing an astonishing 19 years in the league, Matthews is the only Titans player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

But that’s not all—this gridiron legend made 14 Pro Bowl appearances and was an All-Pro selection ten times. His versatility and endurance are unmatched, as he played every position on the offensive line during his career.

3. Keith Bulluck, Linebacker, 2000-2009

Keith Bulluck is, without a doubt, the best defensive player in Tennessee Titans’ history. Known for his relentless tackling and leadership on the field, Bulluck was a three-time All-Pro who epitomized durability and reliability.

From 2002 onwards, he never missed a single game, proving his immense dedication and consistency.

Bulluck’s presence on the field was always felt, and his ability to make key plays at crucial moments set him apart. After a brief stint with the New York Giants, he retired as a Titan in 2012, leaving behind a legacy of greatness.

4. Eddie George, Running Back, 1996-2003

The Heisman Trophy winner was a workhorse, consistently churning out yards and showcasing immense durability. In his eight years as the Titans’ primary runner, George only fell short of the 1,000-yard mark once, a testament to his steadfast performance.

George’s collaboration with Steve McNair kept the Titans competitive, even during uncertain times for the team. His stats with the franchise speak volumes: 2,733 carries, 10,009 rushing yards, 2,144 receiving yards, and 74 touchdowns.

This incredible output earned him four Pro Bowl selections and solidified his place in Titans history. In 2011, George was rightfully inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

5. Jevon Kearse, Defensive End, 1999-2003, 2008-2009

Nicknamed “The Freak” for his extraordinary athleticism, Jevon Kearse was an absolute force on the field and the best pass-rusher in Titans franchise history. Right out of the gate in his rookie year, Kearse demonstrated his dominance by racking up 14.5 sacks and forcing eight fumbles. This incredible performance earned him the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and set the tone for the rest of his career.

Even when facing constant double-teams, Kearse amassed 74 total quarterback sacks, 28 forced fumbles, and 245 total tackles. His impact was so profound that he earned three Pro Bowl selections and made a triumphant return to the Titans for his final two seasons.

6. Derrick Mason, Wide Receiver, 1997-2004

Derrick Mason was a pivotal part of the Titans’ offense, a receiver who could always be relied upon to deliver in clutch moments. During his time with Tennessee, Mason hauled in 453 receptions for over 6,000 yards and 39 touchdowns, making him a fan favorite and an undeniable talent on the field.

His consistency and knack for big plays earned him two Pro Bowl selections, a testament to his extraordinary abilities. While he eventually moved on to play for the Baltimore Ravens, it’s his prime years with the Titans that fans remember most fondly.

Even with the team’s current depth at receiver, Mason remains the most talented wideout in Titans history.

7. Kevin Mawae, Center, 2006-2009

Kevin Mawae may be ranked last on this list, but his impact during his time with the Titans was nothing short of monumental.

As the anchor of the offensive line from 2006 to 2008, Mawae earned a reputation as the best center in the game. His leadership and skill were crucial in helping the Titans win 13 games in 2008, even with backup quarterback Kerry Collins. Mawae’s dominance in the trenches paved the way for the Titans’ renowned smash-and-dash running game.

Over his entire illustrious career, Mawae earned eight Pro Bowl and eight All-Pro selections, solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest centers in NFL history.

Honorable Mention

While these seven stand out as franchise legends, there are other great Oilers and Titans who also deserve mention. Warren Moon played 10 years with the Oilers, earning an Offensive Player of the Year Award in 1990, a season he threw for a league-best 4,689 yards and 33 touchdowns. He is the all-time leading passer in franchise history with 33,685 yards. After 10 years with the team, he went on to play for Minnesota, Seattle, and Kansas City before retiring after the 2000 season.

Earl Campbell, like Eddie George, was a bulldozer who some defenders simply couldn’t bring down. While he only played a little over six years with the team, he won the Offensive Player of the Year Award three times and NFL MVP once. In 1980, he was just shy of hitting the legendary 2,000-yard mark, averaging 128.9 yards per game that season. His pounding running style took a toll on his body, though, and after nine years in the NFL, he called it a career.

The Bottom Line

The Tennessee Titans have a rich history, and these players have undoubtedly played their part in shaping the team’s identity. From record-breaking stats to Super Bowl near-misses, they have left an indelible mark on the franchise and will be remembered for generations to come.

As the 2024 NFL season is coming after summer, the Titans have high hopes for their current roster,  with DeAndre Hopkins, Will Levis, and Julius Chestnut leading the way.

If you want to join the action, the Tennessee Titans season bets are already open, and fans are already placing their wagers. The Titans figure to be a factor in what promises to be a competitive AFC South.

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