published Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Wiedmer: Imagine the vibrations of Falcons-Titans merger

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Michael Preston (14) scores a touchdown on an 8-yard pass play as he is defended by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) with 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Nashville.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Michael Preston (14) scores a touchdown on an 8-yard pass play as he is defended by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) with 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Nashville.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Atlanta Falcons strong safety William Moore (25) celebrates his interception against Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins with Atlanta Falcons strong safety Zeke Motta (41) during the second half of an NFL football game in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

If only the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons could merge. Maybe take that $1.2 billion the Falcons are frivolously spending on that shiny new stadium they're planning to build right next to the still-wonderful Georgia Dome and shift it a couple of hours north to Chattanooga.

Think about it. The Titans pretty much have everything but a top-notch NFL quarterback at the moment. Well, that and a couple of All-Pro caliber wide receivers. The Falcons, on the other hand, basically have only a top-notch quarterback and wide receivers (especially when Julio Jones returns).

So if Atlanta owner Arthur Blank insists on building a new stadium, why not here with a merged team? Maybe somewhere along the Tennessee River. Turn it so one end zone looks out over the water. Maybe with a waterfall that flows into the river.

If that all seems too expensive and extravagant, maybe that waterfall could replace the vibrating seats that are on tap for the new stadium in Atlanta each time the Birds make a big play. Maybe it could even flow into a giant pipe to carry water south to the Big Peach, at least as long as Georgia will agree to build that monorail from the Scenic City to the Atlanta airport.

But let's back up a moment. Vibrating seats. You don't even have to jump up and down anymore. The stadium does it for you. Before long each seat will double as a toilet so you don't even have to fight bathroom lines. Of course, you'll pay for it. But think of the convenience. And beer consumption might double, which could be a necessary stress reliever for fans of both the Titans and Falcons if these two franchises don't dramatically improve soon.

Just in case you're wondering, 2009 was the last time before this season that both the Falcons and the Titans missed the playoffs in the same year.

Look ahead to next autumn and a positive thinker can make the argument they'll both reach the postseason next year. Atlanta because the majority of its problems could arguably be traced to injuries, especially on offense. Tennessee because, despite its record, the many-hues-of-blue crew was in almost every game this season, the necessity of playing backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick quite often the narrow difference between victory and defeat.

With that as a starting point, it would be easy to see new Titans CEO Tommy Smith electing to give Titans coach Mike Munchak at least one more season to prove the Hall of Fame player is more than a very good offensive line coach. At least that would appear to be the plan as long as the Titans can win their two very winnable games at Jacksonville (on Sunday) and at home against horrid Houston on Dec. 29.

That would leave them 7-9 on the season, or one game better than last year's finish. But to look beyond the wins and losses is to see significant improvement.

A year ago the Titans gave up 141 more points than they scored. With two games to play this season, that number has shrunk to a 29-point hole, despite quarterback Jake Locker playing even less than he did a year ago.

Much of this is no doubt due to the coaching return of Gregg Williams on the defensive side of the ball after a year's exile from the league for his considerable role in the New Orleans Saints' Bountygate. Should Smith elect to keep Munchak, it's not inconceivable that Williams could be promoted to defensive coordinator, the role he held when the Titans reached the Super Bowl following the 1999 season.

As for the Falcons, you need only the following numbers to understand what Jones's loss has meant to the Birds: With him in the lineup, Atlanta lost four games by a total of 19 points. Without him, their first four losses were by a combined 74 points.

Naturally, neither the Falcons nor the Titans would consider joining forces and moving to the Scenic City, even if the NFL would let them. With the considerable help of more than $500 million in entertainment taxes, Blank soon will begin construction on his self-absorbed palace, quite probably complete with those vibrating seats.

Within the next five or six years, the Titans no doubt will beat a similar drum for new digs in the Music City, given that the Georgia Dome is wrapping up its 22nd season and the Titans are wrapping up their 15th at LP Field. Nashville being every bit as crazy about its Titans as the Big Peach is about the Falcons, the community no doubt will fall on its knees to give its football heroes what they want.

And at least within the Music City those vibrating seats might make sense, if only for country music concerts the stadium could host and the song lyrics those seats might inspire. Something along the lines of, "You get my seat to shakin' like a Titans TD. My own Music City Miracle would be you datin' me."

Or maybe we could all wake up one day and demand that these billions of dollars be spent on something we really need, such as schools good enough to give a lot of underprivileged kids a realistic alternative for financial security beyond playing in front of those vibrating seats on Sunday afternoons.

Contact Mark Wiedmer at mwiedmer@timesfreepress.com.

about Mark Wiedmer...

Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...

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chas9 said...

Fun read, Mark. Best essay since Swift wrote A Modest Proposal.

December 18, 2013 at 6:59 p.m.
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