Remembering Super Bowl XXXIV
As we approach Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, my thoughts go back to my only Super Bowl appearance, Super Bowl XXXIV. What could only be described as the best month in my sports life ended 1 yard short of possibly making me a Super Bowl hero.
The Music City Miracle against Buffalo was a huge confidence builder as we continued in the playoffs. Beating the Colts on the road as Peyton Manning began to excel. Then a come from behind victory on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that ended up losing three games all year. All three losses were to the Titans. We had a team meeting with the NFL representatives before the AFC Championship game. We were told that if we won we would meet again as soon as we returned from the game. I had never wanted a meeting to occur more in my life.
Then came Super Bowl week. I had played 16 years and never sniffed the Super Bowl so I was going to enjoy every second in Atlanta.
Getting hotel and ticket requests taken care of was hectic but well worth it. We arrived in Atlanta the next day. The week went by rather quickly with Media Day, practice and the families arriving on Thursday. The night before the game I actually slept very well. The atmosphere in the Georgia Dome was unbelievable. When they did the player introductions the hair on my arms was standing straight up. Faith Hill sang the National Anthem and it was beautiful.
We were completely outplayed in the first half but only trailed 16-0. In typical Titan fashion, we fought our way back and tied the game at 16 with a 43 yard field goal with a little over two minutes to go. It was the biggest kick of my career.
Kurt Warner (starting QB for the Cardinals this year) put the Rams ahead two plays later with a 76-yard touchdown pass. Steve McNair made play after play as we tried to tie the game again. On the last play of the game Kevin Dyson got tackled on the 1 yard line on a great tackle by Mike Jones. The game ended, and the disappointment hit.
It was about two months later that I realized, had Kevin scored and we tied the game, more than likely for the Titans to win, I would have had a chance to kick the game winning field goal.
Even though we lost, I still cherish every moment of my week. I hope all the first-time players cherish their experience as much as me.