Titans fans are a prideful bunch. Small, but prideful. Recent comments from former Titans tight end Delanie Walker created a stir on Titans Twitter earlier this week. Walker claimed that playing in Tennessee hurts his legacy because the fan base is small and “not as great” as a fan base like Atlanta, where Julio Jones spent most of his career and still gets plenty of love.
In a sense, Walker is correct. Nashville has become a very popular city in the United States over the past decade, and that boom hasn’t correlated to a fast-growing Titans fan base. Instead, it’s meant a higher proportion of opposing fans invading the stadium on Sundays after exploring the city on Saturdays. Several variables can explain away the disconnect, and as the franchise continues its trajectory upward, fans will continue to take note, but the current prideful base can certainly speed up the process.
I’m guilty of flaunting my fandom on social media. I run fansite, for goodness sake. The pride of being a long-time fan runs deep, but comparing our deep roots fandom to other newer fans doesn’t always present the welcoming tone needed to attract people to engage with us and learn more about why being a Titans fan is so awesome.
Instead, we need to be recruiting new fans. We need to invite people to games. Include people in discussions about the team and the history of the team. It only takes a tweet or two to engage people in fandom. Every now and then I like to go on Twitter and literally go recruiting.
— Two Tone Fanatics (@twotonefanatics) March 5, 2021
There’s a lot of work that can be done by us to ensure that our base continues to grow. Relatively speaking, our history in Nashville is still new. We’re currently the NFL’s second newest city. The only city newer to the NFL is Las Vegas, and they have an advantage in attracting new fans for obvious reasons.
The Titans cashed in on their move into Nissan Stadium in 1999 with a magical Super Bowl run. That run bought some time with the new fanbase and created a lot of lifelong believers, but in the early 2010’s that belief faded for others. The lack of leadership from the top of the franchise did more damage than they could comprehend at the time.
But we’re in a different time now.
The Titans are heading into a season where they have an opportunity to record their seventh winning season in a row. Something only done one other time in franchise history. The lost generation of fans from the early 2010’s can still be won over, but they have to understand that this is no longer the ‘same old Titans’. Well, it may be, but not the Titans of the second decade of the Millenium, it’s the Titans of the first, and they may be even better. They’re the Titans of Super Bowl runs and regular playoff appearances. The Titans of exciting plays and star players. These Titans are fun And it’s our job to tell them that.
Not only is the on-field product better, but the organization is well-run again. The head coach has status, the general manager is competent, and the owner is doing anything and everything she can to win. They care again, and the product on the field is showing it.
So I challenge us all to be welcoming to new fans this year, even ones that are only along for the ride a little while. Even the ones that are only Derrick Henry fans or AJ Brown Fans. You never know. They could stay longer than you think. Put your pride aside and welcome people who may not have as much knowledge as you. Teach them instead of shame them. Let’s use the momentum that has been built in the last several years and capitalize on this opportunity. Let’s make the Titans fan base one to be reckoned with.