NASHVILLE – It took some time for Rodger Saffold to get his first taste of the NFL’s postseason.
Now, he wants to drink in everything that time of year has to offer.
Appearances in the Super Bowl with the L.A. Rams (2018) and in the conference championship with the Tennessee Titans (2019) merely have whet the whistle of the 31-year-old left guard (he will turn 32 next week). The only thing that will satisfy him now is the opportunity to lift the Lombardi Trophy as confetti falls from the sky – and he likes his chances to experience that moment.
“Even the day after I lost the Super Bowl, all I thought about was getting back,” Saffold said in a video conference Thursday. “People thought I was crazy for coming to the Titans but look at us now.
“So, I have nothing but confidence in my team and I can’t wait to get back in that position again.”
It took him long enough to get there the first time.
A second-round pick by the then-St. Louis Rams in 2010, his first seven seasons passed without a winning record or a playoff appearance. That finally changed in 2017, when the Rams won their division but lost on wild card weekend to the Atlanta Falcons. The Rams built from there, went 13-3 in 2018 and scored a pair of playoff victories before they fell to New England in Super Bowl LII.
Saffold joined the Titans last year as a free agent and his first season in Tennessee was something of a microcosm of all he experienced with his former franchise.
There was a rough start (two wins in the first four games). Things finally got better (Tennessee secured the final AFC playoff spot). Then a couple of playoff victories, in this case road wins over New England and Baltimore, secured a spot in the AFC Championship. The run ended with a loss to the eventual champions, the Kanas City Chiefs.
“We really had to kind of gut-wrench throughout the season to get everything back the right way,” Saffold said. “For us now, now that we know our capabilities. Having that fast start is always in the back of our minds but we’re not putting any pressure on ourselves. We know the hard work is what got us there.”
This fall the Titans will have the opportunity to build on what they accomplished, and Saffold is more than willing to do what is necessary.
“It’s huge. I think that just my passion for that is through the roof,” he said. “After going to the Super Bowl … I was really driven. My entire focus was to get back to the Super Bowl.”