The countdown to kickoff continues.
The Tennessee Titans will open the 2020 regular season Sept. 14 at Denver. That is 14 days away. So, today we look at one way the number 14 figures into the team’s recent history.
When the Houston Oilers relocated to Tennessee in 1997, they brought a living legend with them.
Offensive lineman Bruce Matthews was already 14 years into a record-setting NFL career and a new fan base got to see him at his best – or close to it. Matthews made 14 Pro Bowl appearances during his career, the last five while playing in Tennessee, two with the Tennessee Oilers (1997-98) and three with the Tennessee Titans (1999-01).
At the time, Matthews was one of just two players in NFL history with 14 Pro Bowl appearances. Rams defensive lineman Merlin Olsen was the other. Since then, quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and tight end Tony Gonzalez have equaled that mark, Gonzalez is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brady and Manning are shoo-ins to be there eventually.
Matthews’ 14 Pro Bowl selections came in consecutive seasons, beginning with the sixth of his 19 seasons in the league. He was chosen nine times as a guard (left guard six times, right guard three times) and five times as a center. At some point during his career he was a starter at each of the five positions along the offensive line.
In addition to the Pro Bowl selections, he was named a first-team All-Pro nine times and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s as a guard.
Matthews was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year on the ballot.