For most of the NFL, it’s a case of ‘any given Sunday.’
For the Tennessee Titans, it’s ‘one of these years.’
In a league well known for a degree of parity that produces weekly surprises and remarkable turnarounds from one season to the next, the Titans have become all too predictable. Sunday’s 37-34 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals ensured that they would go a fifth straight season without a playoff appearance, which puts them in some rather dubious company.
Tennessee is one of eight of NFL teams that have failed to earn at least one postseason berth since 2008. That group includes such downtrodden organizations as the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams.
Two of those eight, Carolina and Miami, currently are in position to make the playoff field this season.
NFL PLAYOFF APPEARANCES, 2009-2012
New England (four division titles)
Baltimore (two division titles, two wild cards)
Green Bay (two division titles, two wild cards)
Atlanta (two division titles, one wild card)
Indianapolis (two division titles, one wild card)
New Orleans (two division titles, one wild card)
Cincinnati (one division title, two wild cards)
Denver (two division titles)
Houston (two division titles)
San Francisco (two division titles)
Minnesota (one division title, one wild card)
Philadelphia (one division title, one wild card)
Pittsburgh (one division title, one wild card)
Seattle (one division title, one wild card)
N.Y. Jets (two wild cards)
Arizona (one division title)
Chicago (one division title)
Dallas (one division title)
Kansas City (one division title)
N.Y. Giants (one division title)
San Diego (one division title)
Washington (one division title)
Detroit (one wild card)
Before this one, which matches the franchise’s longest playoff drought of the last 25 years (1994-98), the Titans era did not go more than three years (2004-06) without earning a spot among the AFC’s top six teams.
“People would think that we’ve stopped playing,” wide receiver Kendall Wright said. “We’re playing for much more than people think.
“… People think that with our record like it is, everybody is just going to come out here and lollygag, and just go through the motions. We’re not about that. We just want to keep fighting hard, all the way to the end.”
Now it’s official. That end will come in two weeks with the conclusion of the regular season. Again.