ESPN looks back for Tennessee Titans
You know the narrative for the big Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers matchup this weekend right?
No, not the one about Ken Whisenhunt playing against the team that fired him for being a lackluster head coach.
No, not the fact that this could be the first time in half a decade that the Titans have a winning record through nine games in a season.
No, it isn’t even the fourth career matchup between rookie sensations Jack Conklin and Joey Bosa.
It is the fact that Philip Rivers and Marcus Mariota were both almost on the other sideline for this matchup.
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That’s right, for those that didn’t follow the draft or trade rumors closely that year, it was a widely spread rumor that the San Diego Chargers were willing to make a trade for Marcus Mariota that included Philip Rivers and some change.
While nothing was every really substantiated in those rumors, the zenith of sources Adam Schefter and another great reporter in his own right, Chris Mortensen put up a post today about this exact situation.
The trade made so much sense too, especially geographically. Marcus Mariota gets to be as close to his family as he possibly can while playing in the NFL in San Diego. Philip Rivers gets to be as close to his home as possible by joining the Titans in Nashville.
Ken Whisenhunt would have had his QB and more long term security based off of that connection, so he would likely still be the coach. Guys like Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker may have had even better years last year. It is a shame because it would have worked out for everyone. Or not…
Thank goodness the Spanos family refused to pull the trigger, or as Mort phrases it:
“The Spanos family that owns and operates the Chargers ultimately wanted Rivers to remain the cornerstone of their franchise, especially as they navigate the rough waters of funding a new stadium or possible relocation. Mariota did have high draft grades, but rookie struggles often come with a price — just ask Whisenhunt.”
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Because this would have quickly turned into a nightmare for the future of Tennessee. While the Titans likely would have ranged from mediocre to above average until Rivers retired based on his supporting cast pre-Jon Robinson, it would have been rough on Marcus Mariota.
Mariota would have had to deal with a pretty depleted group of skill players in his first two years in addition to a banged up offensive line. The only difference is that now he has to go against the defenses of the Denver Broncos, Kansas Chiefs and Oakland Raiders twice a year.
That is not a great start to your career. On top of that, you never want to be “the guy after the guy” meaning, you don’t want to have to follow Rivers who is going to end up in the Chargers Hall of Fame no questions asked.
So, you see a guy getting booed for his first time, in that division, with that supporting cast, and you leave the Titans three or four years away from starting all over again at the QB position.
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Thanks, but no thanks from all parties involved and you have to be glad to see the results for both teams. Mariota isn’t faced with the blame of a franchise leaving a city, but instead gives the Titans a key cornerstone to their future.
On the other side, Philip Rivers may get to break Chargers records and be the last quarterback of the “San Diego” Chargers, which is fitting for a man who has done so much for that team and that city.