Who Are The Tennessee Titans' Biggest Rivals?
The Tennessee Titans are a National Football League (NFL) franchise that has been around since 1960. They were originally known as the Houston Oilers from 1960-1997 before moving to Tennessee, where they were the Tennessee Oilers for two seasons before changing their name to the Titans in 1999. With all of this moving around, one of the things that is unique about the Titans is their main rivals. Normally, a team’s biggest historical rivals are the teams in its division. With the Titans, however, their division (AFC South) is so young that that is not the case. The remainder of this piece will discuss those matchups in greater detail.
Although they currently play in the AFC North as opposed to the Titans’ AFC South, the Pittsburgh Steelers are a main rival for the Titans. The two teams met twice a year every year from 1970-2001, as well as in four postseason matchups, so they have a lot of history with each other. Overall, in 80 matchups, the Steelers hold the edge in the series with 48 wins against 32 wins for the Titans’ franchise. The then-Oilers dug themselves an early hole in the overall series, losing 11 of the first 14 meetings, and the Steelers have had the edge ever since.
The best stretch for the Titans in their matchups with Pittsburgh was from 1997-2000, when they beat the Steelers seven times in a row. Finally, the two franchises have met in the postseason four times, with the Steelers winning three of the games. Pittsburgh defeated the Oilers in back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 1979 (34-5) and 1980 (27-13). They also beat the Oilers in the 1989 Wild Card Round by a score of 26-23. The lone matchup between the Titans and Steelers in the second round of the playoffs was won by Tennessee in the 2003 Divisional Round, winning by a field goal 34-31. We shall see if the Titans and Steelers have any more memorable matchups in the near future.
The next rival for the Titans’ franchise is another current AFC North foe, the Cincinnati Bengals. Their first meeting was in 1968, and as was the case with Pittsburgh, the two teams met twice a year every year from 1970-2001. In a combined 78 regular-season and postseason meetings, the Oilers/Titans hold the edge with 40 wins against 37 for the Bengals, and one tie in 1969. The edge for Tennessee comes from a pair of seven-game winning streaks they had in the series history, one from 1991-1994 and one from 1998-2001.
Of late, however, the Bengals have been closing ground fast, winning seven of the last nine games between the two since 2005. One of those meetings was the most recent playoff matchup between the two in the 2022 Divisional Round, which the Bengals won on the road in an upset over Tennessee 19-16. The other playoff meeting between the two franchises came between the Houston Oilers and the Bengals in the 1991 Wild Card Round. The Bengals won that contest in a rout by the score of 41-14.
The final rival on this list for the Titans’ is a unique one, the Baltimore Ravens. Although the Ravens are also an AFC North rival, they have only been around since 1996, so Tennessee and Baltimore do not have a long regular-season history. Despite only meeting 21 times in the regular season, the two have played in the playoffs five times, the most common playoff opponent in the 73-year history of the Titans franchise. Overall, in the combined 26 meetings, each team has won 13 times. The Titans hold the edge in the regular season with 11 wins against 10 for Baltimore, while the Ravens have won three of the five postseason meetings.
The longest winning streak in the series was when Baltimore won five meetings in a row from 2000-2002. As for the five playoff meetings, the first was in the 2001 Divisional Round, won by Baltimore 24-10. Three years later, the Titans got their revenge with a 20-17 win in the 2004 Wild Card Round. The third postseason meeting was in the 2009 Divisional Round, and Baltimore was the better team on that day, winning a defensive battle 13-10. The final two playoff meetings came in back-to-back years in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, the Titans won in the divisional round 28-12 before Baltimore avenged that loss the following year in the Wild Card Round 20-13. We shall see if these two franchises have any more memorable postseason matchups in the years to come.
Who is the biggest rival of the Tennessee Titans?
The biggest rival over the years for the Titans has to be the Pittsburgh Steelers, although it is challenging to select one central rival for the Titans. The Steelers are the Titans’ most common opponent over the years with 80 matchups between the two, including four postseason meetings. Pittsburgh holds the edge in the series with 48 wins to 32 wins for the Titans franchise.