NASHVILLE — When coach Mike Vrabel received a contract extension in February from the Tennessee Titans, no one batted an eye. The decision was an obvious one despite Vrabel’s team falling at home in the Divisional Round as the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.
It was shocking that Tennessee even made it to that point.
Heading into his fifth season at the helm of the Titans, Vrabel has yet to win the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl (as a coach). That is the ultimately how his tenure in Tennessee will be judged, however long it lasts. The NFL’s reigning Coach of the Year has obviously elevated the Titans franchise far above and beyond expectations since his arrival, and is the biggest reason that his team cannot be underestimated.
Leave the mini Bill Belichick talk at home, though.
Vrabel wins at a clip unlike few before him in franchise history
Vrabel is the 19th head coach in the history of the Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans franchise dating back to 1960.
He has served his team well while in Nashville.
“Mike Vrabel is getting into the Mike Tomlin category of ‘You Might Just Have To Believe In This Guy,'” NFL analyst Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus told me on 104.5 The Zone this week. “No matter what the roster looks like, no matter what the outlook is, if they lost more players than they added, whatever. You look at him in four years as head coach. 9-7, 9-7, an 11-win season and then a 12-win season last year to be the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.”
Vrabel has built up quite the resumé.
With an overall record of 44-27 (regular season and playoffs) since taking over as coach in Tennessee, Vrabel tied Jack Pardee for the most total wins by a head coach in his first four seasons with the club. Vrabel’s career winning percentage of .629 highest of any Oilers / Titans coach who has come before him through four seasons.
2022 will be a fascinating year to see how Tennessee looks to exceed what they have accomplished recently. What we have learned about the Titans under Vrabel: underestimate them at your own peril.
Featured Image: USA TODAY Sports.