Titans’ Marcus Mariota: ‘Dream of mine’ to play on ‘Monday Night Football’ – The Tennessean
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has missed one game with a hamstring injury but thinks he may play against the Colts on Monday night.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey, a tight end for the Vikings and Steelers from 1983-91, said the week’s marquee game remains the same spectacle it was during his playing days.
“I think so. I do,” Mularkey said. “I know it is for players. (I’ve) been in a lot of these games, coaching and playing, and yeah, I think it is. It’s a fun atmosphere, really fun atmosphere.”
“Monday Night Football” aired on ABC from its inception in 1970 through 2005, when it switched to ESPN.
Several Titans shared their thoughts about playing in primetime and their experiences with one of the longest-running primetime shows in television history.
The Titans have lost 11 consecutive games to the Colts, the NFL’s longest active losing streak by one team against a single opponent.
THE QUARTERBACK: Marcus Mariota
Marcus Mariota hopes he’s able to return from a strained hamstring that caused him to miss last weekend’s loss to the Dolphins. His only two previous primetime appearances in the NFL have been Thursday night games against the Jaguars.
“Growing up, it was a dream of mine to play on Monday night, and hopefully I get that opportunity and go out there and try to make the most of it,” Mariota said.
Because of the difference in time zones, Mariota had a bit of a different experience than his teammates, watching the game as a kid in Hawaii.
“It was like 2:30 in the afternoon (in Hawaii), right when school was done we get to catch the games,” Mariota said. “What they did was they would replay it at night at 7:30 or something like that. Most people didn’t actually catch the live game; they would catch the replay at 7:30.”
Didn’t fans already know the score?
“You kind of knew … the score,” Mariota said. “You just watched the plays and watched the highlights.”
THE ROOKIE: Taywan Taylor
Titans rookie wide receiver Taywan Taylor, a third-round draft pick out of Western Kentucky, recalled being glued to his TV on Monday nights during high school.
“Heck, I might miss school some Tuesdays because I was staying up all night long,” Taylor said, “just picturing myself out there one day. It’s definitely a great opportunity, and I’m definitely fortunate to be in this position to be able to play with these guys, all these great players in the locker room.”
Wait … he missed school? For real?
“Yeah. I actually did. Like for real,” Taylor said. “’Monday Night Football!’ I want to say there were a few instances actually, but a couple of them, they were unattended, so my mom didn’t know. So I kind of did my own thing, and maneuvered around, not going to school. She didn’t know. She didn’t even know I was at home. She just went to work, because I knew what time she was leaving. So I’d go behind the gate, wait till she leaves, and go back in the house and go back to bed.
“One time I remember I got caught because I went back to bed. She came in my room – oh my God – she was so livid. I’ll never forget that moment. I think that pretty much sums it up, how football has always been in my life.”
THE VETERAN: Brian Orakpo
Four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo, in his ninth season in the NFL, doesn’t think much about playing on Monday night.
“It means nothing to me. I’m over it,” Orakpo said. “I just want to win. I couldn’t care less about Monday. If we played at 12, if we played on Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday, I don’t care. I’m done with it. I’m not a young guy that never played on Monday night before. Playing in front of your fans and the nation – I don’t care. I just want to win the game.
But what does he tell the young guys?
“Oh, it’s a tremendous experience,” Orakpo said. “Enjoy it, because you’re the only game on. Everybody around the nation is watching you and you get to kind of showcase your talent and try to hopefully become a household name with your presence out there on the field. So embrace it, because you don’t get too many of them if you don’t take care of your business as a team in general.”
Can the Titans end their 11-game losing streak to the Colts?
“We can definitely do it,” Orakpo said. “We have our chance to go out there and play our style of football. This is a completely different team. Forget the record. Everybody knows what we bring to the table.”
Reach Jason Wolf at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JasonWolf and on Instagram and Snapchat at TitansBeat.
COLTS (2-3) vs. TITANS (2-3)
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
TV/radio: WKRN-2, ESPN / 104.5-FM