The Predators’ unlikely run to the Stanley Cup Finals has captured the attention of everyone in Nashville – and the Tennessee Titans are no exception.
Several Titans players, plus Coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson, have been regulars at Bridgestone Arena throughout the Preds’ postseason excursion.
Before one game in the Western Conference Finals against Anaheim, quarterback Marcus Mariota and his offensive line served as the honorary 7th man before the game, waving towels from the band stage.
That led to antics such as Taylor Lewan bringing in a huge catfish to the game and Quinton Spain taking his shirt off during the game. In Monday night’s clinching game, Lewan reprised the catfish-carrying role and even tossed the fish onto the ice during the Predators’ 6-3 victory. Spain once again was in the crowd without his shirt. Numerous Titans players – including DeMarco Murray, Delanie Walker and Brian Orakpo – have bought into supporting the local hockey team.
Players and coaches are enjoying themselves at Predators’ games and soaking in the atmosphere.
“I’m just out there with the group having a good time. We’ve bought into it,” Spain said.
As much as they have enjoyed the residual effects of the Predators’ success, the Titans would like nothing better than to see some of the enthusiasm the Preds have generated rub off on them if they could have a successful postseason run of their own this fall.
“Absolutely, we want to be successful and win a championship and get to the Super Bowl. The electricity around this town is unbelievable right now,” Lewan said. “This is hockey in the South. It is what it is. If we hold our end of the bargain and the Preds finish it off, this could be a very special sports town.”
Mularkey is hopeful that his players are paying attention to the excitement level generated by the Predators’ playoff success and that it can somehow transcend to his own team.
“I’m hoping our players can watch how these guys are playing and the results that are coming from it. Even with injured players they’re still playing at a high level,” Mularkey said. “I think it’s good for our football team to watch what’s going on with the Preds and the city. I would think if you’re not excited about what they’re doing, you’re probably in the wrong business.”