Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is usually a stoic man who doesn’t like to show his emotions, especially in media availabilities.
However, that changed after getting a question from the Tennessean’s sports columnist Gentry Estes on Tuesday ahead of the team’s final game of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Estes brought up Vrabel wanting to win on Sunday with a team that is 5-11 following the Titan’s latest loss to the Houston Texans – a 26-3 blowout on the road. He was curious about Vrabel’s reasons, despite no playoff berth in sight, and the veteran head coach gave a stern response.
“Because it sucks to lose, Gentry,” Vrabel said sternly.
Estes went to move on with another question, but Vrabel wasn’t done.
“It f—ing sucks losing. Awful,” he said. “That’s why I want to win. Because you don’t sleep. You want to win for the players who bust their tail. That’s it. It’s not about, ‘Hey, we’re going to the offseason on a good note.’ Nobody knows what you did on Jan. 7, or 8, or 6 in April when we come back.
“But you want to see just it all come together and just put four quarters together.”
Vrabel started to settle down a bit as he continued explaining why he wanted his Titans to end the season with a victory, adding an apology for cursing.
He simply wants to see competitive football played, which wasn’t found in Week 17, as he pointed out. The Texans got ahead early due to solid play by their offense under rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, and Tennessee’s own rookie, Will Levis, struggled.
Houston ran up the score, which included a strip sack fumble taken to the house for six points, and Tennessee couldn’t recover.
The Titans own a minus-70 point differential on the season, which is the worst in the AFC South.
“You just put yourself in a competitive situation, come up with a way to make a play in a second half to win the game. That’s what I hope for,” Vrabel said.
“Tanking” has been a term thrown around in sports for years now, which is a theory saying teams purposefully lose games to increase their chances at a higher draft pick, thinking about the future of the franchise while sacrificing the present.
But any coach or player around any league in professional sports will tell you they don’t want to take part in tanking because it’s accepting losing, which isn’t on the agenda ever.
Vrabel’s Titans certainly won’t have that mindset on Sunday, where they could play spoiler for the Jaguars, who need a victory to win the AFC South over the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.
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