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Chitwood & Hobbs

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Dilfer’s Playbook

In the late 1990’s and early 2000 the Tennessee Titans, not the Pittsburgh Steelers, were the Baltimore Raven’s bitter rivals. This was at a time before the divisions realigned and there was an AFC Central. These two teams played twice a year at a minimum and shared equal disdain for each other.

In 1999 the Titans opened up a brand new stadium, Adelphia Coliseum, with 13 straight wins. They were the best team in the AFC and invincible at home. At least they were until the Ravens came to town and squeaked out a 24-23 upset win. But that’s not the most interesting part of this meeting. After the game Trent Dilfer returned to the locker room and he couldn’t find his playbook. He searched the facility but was unable to find it. The Ravens had to leave the complex without recovering the “lost” playbook.

It’s considered “lost” because Trent Dilfer is convinced that the Titans stole it. He swears by it. To support this theory Dilfer points to two months later when the Ravens returned to Aelphia Coliseum for a playoff grudge match.

"They knew what we we’re going to do going into that game. They had us and nobody’s ever heard this story before. And they played us completely different. We we’re shell shocked. I think that’s the hardest I’ve ever been hit. Over and over and over. I just took a beating that game. I remember sitting on the sidelines that game and going ‘Wow, we better win the whole thing if I’m going to take this kind of beating.’"

The Ravens offense was even more pathetic than usual. Baltimore only mustered six first downs and Dilfer completed five passes the entire game. Stealing a playbook is a serious accusation. I don’t pretend to know what really happened that day but it’s certainly an interesting story.

By they way, how great was Trent Dilfer in the late Monday Night Football game? He’s one of the best analysts there are. I wish he was a Monday night regular.

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