Just made it up to the press box at LP Field after a 2½-hour pregame show on the field. The temperature has dropped dramatically since we first arrived this morning around 11 a.m. local time. It feels like it’s about 15 degrees cooler. I was told that it was 58 degrees when we arrived and that it might get down to about 32 degrees by the end of the game.
It rained pretty heavily this morning, off and on, but the tarp was on the entire time, so the field is actually in pretty good shape. In fact, I was told that it was recently resodded for the Music City Bowl, so it’s in particularly good shape for this point of the season.
Capping off the weather report, there was some talk of snow flurries, but I was told by the grounds-crew people — who have to pay close attention to those kinds of reports — that any snow that fell wouldn’t fall until after the game.
The wind has picked up in the last hour or so — so much so that the kickers were having trouble kicking into the north end zone during pre-game warmups.
A few more pre-game observations…
- Martina McBride sounded really good singing the National Anthem. And there’s reason to believe that she might provide the Titans some good luck. She told us after her rehearsal earlier that home teams were 26-4 in games where she has done the anthem.
- Ravens TE Todd Heap tells me his back pain was a lot worse last week, but that it’s still pretty bad. He has constant back spasms and expects to be in pain while playing.
- Injured Titans C Kevin Mawae isn’t playing in this game. He’s out with an injury to his snapping elbow, but that didn’t keep him from working out before the game. He didn’t do any football drills, but he was out in the stands, running stairs — even after the fans were allowed into the stadium. Can you imagine being a Titans fan sitting in your seat, getting ready to cheer on your team, and all of a sudden, your team’s seven-time Pro Bowl center runs by you in sweats? (We must have caught him doing this at the tail end of his workout, by the way, because he was pretty winded and clasped his hands over his head in between each set of stairs.)
- Titans DE Dave Ball also is out today with an injury. He was funny to watch during warm-ups. Since he didn’t need to worry about getting ready for the game, he took the opportunity to document everything on video. He had the camera rolling as he ran out of the tunnel. He shot footage of the defensive linemen doing warm-up drills. He shot footage of the Ravens running onto the field. And, from where I sat, it looked like he was getting some pretty good footage. He was changing his angles — crouching down on the ground for some good low-angle footage. He held the camera up over the huddle, angled down to get the best shot. At one point, he even got behind an NFL Films camera crew and shot them shooting the Titans. Very artistic. Maybe there’s a second career in this for him.
That’s all for now. I’ll write more later with Trent Green‘s game observations. (He’s sitting next to me. I asked him if he had any observations yet. He said, “Tennessee’s up 7-0.” We’ll work on getting something more substantive from him in a bit. Joking.)
For the record, Green thinks Tennessee is going to win. We didn’t have a chance to get his prediction in the pre-game show, but I’ll vouch for the fact that he was going to pick the Titans in a low-scoring affair, 16-10.
– Lindsay Soto is reporting from Nashville, Tenn.