ATLANTA—Oddsmakers think the Tennessee Titans have a better chance of making it to Super Bowl XXXV than the Dolphins.
In odds released over the weekend by Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the Titans are listed at 15-to-1 to return to the Super Bowl next season. The Dolphins are tied with New England and Kansas City at 30-1.
St. Louis Rams are the favorite at 5-2, followed by Jacksonville (9-2), Minnesota (10-1) and Indianapolis (12-1).
Fourteen teams are given better odds of reaching Super Bowl XXXV than the Dolphins, including the New York Jets (15-1) and Buffalo (15-1).
Thigpen sits it out
Tennessee wide receiver Yancey Thigpens aspirations of playing in Super Bowl XXXIV were dashed before Sundays kickoff at the Georgia Dome when he was declared inactive.
Thigpen suffered a hairline fracture in his right foot in the Jan. 23 AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville and didnt practice all week, but was fitted with a special shoe in hopes he could contribute in the game. Thigpen, who tried to run three hours before kickoff, was replaced by Isaac Byrd.
Other game-day inactives for Tennessee were running back Spencer George and defensive end Mike Frederick.
Canes wanted McNair as CB
Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair said last week the University of Miami was one of the universities that recruited him heavily as a cornerback.
When he didnt receive a scholarship offer as a quarterback from a Division I college, McNair went to Division I-AA Alcorn State and passed for 14,496 yards and 119 touchdowns.
Since I was a little kid I wanted to play quarterback, McNair said. I was determined not to let anyone change that.
Payton touched Fisher
Titans coach Jeff Fisher is happy the late Walter Payton was honored at halftime of Super Bowl XXXIV. Payton the Hall of Fame running back who died in early November of complications stemming from liver cancer was a teammate of Fishers with the Chicago Bears from 1981-85.
I have a [Super Bowl] ring from the 85 season, but the thing I cherish most from my years with the Bears is not necessarily that ring, Fisher said. It is the fact I was able to be Walters teammate and friend.
I was touched as the sports world was touched over the loss of Walter. I had a hard time that week and really was distracted because of that. Everybody that knew Walter went back and started remembering how Walter had touched their lives. Certainly, he touched mine.
Free agents a concern
Playing so deep in the season doesnt give Tennessee much time to negotiate with its potential free agents before the signing period begins Feb. 11.
The Titans have four key players set to become unrestricted free agents: Right tackle Jon Runyan, linebacker Joe Bowden, free safety Marcus Robertson and his backup, Dorsett. Of those four, Runyan (6-7, 320 pounds) is expected to draw the most interest.