“Dyson down the sideline, Dyson’s gonna go all the way!” Those words from ABC announcer Mike Patrick during the Music City Miracle on January 8, 2000 still ring in my ears to this day. A moment in Nashville sports lore that will live on until the end of time. When Titans’ WR Kevin Dyson broke loose with 13 seconds remaining in the 1999 Wild Card game to shock the Buffalo Bills, 22-16, there was little doubt this team was destined for the Super Bowl.
Yet, it did not come without controversy. Ask any Bills fan and even in 2023 they will insist the play should have been called back. The reason? Tight End Frank Wycheck’s magical jump-pass lateral that cracked the field wide open for Dyson to sail home free.
Upon initial review, the throw genuinely appeared to move forward, but a closer look told the full story. The release was true and the slightest movement in the oblong ball’s trajectory went backwards. Sorry, Buffalo, your boys in Tennessee were well on their way to being the final, distinguished AFC Champs of the millennia. While Kevin Dyson is heralded for scoring the game-winning TD, Frank Wycheck was the hero of the moment, and therefore the season.
As if Middle Tennessee had not been through enough over the weekend with devastating tornadoes, we received more painstaking news Sunday hearing of the tragic death of Frank Wycheck. At just 52, “Wycheck passed away at his Chattanooga home Saturday morning after falling and hitting his head. He was discovered unresponsive later in the day,” the Titans’ team website stated.
Wycheck leaves behind a tremendous legacy. 482 catches ranks him third in franchise history, to go along with just under 5,000 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns. However, more than just stats the three time Pro Bowler and Titans Ring-of-Famer was wildly beloved by fans. As one of the original Titans that was a part of the move from Houston, he embraced the Nashville community with open arms and that is how we will remember him most. Following his nine season stint with the Oilers/Titans (1995-2003), Wycheck joined Titans Radio Network in 2005 as a color commentator until his departure in 2017 due to lingering head issues from his NFL career.
The family announced in a statement, at Frank’s behest, they will be working with medical professionals for further research into Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), per ESPN. An autopsy in the coming weeks is likely to determine if his prior concussions factored into the fragility of his brain and skull at the time of his demise.
The Titans are expected to don a commemorative decal in remembrance of Wycheck beginning on Monday Night against the Miami Dolphins.