The Tennessee Titans are on Sunday Night Football, for the first time since 2009, and if they win they’re in the playoffs. ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported early Sunday morning that QB Marcus Mariota is not expected to play in the biggest game of the season.

But why?

I think Mariota is being influenced by a number of people he surrounds himself with. It’s up to Marcus whether he plays or not. Mariota needs to flashback and look at how great players rose above adversity. Jordan played with the flu. Willis Reed came back out for the Knicks. Ronnie Lott played without a finger. Curt Shilling with a bloody ankle. The list goes on. The saying goes that ‘Big time players, play in big time games’. Marcus Mariota needs to quarterback the Titans against the Colts to decide the teams playoff fate.

Mariota is competitive and driven by winning, but I think that he’s being influenced by two people. His doctor and his agent.

First off, Mort needs to spell Marcus correctly, but the people that I’ve talked to have told me that the reason he is not playing is because it could put his career in jeopardy.

Set the athlete theory aside and look at the situation like a business man. Marcus Mariota is due $20.9 million next season since Tennessee picked up the club option for 2019. The franchise’s hand was forced to pick it up because it doesn’t have a better option. The upcoming quarterback draft class is one of the worst in years, and let’s face it, the franchise is still in ‘wait and find out’ mode with Mariota.

Regardless of injury concerns, Marcus is trending to be the QB in 2019. He’s done something that Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Jameis Winston (who the Bucs just picked up his 2019 option) and Dak Prescott have yet to do and that’s win a playoff game. He’s better than Vince Young and better than Jake Locker. He’s all the Titans have right now.

The business decision says to live to see another day and not play.

This gets me to my opinion on why Marcus should set business aside and not be ‘More Than An Athlete’ but be just ‘An Athlete’.

I saw him throw on Thursday. I took video of every single, solitary throw that he made at the open period of practice. He has the ability to play. See for yourself.

There is no doubt in my mind that the late Steve McNair plays if given the opportunity, regardless of the repercussions. Mariota needs to embrace his inner Steve McNair and try to get his team to the playoffs. Go against the grain and take a risk. Most of the time risk, reaps the most reward. Sports is about sacrifice and there are times that one sacrifices more than others and those are the individuals that usually come out on top.

If Marcus Mariota is truly a franchise quarterback he should go above his doctors, agent, the head coach Mike Vrabel, the general manager Jon Robinson, the President Steve Underwood and tell the owner of the team Amy Adams Strunk…

“I’m playing”

Featured image – Christopher Hanewinckel of USA TODAY Sports
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