20 years ago today, the Tennessee Oilers broke the bank for Yancey Thigpen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Pittsburgh Steelers had embarrassed the Tennessee Oilers just 55 days earlier.

Thigpen2The home team had won at the Liberty Bowl, 16-6 to go 8-8. But fans in black and gold filled the place.

Attendance was 50-677 that on Dec. 21, 1997 – nearly 20,000 more than the second-biggest crowd the team had drawn in a misguided commuter year.

It was the game that prompted Bud Adams to admit a second season as a Memphis tenant was untenable.

As the franchise looked forward, on the second day of free agency it made a big move at its weakest spot, signing receiver Yancey Thigpen away from the Steelers.

Twenty years ago today they gave Thigpen a five-year, $21.5 million deal with a $5.5 million signing bonus.

Steve McNair turned 25 that day.

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