New Titans president Burke Nihill: Business side need to know 'football is the singular priority'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – New Titans president and CEO Burke Nihill said he didn’t think he was being groomed for the job and was surprised when he got the call from Amy Adams Strunk asking him to replace the retiring Steve Underwood in the role.

In an interview with 3HL on 104.5 The Zone, Nihill said his background as an outsider helped make him appealing in 2016 when he applied for the Titans general counsel job.Nihill

“I submitted an application,” he said. “I don’t mean to oversimplify it, but that’s how the ball got rolling. I think it’s to Amy's credit that she was looking to take opportunities to bring in some voices from the outside and to get some fresh perspective on some things. [Unlocked.]

“I know for my first job here when the posting was out there were plenty of attorneys that had worked for NFL franchises or otherwise in sports that had applied for the position. And I think that in a strange way, the fact that I had worked in Silicon Valley and had this different perspective was something that ended up being attractive to the Titans.”

He had the specific legal experience the team sought and said he thinks the fresh perspective was key. Culture fit is important to the team, and he said he felt a connection with people including Underwood, senior VP and CFO Jenneen Kaufman and VP of facilities and game day operations Bob Flynn.

“They are amazing people,” he said. “They are really talented, they are smart, they are good at what they do. There is a humility and a quality about the people that work here and I was honored to be asked to join a family at the time and I am exceptionally honored now to be in the new role.”

We don’t yet know how out front Nihill will be, or where his focus will be, though it seems safe to presume the guy who planned the new building going up at the team’s headquarters will be a primary figure in the team’s deal to retrofit/ update Nissan Stadium.

Amy Adams Strunk has said she will not seek a new stadium but it is close to due for a major overhaul.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

Underwood was often seen on game days helping get people into a venue where long lines have been an issue. The way Nihill spoke of his former boss it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him follow such a lead.

Over the last five years he saw Underwood as a key help for the team in its return to winning ways.

“Steve is really too good to be true as a leader,” Nihill said. "He has been incredibly generous to me, to all the employees… he has spent probably more time than he should investing in next generation of leadership with the Titans.

“I would say in terms of lessons learned, there is just no doubt with Steve that the Titans are football first. On the business side of the organization that doesn’t mean we get involved in the day to day of a football practice or picking players or that sort of thing. We don’t. There needs to be no doubt in our business that football is the singular priority and anything we can be doing to support the football team, to help them win games, that has to be our attitude."

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