Titans don glasses, blast music as Tennessee bonds during Monday's eclipse

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Dozens of Tennessee Titans players, including receiver Eric Decker, running back Derrick Henry and cornerback Adoree' Jackson, laid on the field as Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" blasted through the speakers, staring up at the sky with a pair of glasses on like they were on a beach vacation.

Weeks of hype led up to the Titans viewing the solar eclipse following practice, with songs like "Dancing in the Dark" by Springsteen and "Sunglasses at Night" by Corey Hart during the viewing.

According to the players and coaches involved, it more than lived up to expectations.

"It was one of those moments where everybody can forget the problems that they have going on, come together and have fun," Jackson said. "That's once-in-a-lifetime. It was special."

Position groups had fun, bonding with jokes and selfies as they watched a moment that hadn't happened since 1979 occur right above them. It was another step toward the "team unity" head coach Mike Mularkey has preached in recent weeks. No other NFL team had a Monday practice like the Titans.

"It's a part of building this team, building that chemistry to go through moments like this and build that camaraderie off the field," receiver Tajae Sharpe said. "It's going to help us for sure."

Safety Kevin Byard called it one of the top 10 moments in his life. The linebackers took group photos during the viewing party. General manager Jon Robinson and Mularkey were amazed looking back at the eclipse from both sides.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota peeked at the sun with his glasses every few seconds without keeping them on. He was careful to stay composed while still joking with the Titans' other quarterbacks.

"That was dope," linebacker Jayon Brown said. "I was trying so hard not to look at the sun. It was crazy. It felt like a cloud was over the sun the whole day. It was dark. It was a great experience though. That was timeless and priceless."

Left tackle Taylor Lewan, tight end Delanie Walker, receiver Rishard Matthews and several offensive linemen made a beeline to the sidelines during a practice break to grab a pair of glasses.

The moment was met with universal awe.

Nashville was the largest city in the solar eclipse's totality path. The sun was completely blocked for just over two minutes. Darkness took over the sky and the temperature dropped.

"It was like dawn almost, it was a little eerie with the weather," Mularkey said.

Mularkey scheduled practice around the eclipse so that the team could be on the field to view it together. He smiled throughout the viewing and said it was "even better than expected."

Players were itching to get to the end-of-practice reward, but some were also careful about the risks of looking at the sun during the partial eclipse. Mularkey had one rule: don't take your glasses off. The punishment for disobeying instructions was "a burned retina."

What about during practice, when the partial eclipse had begun and there were no glasses to wear? The Titans had a productive practice full of touchdowns and interceptions, but it was nothing like a regular Monday.

"Of course, we were thinking about it. I was thinking if they throw a deep ball, I'm not trying to look back at the sun," Jackson said. "But I'm good, I got hawk eyes."