NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Frank Wycheck, the three-time Pro Bowler who led the Tennessee Titans to the franchise's only Super Bowl appearance by throwing the lateral that started the "Music City Miracle," has died. He was 52 years old.
Wychek died Saturday morning at his Chattanooga home after a fall, where he hit his head, according to a statement from his family released through the Legacy Consulting firm. Wychek was found Saturday afternoon, his family said Sunday "with great sadness."
"The Wychek family appreciates the outpouring of love and support they have received, but ask the public to please respect their privacy during this difficult time," the family said in a statement.
Wycheck retired after his 11th NFL season. He suffered injuries twice in the span of a month in 2003, missed six games, then ended the season with an AFC divisional loss at New England. Despite still being under contract and wanting a Super Bowl ring, he decided to retire.
"Physical things you can't hide from," Wychek told the Associated Press in 2014, "If you have long-term effects and go back into sports, based on all the research and studies I've done on this... it could prove fatal."
The "Music City Miracle" came with 16 seconds remaining in the AFC wild-card game on January 8, 2000. td return When the league celebrated its first 100 years in 2019, it ranked fourth on the NFL's greatest plays.
Lorenzo Neal caught a kickoff and passed it to Wycheck, and he threw the ball across the field to Kevin Dyson, who covered 75 yards. winning touchdown In the last seconds of A Great 22-16 comeback Victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo fans still insist that the throw was a forward pass. Wycheck told the Associated Press in 2019 that he never doubted that his pass was a lateral.
“Just flick it back,” Wycheck said. “That's the way I jumped and threw it. And then I fell backwards, and it was like a hallucination.”
Tennessee then won on the road in Indianapolis and defeated the Jaguars in Jacksonville in the AFC Championship Game. The Titans lost in the final game of Super Bowl 34 to the then-St. Louis Rhames in Atlanta.
Wycheck played 11 NFL seasons, starting with Washington in 1993 as a sixth-round pick out of Maryland. He was picked up off waivers by the then-Houston Oilers in 1995 and finished his career with the franchise relocating to Tennessee in 1997.
He finished his career with 505 receptions, 5,126 yards and 28 touchdowns in 155 games. At the time, he trailed only Shannon Sharpe (815), Ozzie Newsome (662) and Kellen Winslow (541) for most catches among tight ends.
Wycheck played in 137 games for the Titans and set a team record of 99 consecutive games with at least one reception. He led the franchise in three consecutive seasons between 1999 and 2001.
The playback performance of "Music City Miracle" was not his only throwback. Wycheck was 5 of 6 for 148 yards and two TDs in his career, posting a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
Wychek moved to Chattanooga this summer to be closer to his family. He left behind two adult daughters and three grandchildren.
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