Frank Wycheck, part of the NFL’s ‘Music City Miracle,’ dead at 52

Frank Wycheck of the Tennessee Titans celebrates after throwing a lateral to Kevin Dyson on a kick-off return for a touchdown during the second half of the AFC Wild Card Game against the Buffalo Bills 08 January 2000, at Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won the game 22-16 to advance to the next round of the NFL playoffs.

Frank Wycheck of the Tennessee Titans celebrates after Kevin Dyson scored on a kickoff return during an AFC wild card game on January 8, 2000, in Nashville, Tennessee.Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty ImagesCNN — 

Former NFL Pro Bowl tight end Frank Wycheck, whose lateral set the “Music City Miracle” in motion, died Saturday at age 52, according to a statement from his family.

“At this time, it appears Wycheck fell inside his Chattanooga, TN, home and hit his head on Saturday morning. He was found unresponsive that afternoon,” the family said.

Wycheck, who played 11 NFL seasons with the Washington Commanders and Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, was famously part of the legendary “Music City Miracle” in one of the first games of the playoffs after the 1999 season. The game-winning trick play was chosen in 2019 as the fourth greatest play in league history.

The Buffalo Bills had just kicked a field goal to take a 16-15 lead over the Titans in an AFC wild card game in Nashville on January 8, 2000. There were 16 seconds left.

On the subsequent Buffalo kickoff, running back Lorenzo Neal caught the ball and gave it to Wycheck, who ran to his right then pivoted and threw an overhand lateral across the field to teammate Kevin Dyson at the 25-yard line.

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Dyson ran 75 yards down the sideline to give the Titans a 22-16 win – after the referee confirmed through instant replay that Wycheck’s throw was a lateral and not an illegal forward pass.

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When Wycheck retired in 2003, his 505 career catches were the fourth-most in NFL history by a tight end. Between 1998 and 2000, he was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls.

After his playing days, Wycheck was a team color analyst and sports talk radio host in Nashville, according to the University of Maryland, where Wycheck went to college. At Maryland, Wycheck set a school career record for receptions by a tight end with 134.

Wycheck was inducted into the Titans’ Ring of Honor in 2008.

“The Tennessee Titans mourn the loss of a beloved member of our Titans family, Frank Wycheck,” the Titans posted on X.

In its statement, the Wycheck family says it plans to honor his wishes by working with “experts for on-going brain injury (TBI) and CTE research.”

“The Wycheck family appreciates the love and support they’ve received, but asks the public to please respect their privacy during this difficult time,” the statement concludes.

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