Franchise Owner-President K. S. "Bud" Adams
Jr. was one of the founding fathers of the American
Football League in 1959. Heisman Trophy winner Billy
Cannon from Louisiana State was the first big-name
signing of both the Oilers and the AFL. The Oilers
were the AFL's first champions, winning back-to-back
titles in 1960 and 1961. The Oilers missed a third
straight championship in 1962 when they lost 20-17
to the Dallas Texans. At the time, the historic six-quarter
contest was the longest professional football game
ever played -- 77 minutes, 54 seconds. Tennessee Titans,
professional football team and one of four teams in
the Southern Division of the American Football Conference
(AFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The team
formerly played in Houston, Texas, as the Houston
Oilers. The Titans now play in Adelphia Coliseum in
Nashville, Tennessee, and wear uniforms of blue, red,
and white. The team’s logo is a white T surrounded
by three red stars. The team's name was chosen because
in Greek mythology Titans exemplified the characteristics
of power, strength, knowledge, and excellence.
The Houston Oilers fielded strong teams in the now-defunct
American Football League (AFL), capturing two league titles
and reaching the playoffs five times before the AFL and
NFL completed their merger in 1970. From 1978 to 1980 running
back Earl Campbell, a four-time rushing champion, powered
Houston to three straight playoff appearances. The Oilers
were one of the AFC’s most consistent teams during
the late 1980s and early 1990s, making seven consecutive
postseason appearances from 1987 to 1993.
The Oilers became charter members of the AFL in 1960, and
that same year the franchise won the AFL’s first championship.
Houston won another AFL championship a year later under
head coach Wally Lemm, who oversaw a powerful offense with
lineups that featured quarterback-placekicker George Blanda,
running back Billy Cannon, and wide receivers Bill Groman
and Charley Hennigan. The four helped the Oilers score an
average of 36.6 points per game. Houston was so dominant
that half of the team’s starting lineup played in
the AFL All-Star Games following the 1961 and 1962 seasons.
Lemm left the Oilers after the championship but returned
five years later to guide the club to the postseason in
1967 and 1969. A new Houston powerhouse emerged behind quarterback
Pete Beathard, running back Hoyle Granger, and offensive
guard Bob Talamini. Safeties Ken Houston and Jim Norton
anchored one of the league’s toughest defenses.
Houston joined the NFL in 1970 as part of the NFL-AFL merger.
After four losing seasons under four different coaches,
the Oilers posted their first NFL winning record in 1975.
Former defensive coordinator Bum Phillips led the team as
head coach, and Houston posted a 10-4 win-loss record.
In 1978 Houston drafted Earl Campbell, who became one of
the most prolific runners in NFL history, capturing four
consecutive rushing titles from 1978 to 1981 and two straight
most valuable player (MVP) awards in 1978 and 1979. Campbell
led the Oilers to consecutive appearances in the AFC Championship
Game in 1978 and 1979, but the Pittsburgh Steelers, the
eventual Super Bowl champions, defeated Houston in both
of these contests.
As injuries slowed Campbell, Houston slumped during a six-year
period from 1981 through 1986. The team began its turnaround
by drafting quarterback Warren Moon from the Edmonton Eskimos
of the Canadian Football League in 1984. The move produced
seven straight playoff appearances beginning in 1987. The
team was stymied in the postseason, however, failing to
reach the AFC Championship Game during that stretch.
Moon’s favorite receivers were Drew Hill, Haywood
Jeffries, and Tim Smith, each of whom posted multiple 1,000-yard
seasons. Hill and Jeffries both reached that plateau in
1990, when Moon recorded the first of his two consecutive
4,000-yard seasons of passing and was named AFC player of
the year. Tackle Ray Childress anchored the defense during
this time, while guard Bruce Matthews and center Mike Munchak
led an outstanding offensive line. Mike Rozier replaced
Campbell as Houston’s main running back. After Moon’s
departure before the 1994 season, Houston posted its worst
record in 11 years.
After the 1998 season the team moved to Nashville
and was renamed the Titans. 1 year later in 1999,
the franchise retired the nickname Oilers and became
known as the Titans. The change seemed to bring good
luck with it as the Titans went on to win the AFC
Championship that year and earn a trip to Super Bowl
XXXIV. In 1999 the Titans finished with a 13-3 record,
and in the postseason they reached the Super Bowl,
where they lost to the St. Louis Rams.
2000 Super Bowl XXXIV Lost to St. Louis Rams, 23-16
Club Records >>
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