1960: Bud Adams, a founding member of the upstart American Football League, hires Lou Rymkus to coach his team in Houston known as the Oilers. The Oilers are able to win a major victory for the AFL by signing Heisman Trophy running back Billy Cannon; they also introduce a strong veteran influence by signing quarterback George Blanda. After starting their season with a 37-22 win over the Raiders in Oakland, the Oilers came home to Jeppesen Stadium, where they defeated the Los Angles Chargers 38-28. The Oilers would finish with a 10-4 record, easily winning the Eastern Division, as Lou Rymkus earns coach of the Year honors. In the first-ever AFL Championship Game, the Oilers defeat the Chargers 24-16 before 32,000 at Jeppesen Stadium. Leading the way for the Oilers is Billy Cannon, who is named the game’s MVP, and George Blanda, who passes for 301 yards.
1961: The Oilers get the season off on the right foot routing the Oakland Raiders 55-0 at Jeppesen Stadium admit a hurricane warning. However, the Oilers would stumble, losing three straight, before tying the Patriots in Boston to fall to 1-3-1. Feeling a change is needed, coach Lou Rymkus is fired and replaced by Wally Lemm. In Lemm’s first game, the Oilers end their winless streak as George Blanda throws 36 touchdown passes and hits a 53 yard Field Goal in a 38-7 win over the Dallas Texans. A week later, Blanda would pass for 464 yards as the Oilers started a winning streak. The win streak continued through November 19th when Blanda threw seven touchdown passes in a 49-13 win over the New York Titans. In fact, the winning streak would continue until the end of the season where the Oilers went on to capture the Eastern Division with a 10-3-1 record by winning their final nine games. Wally Lemm would earn coach of the year honors, while George Blanda was named player of the year. In the AFL Championship, the Oilers would travel to San Diego for a rematch with the Chargers. The game would be a defensive struggle as the Oilers won the AFL Championship again 10-3.
1962: The Oilers would enter the season with a new coach as Wally Lemm used his perfect 9-0 record to get a coaching job in the NFL. Under new coach Pop Ivy, the Oilers would play shaky football in the first half holding a 4-3 record before going on another season-ending seven-game winning streak to win the Eastern Division for the third year in a row with an 11-3 record. Facing their intrastate rivals, the Dallas Texans, in the AFL Championship Game at Jeppesen Stadium, the Oilers were in place to remain the only Champion in AFL history. However, the Texans would put up a strong fight as the game went deep into overtime. The game would end up heading for a sixth quarter when the Oilers’ quest for a three-peat came to an end with a field goal making the final score 20-17.
1963: After a slow start, the Oilers looked primed to take over the Eastern Division again, winning four of their next five games. However, the Oilers would go on a season-ending four-game slide and finish with a disappointing 6-8 record. Following the season coach, Pop Ivy is fired and replaced by Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh.
1964: Under new coach Sammy Baugh the Oilers get off to a solid 2-1 start. Turnovers and a poor defense would lead to a nine-game losing streak that ended the Oilers’ playoff hopes. The Oilers would win their last two games to finish in last place with a 4-10 record. The season was not without its highlights as George Blanda attempted 68 passes in a 24-10 loss to the Bills in Buffalo on November 1st. Following the season, the Oilers would make another coaching change replacing Sammy Baugh with Hugh Taylor.
1965: Originally scheduled to play at the brand new Harris County Domed Stadium, the Oilers at the last minute decided to play at Rice Stadium when they reject the terms of the lease. Without the Oilers using the new stadium, it would be renamed the Astrodome. The Oilers get off to a good start winning their first two games. However, they would struggle again, winning just two more the rest of the way, finishing in last place again with a 4-10 record. After a season-ending seven-game losing streak, coach Hugh Taylor is fired and replaced by Wally Lemm, who left for the NFL after coaching the Oilers to the 1961 AFL Championship.
1966: The Oilers get the season off on the right foot beating the Denver Broncos 45-7 at Rice Stadium, in-game in which the defense did not allow a single first down. The Oilers would win the following week again to sit at 2-0. They would win just once more in their final 12 games, finishing with a 3-11 record, while losing twice to the expansion Miami Dolphins in a season-ending eight-game losing streak. Following the season, the Oilers would cut ties with George Blanda, who was vital to their early success.
1967: Spurred by an improved defense led by Rookie of the Year George Webster, the Oilers return to the solid play that helped them win the first two AFL Championships. Allowing just 199 points on the season, the Oilers would win the Eastern Division with a 9-4-1 record. However, the Oilers would be walloped by the Raiders 45-7 in Oakland with a trip to Super Bowl II on the line.
1968: The Oilers finally sign a deal to play in the Astrodome after working out the disagreements in the lease. The Oilers stumble out of the gate, losing four of their first five games. The Oilers would finish the season strong, winning three of their last four games to finish with a 7-7 record.
1969: The Oilers get off to a solid 3-1 start, but struggle and play only mediocre football over the next nine weeks, as they enter the final game of the season at home against the Boston Patriots with a 5-6-2 record. However, under a new playoff format, the Oilers only need a win to make the playoffs. Trailing late, the Oilers would rally and would enter the playoffs with a 6-6-2 record. The Oilers’ run would end quickly as they fell 56-7 to the Raiders in Oakland.
1970: The Oilers get off to a solid 2-1 start, but weaknesses on both sides of the ball catch up with them as they only win one of their final 11 games, finishing with a 3-10-1, as coach Wally Lemm announces his retirement. The Oilers would go on name Ed Hughes to replace him.
1971: The Oilers get off to a dreadful start going winless through their first six games, before beating the Cincinnati Bengals 10-6 at the Astrodome. The Oilers would continue to struggle to lose their next three games, sealing the fate of coach Ed Hughes. The Oilers would win their last three games to finish with a 4-9-1 record, but Hughes was still fired and replaced by Bill Peterson.
1972: After being blown out in their first two games, the Oilers stun the New York Jets 26-20 at the Astrodome. However, the win would end up being the only win on the season, as the Oilers finish with a miserable 1-13 record while being outscored an embarrassing 380-164 on the season.
1973: To say the Oilers season was miserable would be an understatement, as coach Bill Peterson is fired after a 0-5 start. The Oilers, whose record under Peterson was a humiliating 1-18, would be led the rest of the season by Hall of Fame coach Sid Gilman. However, not even Gilman could help, as the Oilers lost their next two games before beating the Colts 31-27 in Baltimore for their only win of the season, as they finished the season with a 1-13 record, being outscored 447-199 on the season.
1974: Sid Gilman remains head coach but hires Bum Philips to be the defensive coordinator to be groomed to replace him. The Oilers would start the season off by winning their first game at the Astrodome 21-14 over the San Diego Chargers. However, the Oilers would struggle, losing their next five games, but this time the Oilers would recover by winning their next four games on the way to finishing with a 7-7 record. Following the season, Gilman would step down and let Bum Phillips take over.
1975: In Bum Phillips’ first season as coach, the Oilers finally played competitive football again, posting their first winning season in seven years with a 10-4 record. However, all four losses were to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, who beat out the Oilers for the Division Title and Wild Card spot.
1976: The Oilers get off to another strong start at 4-1. However, the team’s offensive struggles would catch up with them as they lost six in a row and seven of eight games overall to close out the season with a disappointing 5-9 record.
1977: The Oilers get off on the right foot again, winning three of their first four games, which was capped by a 27-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Astrodome. Injuries would hamper the Oilers’ chances as they lost five of their next six games. Once some key players returned, the Oilers would finish the season on a strong note to finish with an 8-6 record.
1978: Spurred by RB Earl Campbell, who wins both the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year rushes for 1,450 yards. The Oilers make the playoffs with a 10-6 record, qualifying in the newly created fifth Wild Card spot. In the Wild Card Game, the Oilers would travel to Miami where they stunned the Dolphins 17-9 to advance to the Divisional Playoffs. After beating the Dolphins, the Oilers traveled to New England, facing the Patriots before 61,297 chilly fans. The cold weather would not bother the Oilers 31-14 to earn a trip to Pittsburgh with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The Oilers’ run would end in disappointment as they are blown out by the Steelers 34-5. Following the loss, the Oilers are greeted by 50,000 loyal fans at the Astrodome holding signs saying “Love Ya Blue.”
1979: Earl Campbell continues to establish himself as the best running backs in the league, winning the Offensive Player of the year again while claiming the NFL MVP by rushing for an NFL best 1,697 yards while scoring 19 touchdowns. The Oilers would finish with an 11-5 record, qualifying for the playoffs as a Wild Card again. In the first playoff game at the Astrodome, the Oilers beat the Denver Broncos 13-7, but lose several key players, including Earl Campbell and quarterback Dan Pastorini, to injuries. Playing without Campbell and Pastorini in the Divisional Playoffs, the Oilers’ backup would step it up as they beat the Chargers in San Diego 17-13. Vernon Perry sets a playoff record by intercepting four passes. The Oilers would move to the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh for a rematch with the Steelers. The Oilers appeared to have the game tied in the third quarter, but officials said Mike Renfro was out of bounds when replays clearly showed he got both feet in. The call would be a backbreaker as the Oilers fell 27-13. Following the loss, the Oilers would return home where 70,000 fans showed up early in the morning to greet them in another “Love Ya Blue” rally.
1980: Earl Campbell continues to be the rest runner in the NFL, winning the rushing title again, and Offensive Player of the Year again with an amazing 1,934-yard season. His season was highlighted by consecutive 200-yard games as he narrowly misses a 2,000-yard season. The Oilers would finish with an 11-5 record, as they had to settle for the Wild Card again after losing the division via tiebreaker. In the Wild Card Game at Oakland, the Oilers were stymied by the Raiders all game, losing 27-7, as the eventual Super Bowl Champion ends their season for the third year in a row. Owner Bud Adams was not satisfied, and he would fire coach Bum Philips and replace him with Ed Biles.
1981: The Oilers get the season started with a bang as rookie Willie Tullis returns kickoff 95 yards for a game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the game for a 27-20 win over the Rams in Los Angeles. The Oilers’ defensive problems would catch up with them as they finished with a disappointing 7-8 record, as Earl Campbell fights through injuries to rush for 1,376 yards.
1982: After losing their season opener, the Oilers beat the Seattle Seahawks at the Astrodome 23-21, as the Oilers season was frozen at 1-1 before a two-month player’s strike. When the season resumed, the Oilers struggled, losing all seven games, as Earl Campbell is held to just 536 yards, as the Oilers finish the season with a 1-8 record.
1983: The Oilers get off to a miserable 1-5 start prompting head coach Ed Biles to resign. Chuck Studley would replace him, but the Oilers would not do any better, winning just two of ten games under Studley and finishing with a terrible 3-13 record. Following the season, the Oilers would make Hugh Campbell, its new coach.
1984: With hopes of improving the offense, the Oilers win a competitive bidding war to sign CFL star quarterback Warren Moon. However, with Earl Campbell in full decline, the Oilers decide to cut bait and trade the star running back that once dominated the NFL after a 1-5 start. The move would leave a gaping hole at running back, but the defense was a greater weak spot as the Oilers finished with a 2-14 record, allowing 457 points on the season.
1985: With hopes of improving the running game, the Oilers sign former Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier away from the USFL. However, Rosier would struggle and would be limited to 462 yards rushing. Meanwhile, quarterback Warren Moon continued to struggle with turnovers as the Oilers continued to struggle, sitting at 5-9 with two games remaining when coach Hugh Campbell is fired. Jerry Glanville would coach the Oilers in their last two games as the Oilers lost and finished with a 5-11 record. Despite the losses, Glanville would earn a full-time coaching job.
1986: In Jerry Glanville’s first full year as coach, the Oilers get the season started on the right note beating the Packers 31-3 in Green Bay. However, the Oilers would struggle again, losing eight straight games and nine out of ten games, on the way to another dreadful 5-11 season. There were some bright spots; Warren Moon, despite throwing 26 interceptions, showed some promise by tallying up 3,489 yards in passing.
1987: The Oilers show some promise while splitting their first two games before a player’s strike leads to the use of replacement players. The regular would eventually return as the Oilers scabs went 2-1. After the regulars return, the Oilers won their first two games, as Warren Moon began to fulfill the promise he showed in the CFL, but after the Oilers lost three of their next four games, their playoff hopes looked all but lost. However, the Oilers would win three of their last four games to finish with a 9-6, earning them their first playoff berth in seven years. In the Wild Card game at the Astrodome, the Oilers battle back to beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-21 in overtime on a Tony Zendejas’ 42-yard Field Goal. The Oilers’ season would end with a 34-10 to the Broncos a week later in the Divisional Playoffs at Denver.
1988: With a roster with eight All-Pros, the Oilers have another solid season, finishing with a 10-6 record, to qualify for the playoffs for the second year in a row. Among the starters Bruce Mathews and Mike Munchak, who provided the foundation of a solid offensive line, Mike Rozier scored ten touchdowns, Warren Moon, who, despite an injury, managed 17 touchdown passes Dew Hill collected 1,141 receiving yards. In the Wild Card Game, the Oilers would face the Browns in Cleveland on a snowy Christmas Eve afternoon. The game would nail bitter to the end as the Oilers won 24-23 with running back Allen Pinkett scoring two touchdowns. The Oilers season would end a week later with a 17-10 loss to the Bills in frigid Buffalo.
1989: After playing inconsistent football through the first eight games while compiling an 8-8 record, the Oilers win five out of six games to earn a spot in the playoffs. However, losses in their final two games would cost them the AFC Central Division Title, as they settled for the Wild Card with a 9-7 record. In the Wild Card Game at the Astrodome, the Oilers would play sloppy football all afternoon, losing in overtime to the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-23. Following the season coach, Jerry Glanville would be let go and replaced by Jack Pardee.
1990: The Oilers season starts on the wrong foot with a humiliating loss 47-27 to the Jerry Glanville coached Falcons in Atlanta. The Oilers would drop another game the following week before winning their home opener over the Indianapolis Colts 24-10. Through most of the season, the Oilers would toil around .500 despite an incredible season from Warren Moon that earns him Offensive Player of the Year Honors. The Oilers would win three of their last four games to finish with a 9-7 record, which helped them squeak into the playoffs as the sixth seed. The Oilers’ season would end quickly with a 41-14 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati in the playoffs.
1991: Warren Moon has another spectacular season passing for 4,690 yards as the Oilers get off to a 7-1 start. The start was good enough for the Oilers to end 24 years of frustration, as the Oilers finally won a Division Title. A loss in their final game cost them a playoff bye, as they finished with an 11-5 record. In the Wild Card Round at the Astrodome, the Oilers are given a scare by the New York Jets, but Safety Bubba McDowell intercepts two key passes inside the five-yard line to secure the victory for the Oilers 17-10. In the Division Round in Denver, the Oilers control the game all afternoon, leading the Broncos 24-16 midway through the fourth quarter. John Elway would have one of his magical comebacks to deal the Oilers a heartbreaking loss 26-24.
1992: Despite losing Warren Moon to an injury most of the second half of the season, the Oilers are among the top teams in the AFC, again finishing with a 106- record and qualifying for the playoffs. In the Wild Card Game, Warren Moon returns as the Oilers breakout to a 35-3 lead early in the third quarter against the Bills in Buffalo. In the first half alone, Moon passes for 371 yards and connects on four touchdowns. The lead would not last as the Bills came from behind to win in overtime 41-38. The loss was the biggest lead ever blown in NFL history.
1993: Following the disaster in Buffalo, owner Bud Adams gives players one more season to get to the Super Bowl before he cuts baits and decides to rebuild. The Oilers would get off to a shaky start losing four of their first five games, culminating with a 35-7 loss on Monday night to the Bills in Buffalo. With their season on the brink, the Oilers would turn their season around, as Gary Brown emerges as a new star rushing for 1,002 yards in just eight starts, as the Oilers won their last 11 games to win the AFC Central with a 12-4 record, earning a playoff bye. In the Divisional Playoffs, the Oilers host the Kansas City Chiefs with hopes of making it to the AFC Championship. The Oilers would hold the lead into the third quarter, but another second-half collapse would see the Oilers season end again with a 28-20 loss. Following the season, the rebuilding process started with the trade of Warren Moon to the Minnesota Vikings.
1994: Without Warren Moon, the Oilers get off to a miserable start losing nine of their first ten games before coach Jack Pardee is fired and replaced by Jeff Fisher. Under Fisher, the losing would continue, as the Oilers lost their next five games, before beating the New York Jets 24-10 in their final game of the season to finish with a 2-14 record.
1995: With an eye to the future, the Oilers draft quarterback Steve McNair with the third overall draft pick. However, McNair would start the season on the bench behind free-agent signee Chris Chandler. Chandler would play solid football as the Oilers showed improvement in their first full year under Jeff Fisher, finishing with a 7-9 record. However, the story of the season comes on November 16th when Bud Adams announces plans to move the team to Nashville when the lease at the Astrodome expires in 1998.
1996: Houston fans express their displeasure with Oilers’ move by staying away in droves. Playing most of the season in front of crowds of less than 20,000 at the Astrodome, the Oilers only win two out of their eight games at home. However, they win six out of eight games on the road as the Oilers finish with an 8-8 record. Houston fans would get a tease as running back Eddie George won the Offensive Rookie of the Year with 1,368 yards rushing for the lame-duck Oilers. Following the Oilers make a deal with the city of Houston to break their lease a year early, meaning the season would be the last in Houston. The Oilers would end up losing their final game at the Astrodome 21-13 to the Cincinnati Bengals. After the Oilers left for Music City, Houston, led by Bob McNair, began making plans to get an NFL team back in Houston. Though considered underdogs, McNair impressed NFL’s expansion committee, and the NFL returned to Houston in 2002 with a team called the Texans.
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Page created on July 18 , 2002. Last updated on September 1, 2018 at 11:30 pm ET.