Tennessee Titans Team History
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.
The Oilers/Titans have qualified for post-season action a total
of 18 times in the club's history with AFL playoff appearances
coming in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1967 and 1969. Since the AFL-NFL
merger in 1970, the franchise reached the playoffs 10 times
while in Houston. Included are three straight in 1979, 1980,
1981 and a seven-year string starting in 1987.
The AFL championships Houston won in its first two years of
play remain the only league titles the Oilers have claimed.
They won four AFL Eastern division championships in that league's
10-year existence and AFC Central Division titles in 1991 and
Several coaches have contributed to winning seasons in Houston.
Lou Rymkus led the Oilers to their first championship in 1960
while Wally Lemm coached the 1961 AFL title team. Frank "Pop"
Ivy won a divisional championship the next year. Lemm returned
to guide the Oilers' 1967 AFL East championship. "Bum"
Phillips led the Oilers to three straight playoff appearances
in 1979, 1980 and 1981 and Jerry Glanville took the Oilers to
post-season play three times in four seasons from 1986 to 1989.
Houston turned to Jack Pardee to lead the team in the 1990s.
He guided his first four teams to the playoffs. The Oilers won
their first divisional championship in 24 years in 1991 and
repeated in 1993. Jeff Fisher was named interim head coach in
November 1994 and officially took over in 1995.
Five former Oilers stars are now members of the Pro Football
Hall of Fame. The fabled George Blanda, who played 26 years
and was the Oilers' quarterback from 1960 to 1966, was the first
to be inducted in 1981. Ken Houston, one of history's great
safeties, was elected in 1986, Earl Campbell, a pile-driving
fullback from Texas, was picked in 1991, guard Mike Munchak,
a first round draft pick in 1982, was inducted in 2001; and
defensive end Elvin Bethea, the franchise's all-time sacle leader
leader, was elected in 2003. Five former Oilers stars have had
their jerseys retired -- safety Jim Norton, Bethea, Campbell
and offensive linemen Munchak and Bruce Matthews.
In the 1960s, Blanda was a big-yardage maker with his throws
to receivers like Charlie Hennigan, who caught a then-record
101 passes in the 1964 season. The Oilers of the 1980s and early
1990s were powered by quarterback Warren Moon and a host of
Houston started its AFL life in Jeppesen Stadium, a high school
facility that seated 33,000, before moving to 70,000-seat Rice
Stadium in 1965. In 1968, the Oilers moved into the nation's
first domed stadium, the air-conditioned Astrodome, thus becoming
the first team in professional football to play indoors on synthetic
turf. In 1997, the Oilers became the first NFL team to call
Tennessee home when the franchise relocated to the Volunteer
state. Two years 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.