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Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans are a National Football League team based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Founded: 1960 As the Houston Oilers, charter members and first Champions of the American Football League (Joined NFL in 1970 merger).
Formerly known as: Houston Oilers (1960-1996), Tennessee Oilers (1997-98), adopted current name in February 1999
Home field: The Coliseum (originally Adelphia Coliseum) (1999-present).
Previous home fields:
Jeppesen Stadium (1960-1964)
Rice Stadium (1965-67)
Houston Astrodome (1968-96)
Liberty Bowl (1997)
Vanderbilt Stadium (1998)
Uniform colors: Columbia blue, Sky blue, White, and Red
Helmet logo: A circle with three stars, similar to that found on the flag of Tennessee; a large "T"; and blue and red flames
League championships won: 1960 (AFL), 1961 (AFL)
Super Bowl Appearances: 2000 (XXXIV) Lost to the St. Louis Rams
Conference Championship Games: 2000 (defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 33-14), 2003 (lost to the Oakland Raiders, 41-24)

Franchise history

AFL Logo
AFL Logo
Houston Oilers logo (1975-96)
Houston Oilers logo (1975-96)
The Tennessee Titans began in 1960 as the Houston Oilers, charter members of the American Football League. The Oilers appeared in the first three AFL championships. They scored an important victory over the NFL when they signed LSU's Heisman Trophy winner, All-America running back Billy Cannon. Cannon joined other Oiler offensive stars such as quarterback George Blanda, flanker Charlie Hennigan, running back Charlie Tolar, and guard Bob Talamini. After winning the first-ever AFL championship over the Los Angeles Chargers in 1960, they repeated over the same team (then in San Diego) in 1961. They lost to the Dallas Texans in the classic 1962 double-overtime AFL championship game, at the time the longest, and still one of the best professional football championship games ever played. In 1962, the Oilers were the first AFL team to sign an active NFL player away from the other league, when wide receiver Willard Dewveall left the Bears to join the champion Oilers. Dewveall that year caught the longest pass reception for a touchdown in professional football history, 99 yards, from Jacky Lee , against the San Diego Chargers. The Oilers won the AFL Eastern Division title again in 1967, then became the first professional football team to play in a domed stadium, when they moved into Houston's Astrodome for the 1968 season.

They then fell from the AFL elite, and the years immediately following the 1970 AFL-NFL merger proved to not be much brighter. In 1978, the Oilers' fortunes changed when they drafted University of Texas football star Earl Campbell, who was both Rookie of the Year and MVP that year and led the Oilers to their first NFL playoff appearance. From 1978 through 1980, the "Luv Ya Blue" Oilers would make the playoffs each year but three postseason losses prompted owner Bud Adams to fire head coach Bum Phillips and signaled the decline of the Oilers for a few years (the 1981 Oilers won their first two games, both on the road - but then the team lost 23 consecutive away games, an all-time NFL record which remained intact until the Detroit Lions lost their 24th straight road game on December 21, 2003). In 1984, the Oilers won a bidding war for CFL legend Warren Moon but didn't return to the playoffs until 1987, where the Oilers nearly went to the Super Bowl. From 1987 through 1993, the Oilers were one of the most successful teams in the AFC, making the playoffs each year but failing to reach the Super Bowl. The mid-1990s signaled the decline of the Houston Oilers and the ill-fated "run and shoot" offense and by 1997, owner Bud Adams moved the team out of Houston.

Although the city of Cleveland kept the franchise's name "Browns", and the team's history when it left, Houston's status as the home of the first two American Football League championships did not save the city's AFL heritage. Unlike his support of an old-line NFL city (Cleveland) in holding on to its tradition, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue did not intervene when Adams declared that no other Houston football team could ever use the name "Oilers".

Tennessee Oilers Inaugural Season logo (1997)
Tennessee Oilers Inaugural Season logo (1997)

Even before the Oilers relocated, they established the future cornerstone of their offense by drafting Steve McNair in 1995. The soon-to-be Tennessee Titans spent 1997 in Memphis as the short-lived Tennessee Oilers. The Oilers rejected Vanderbilt Stadium and played their home games at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium while waiting for their new stadium to be finished in their permanent home city, Nashville. Weary of babysitting Nashville's team, Memphis largely ignored the Oilers, who played before crowds ranging from sparse and indifferent to outright hostile (as in the case of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers). The 1997 season is often recalled as having consisted of 16 road games. The team relented and played the 1998 home schedule at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville. In 1999, Adelphia Coliseum, now known simply as The Coliseum, was completed and the newly christened Tennessee Titans were well received by their new fans in Tennessee's state capital. The Titans made the playoffs in their inaugural year in the "Music City", which was capped off by their unbelievable first round playoff victory over the Buffalo Bills and a third win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 1999 first round win was due to a lateral from tight end Frank Wycheck to Kevin Dyson on a late 4th quarter kickoff return; Dyson returned the pass 75 yards for a touchdown to win the game. This game qualifies as one of the greatest games in NFL history and became known as the "Music City Miracle". The Titans' Cinderella season led to a trip to Super Bowl XXXIV, where they lost a heartbreaker to the St. Louis Rams when Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short of the endzone as regulation time expired.

In 2003, quarterback Steve McNair won the MVP award, sharing it with Peyton Manning.

The Titans made the 2003 playoffs, winning their first-round game over the Baltimore Ravens and losing in the AFC semifinals to the New England Patriots.

The 2004 season was disappointing for the Titans, who suffered an unusual number of injuries to key players. Their 5-11 record turned out to be their worst in a decade.

Players of note

Tennessee Titans alternate logo
Tennessee Titans alternate logo

Pro Football Hall of Famers:

Current stars:

Retired numbers:

  • 43 Jim Norton (born 1938, all-time American Football League interception leader)

Not to be forgotten:

Last updated: 05-06-2005 14:46:51