Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Retro Obsession: The Houston Oilers

The Astrodome, Houston, Texas.
(AKA "The House of Pain") (AKA "The Eighth Wonder of the World")

It is a tough thing being a football fan. Even more so when your team no longer exists. For me that team was the Houston Oilers. The most frustratingly great football franchise in NFL history, and a lifelong addiction that I still can't seem to kick.

You see, football addicts generally have the opportunity to confront their sins, their past misgivings, and/or their failures. As an Oilers fan I will never have that opportunity. I was rocking my baby blue and white #1 jersey while other kids my age were sporting black and silver Raiders Starter jackets. But, it has been well over fifteen years now and I still haven't recuperated from that ridiculous loss to Denver in the playoffs, and, ummm...that 1992 Wild Card "game" against the Bills.

Despite all of the setbacks, the Oilers were able to draft and sign some tremendous talent, bring in larger than life personalities, and field some remarkably good football teams. Everything was big about that franchise. The cowboy hats, the hype, that "good-old-boy" Texas-sized ego, the marketing schtick, the on-field and off-the-field player antics, and the rivalries; those fabled matchups between the Steelers, Browns, and Bengals.

The teams over the years had serious swagger even if they couldn't always back up the trash talk, and provided entertainment at a time when the league's future was very much in jeopardy. I used to work with a guy that played for the Oilers back in the late 60s and he had some great stories from that era.

I will never know what true redemption feels like regardless of how many times the Tennessee Titans make it to the Super Bowl. And no, I am not a Tennessee fan now. I am a Redskin. A real glutton for punishment.

R.I.P. Oilers (1960-1996)

Still Luv Ya Blue!

Outspoken Oilers team owner "Bud" Adams (left) and singer/songwriter Mack Hayes. Hayes wrote and sang the tune that would eventually become the Oilers fight song.

Coach Bum Phillips. As coach of the Oilers, he became the winningest coach in franchise history (59-38 record). He was known for his folksy mannerisms, and for wearing his trademark cowboy hat on the sidelines, except when the Oilers played in the Astrodome or other domed stadiums. (He stated that his mother taught him not to wear a hat indoors.) Via

The unstoppable Earl Campbell. Every kid growing up in Texas had at least one #34 jersey in the closet.

Hall of Fame defensive end, Elvin Bethea. Bustin' heads no doubt.

Campbell doing what he does best. Attacking that line of scrimmage.

Billy "White Shoes" Johnson doing his famed "funky chicken" in the endzone after a score. Yeah #37, you just got burned.

Jerry Glanville. Is there a more hated head coach in NFL history?

Hall of Famer Warren Moon. My favorite quarterback. Ever. 49,325 career yards and 291 touchdown passes.

Target 1: Drew Hill. Five 1,000+ yard seasons with the Oilers. 9,831 career receiving yards and 60 touchdowns.

Target 2: Haywood Jeffires. Two 1,000+ yard seasons with the Oilers. 6,334 career receiving yards and 50 touchdowns.

Target 3: Ernest Givins. One 1,000 yard season with the Oilers. 8,215 career receiving yards and 49 touchdowns.

Target 4: Curtis Duncan. 3,935 career receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. All as an Oiler.

Blue collar defensive lineman, Ray Childress. Nasty.

Hall of Fame guard Mike Munchak protecting Moon in the pocket.

The Houston Oilers Cheerleaders - The Derrek Dolls

Running back Lorenzo White looking for a seam to run through.

Chris Dishman. The brash, flashy and outspoken cornerback. The Oilers' answer to Neon Deion. In 1991 he had a seven game stretch where he forced at least one turnover in each game.

One of the greatest offensive tackles ever to play the game. Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews.

Running back Alonzo Highsmith. One in a long line of great rb's from The U.

The great Eddie George beginning his career in Houston.

The late-great Steve McNair.

Houston Oilers Roughneck, Art Horridge, banging his drum for the last time. Sunday, December 17, 1995 at the Dome.

I need this in my life.


  1. awesome ... nice page! i am 24 so only caught the tail end of the houston oilers, i am a tennessee titans fan now but feel in love with the "luv ya blue" ... in fact when i was a kid (living in california) I made it out to the FINAL Oiler game ever ... Tennessee Oilers December 16th 1998 against Minnesota ... very cool memory

  2. Well thanks for readin'!

    That's a good experience you have there. They made the move to Tennessee when I was in university, and at that time my obsession for college football was on a whole other much so that I didn't watch the pro game much.

    I've been following the status of the Astrodome. I'm hoping they can find the money for repairs and upgrades instead of demo. Not lookin' good though.



  3. To THIS VERY DAY my husband (who sent me this link) when asked, "Who ya rootin' for?" replies, "The Oilers." Most people under 30 look confused. 30-35 say, "Aren't they gone?" and over 35's normally just get a sad, knowing smile on their face.

  4. Ha! Well, I'm 33 now so I'm right in one of those age brackets.

    I grew up in a family of Cowboys fans so I take the punishment for being an ex-Oiler and current Redskins supporter. I should just give up the gun.

    Thanks for visiting.



  5. Several times we were the second best team in the NFL and had it not been for that great Steelers dynasty, Houston would have won a few super bowls.

  6. That Oilers/Steelers rivalry was great (and Oilers/Bengals) longer talked about unfortunately.

  7. The picture you have for Mike Munchak is actually Bruce Matthews. Munchak wore #63.

  8. Thanks Lee for the clarification. In other news, he was just promoted to Head Coach of the Titans. Awesome.



  9. My husband has a beautiful Houston Oiler Cowboy hat still in the plastic and original American Hat Co. box .Trying to find out if it's worth anything? Been in the top of closet for many years. Probably just a novelty but curious.

  10. we have one too. don't know value. can't find any info.

  11. I am looking to see if my 1980 Chevrolet Houstion Oiler Roghneck pick up #158 signed bum phillips super bowl edition would be worth restoring. I can find no information on it in any condition. My e mail is if anyone knows anything about it. I bought it new in 1980 and has had it ever is in very rough shape due to vandals mostly and age ...... in info is appreciated