By Terrance Turner
Sept. 23, 2021
Fans of the Houston Texans went into an uproar yesterday over Tennessee Titans’ social media. The Titans were once the Houston Oilers, and when they announced their “Oilers Celebration Week”, they used Oilers branding — including logo, name and color scheme. Angry commenters responded, fueled by bad blood that has a long history.
The Houston Oilers were founded by owner Bud Adams in Houston, Texas. They played in Houston from 1960 to 1996. Coach Bum Phillips was the head coach from 1975 to 1980. He took over a team that hadn’t been a winning team for eight seasons and made it contender. According to Titans.com, Phillips took the Oilers to the AFC Championship Game in 1978 and 1979. But after he was fired in 1980, the Oilers suffered through three losing seasons.
In the 1980s, the Oilers rebounded. Under coach Jerry Glanville and Jack Pardee, they made the playoffs every season between 1985 and 1993. They won their second division title in 1993. But after they lost in the second round of the playoffs, owner Bud Adams threatened to hold a fire sale of the team. He traded quarterback Warren Moon and fired Pardee after a 1-9 start to the 1994 season.
Then Bud Adams decided to skip town.
Adams became unhappy that the city of Houston wouldn’t build a new stadium for the Oilers, according to TexansWire. Adams wanted a football stadium downtown, which could be shared with the Houston Rockets. But that was a non-starter, and Adams began looking for greener pastures. He settled on Nashville after being offered a “relocation package” worth $292 million (according to the Houston Chronicle).
The lease was supposed to last through 1997, but Adams pulled the plug and bought out his lease early. On May 1, 1996, NFL owners approved a move to Nashville. The team’s final game in Houston was on Dec. 15, 1996. (They lost.) The team was called the Tennessee Oilers in 1997 and then became the Tennessee Titans in 1999. But the Titans still own the records and uniforms and branding of the Houston Oilers.
This week, the Titans are doing an “Oilers Celebration Week” and updated their branding to reflect that. They used the original sky blue color scheme of the Oilers, along with the Oilers logo (an oil derrick). They even changed their name to the Titans/Oilers on Twitter:
Texans on Twitter were displeased:
On top of the irritation from the branding, Texans fans were dealt another blow when the Texans lost tonight’s game against the Carolina Panthers. On tonight’s “Thursday Night Football”, the Texans lost to the Panthers 24-9. The offense scored just nine points, and the Texans were held to just 42 yards on the ground.
Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold ran in for the touchdown, giving the Panthers a 7-0 start. They added to that lead with a 76-yard drive in the third quarter that ended with a seven-yard end-around for a touchdown by tight end Tommy Tremble. Then, in the fourth quarter, Darnold rushed for yet another score.
The Texans fall to 1-2 on the season. The Panthers, however, are now 3-0.