Tennessee Titans

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 11:24

The history of the Tennessee Titans

About the NFL team Tennessee titans, betting and information.


The Tennessee Titans is a professional football franchise that plays in the National Football League, which is the highest level of professional football in America.  The team is based in Nashville, Tennessee, where it plays its home games at LP Field.  Since 2002, the Titans have been part of the South Division of the American Football Conference.  Since the franchise moved to Tennessee from Houston in 1997, the team has made a single Super Bowl appearance and two American Football Conference Championship games. They have won three division championships, and made playoff appearances.  This article will cover the history of the Tennessee Titans franchise, including the times before it moved to Tennessee.

Establishment of the franchise and early history

Prior to moving to Tennessee, the franchise was based in Houston, Texas, where it was originally founded as the Houston Oilers.  Owner Bud Adams was a Houston oilman who had been bidding for an NFL expansion team in Houston for a number of times before he established the Houston Oilers as a charter member of the American Football League in 1960.  Because of the financial success of owner Bud Adams, the Houston Oilers were a rather influential and well-funded team.  They were able to get some great offensive football stars, such as running back Charlie Tolar, Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, quarterback George Blanda, flanker Charlie Hennigan, and guard Bob Talamini.  With such a strong team, the Oilers came off to a great start in their first season, which was also the first season of the American Football League.

The Houston Oilers appeared in the first three consecutive American Football League championships.  The team made their first appearance in 1960, after posting a regular season record of 10 wins and 4 losses.  They faced the Los Angeles Chargers in the championship game and won the first-ever American Football League Championship.  In the following season, the Oilers had a regular season record of 10 wins, 3 losses, and 1 tie, which was good enough to send them to the championships again versus the same team.  The Oilers beat the Los Angeles Chargers to win their second consecutive American Football League Championship Title.  In their third season, the team would post 11 wins and 3 losses in the regular season, making it to the championships once again.  This time around, they would face the neighboring Dallas Texans in a classic American Football League championship game that would go into double-overtime that ended in a loss for the Oilers.

After their early success, the Houston Oilers fell into a slump that would result in third or fourth place regular season finishes for the next few seasons.  In the 1967 regular season, the team was able to bounce back, putting together a 9-win, 4-loss, 1-tie record to put them in first place at the end of the regular season.  Unfortunately, they lost in the playoffs and in the following two seasons, they posted second-place finishes.

The AFL-NFL merger

In 1970, the American Football League (AFL) merged into the National Football League (NFL) and the Houston Oilers were one of the AFL charter teams that became a part of the resulting NFL, American football professional league.  The first four seasons in the NFL were rough for the Oilers.  In the first season, the team had a record of 3-10-1, followed by a second season record of 4-9-1, and abysmal third and fourth seasons that resulted in regular season records of 1 win and 13 losses for both seasons.  In 1974, Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Sid Gillman took the reigns and he was able to coach the team to a season with 7 wins and 7 losses.  It was the first .500 season for the Oilers in the NFL.

From 1974 up to 1976, the team would struggle to get back into winning form.  After posting a 1975 regular season record of 10 wins and 4 losses, they would fall back into fourth place in 1976 with a 5-9-0 record.  In 1977, the team would finally bounce back, posting an 8-6-0 record that was good enough to put them into second place in the Central Division of the American Football Conference.  They made it to the NFL Playoffs in 1978, 1979, and 1980.  The Houston Oilers would fall into another long playoff drought from 1981 to 1986.  During these years, the team was unable to break the .500 mark, posting six consecutive losing seasons.

A return to glory for the Houston Oilers

In 1987, the Houston Oilers would experience a renewal that was spurred by a $67-million renovation to the Astrodome (then the team's home stadium), which would solidify the city's support and give fans more reason to root for their team.  The Oilers would make their first playoff berth in seven years after posting a winning record of 9 wins and 6 losses in the 1987 season.  It marked the beginning of a seasons, wherein the Oilers would place second in the AFC Central Division.  In 1988, they had a record of 10-6-0, followed by 1989 and 1990 records of 9-7-0.  In 1991, the team went on a tier, winning 11 games and losing only 5, clinching an NFL AFC Central Division title for the first time in franchise history.

As the 1990s came rolling around, franchise owner Bud Adams was getting impatient and frustrated at the team's inability to make it to the Super Bowl or the American Football Conference Championships.  The year1992 was poised to be a great season for the team as they put together a 10-6-0 regular season record to place second in the AFC Central Division.  Low and behold, the team would lose to the Buffalo Bills in an AFC Wild Card playoff game now known as "The Comeback," where the Bills came back from a 3-35 deficit to beat the Oilers 41-38 in overtime.  After this unfortunate happening, Adams gave the team an ultimatum stating that he would break up the team if they didn't make it to the Super Bowl in 1993.  The Oilers were able to post 12 wins and 4 losses, a record that would win them the AFC Central title and be their best record as a Texas-based franchise.  Once again, they were eliminated in the playoffs and Adams' dream of his Houston Oilers going to the Super Bowl was looking grim.  In the franchise's final seasons in Houston, they were unable to make it back into the playoffs and Bud Adams was forced to make some changes.

The birth of the Tennessee Oilers

After Adams' disappointment at his team's performance, he spoke with the administration of Houston City to ask if he could opt out of his lease one year early.  The city agreed and Adams moved the team to Tennessee, where they would become known as the Tennessee Oilers.  The new team played their home games at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and Vanderbilt Stadium,  while waiting for the LP Field to finish construction in 1999.  In the Oilers' first three seasons in Tennessee they posted records of 8 wins and 8 losses.  In 1998, the Tennessee Oilers changed their franchise name to the Tennessee Titans.  One year later, exhilarated at having a new stadium to call home, the Titans posted a 13-win, 3-loss season and they made a strong rally in the 1999 Playoffs.  The team would defeat the Buffalo Bills in the first round, the Indianapolis Colts in the second round, and the Jacksonville Jaguars in the American Football Conference Championship game to make it to their first ever NFL Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.  The Titans went against the St. Louis Rams, but they lost in a dramatic final play as star wide receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short from scoring a touchdown for the Titans, who were down 23-16.

In 2000 and 2002, the Titans were able to win division titles, with great regular season performances.  The team faltered in 2001, finishing with a regular season record of 7-9-0.  Since the 2002 season finished, the team has been up and down.  For example, the team finished 4-12-0 in 2005, and bounced back to a 13-3-0 record in 2008 to win another division title.  Still, in 2009, the team fell back into one of their slumps, recording only 8 wins and 8 losses.  It will be good to see how this franchise continues to mature over the next few years.  Who knows, maybe it will boom back into championship form once again, like the glory days of its first years as the Houston Oilers.