Tennessee Titans Football
The Tennessee Titans are a professional football team in the NFL. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, they are members of the AFC South. Originally known as the Houston Oilers, the team relocated to Tennessee in 1997 and changed their name to the Titans in 1999.
Started in 1960 by owner Bud Adams, the Houston Oilers appeared in the first three AFL championships. (winning twice over the Chargers) The roster included players such as Billy Cannon, George Blanda, Charlie Hennigan, Charlie Tolar and Bob Talamini.
In 1967, they became the first football team to play in a domed stadium. They remained in the Houston Astrodome until 1996, and many came to know the location as “The House of Pain.”
The team struggled in the early 70s, but Bum Phillips arrived in 1975 and brought in players such as Elvin Bethea, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and star running back Earl Campbell. During this period, they made three straight playoff appearances.
The team struggled into the 80s, but they won a bidding war in 1984 to acquire the rights to CFL quarterback Warren Moon. With Moon’s powerful arm, the Oilers became a dominant AFC team from 1987 through 1993.
Their 1992 season was thwarted by the Bills, who came back from a 35-3 deficit to eliminate the Oilers from the playoffs. This game is now known simply as “The Comeback.”
Disgusted, Bud Adams threatened to break up the team if they did not win the Super Bowl in 1993. When the team was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, Adams traded Warren Moon to the Vikings.
Coach Jack Pardee was fired and replaced by Jeff Fisher. With the loss of Moon, the Oilers finished the 1994 season with a record of 2-14.
When Houston failed to build the team a new stadium, Adams shopped the franchise around and announced that the team would be moving to Nashville for the 1998 season. The team did poorly in 1996, and the city let Adams out of his lease a year early.
While their new stadium was being constructed, the newly dubbed Tennessee Oilers played both in Memphis and on the campus of Vanderbilt University. During this time, the team continued to struggle.
The Tennessee Titans’ name was chosen to represent strength, power and leadership. It was also a nod to the fact that Nashville was known as “The Athens of the South” (because of the city’s number of higher-learning institutions).
The Titans debuted in 1999 and featured stars such as quarterback Steve McNair and running back Eddie George. They finished the regular season with a record of 13-3, their best season in franchise history.
In the first round of the playoffs, they eliminated the Bills in what would come to be called the “Music City Miracle.” With 16 seconds left in the game and the Titans behind by one point, tight end Frank Wycheck made a lateral pass to Kevin Dyson during a kickoff return. Dyson then ran 75 yards for a touchdown. The Bills – and many fans – argued that it was an illegal forward pass, but a review failed to overturn the decision.
The Titans would advance all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV, where they would lose 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams. With only seconds left in the game, receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short of the endzone in what is now known as “The Tackle."
From 2000 to 2003, the team continued to finish strong in the AFC. In 2003, quarterback Steve McNair shared the MVP award with Peyton Manning.
Injuries plagued the Titans in 2004, and the team finished the season with a 5-11 record. The team cleaned house, getting rid of players like Derrick Mason, Samari Rolle and Kevin Carter.
With the youngest team in the NFL, the Titans finished the 2005 season at 4-12. Fans were hopeful, however, as players like Adam “Pacman” Jones, Michael Roos, Brandon Jones, Roydell Williams and Courtney Roby were still learning the game.
Rookie Vince Young started at quarterback in 2006, and he led the team to an 8-8 finish. They improved on that number in 2007, going 10-6 and returning to the playoffs. There, they lost to the Chargers in the wild card round.
Titans Team Logo
When the Oilers first debuted, their logo was an oil rig derrick. This logo remained with the team until they became the Titans in 1999. When the team moved to Tennessee, the logo was modified slightly to incorporate the state flag. In 1999, it was changed to a circle with three stars, blue and red flames and a large “T.” Many detractors came to refer to this design as the “Flaming Thumbtack.”
Current Tennessee Titans Stars
The following players are some of the most popular stars on the Tennessee Titans’ roster:
- Vince Young (QB)
- LenDale White (RB)
- Chris Henry (RB)
- Chris Johnson (RB)
- Justin McCareins (WR)
- Roydell Williams (WR)
- Alge Crumpler (TE)
- Kevin Mawae (Center)
- Jevon Kearse (DE)
- Keith Bulluck (LB)
- Albert Haynesworth (DT)
- Chris Hope (S)
Hall of Fame Players
The following players from the Oilers/Titans franchise have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame: Elvin Bethea, George Blanda, Earl Campbell, Ken Houston, Bruce Matthews, Mike Munchak and Warren Moon.
Retired Tennessee Titans Numbers
The following jersey numbers have been retired by the Titans: Warren Moon (1), Earl Campbell (34), Jim Norton (43), Mike Munchak (63), Elvin Bethea (65) and Bruce Matthews (74).