Titans throwback jerseys, explained: What to know about Tennessee’s Houston Oilers uniforms, helmet

Why are the Tennessee Titans wearing Houston Oilers uniforms?

Better question: Why don’t they wear those uniforms all the time? Tennessee is wearing the throwback Oilers uniforms against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday as a part of Oilers/Titans Alumni Weekend. Tennessee will wear the uniforms again when they play the Houston Texans on Dec. 17.

That is going to conjure up memories of former Houston Oilers such as Earl Campbell, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson in the 1970s and Warren Moon in the 1980s and 1990s.

“I would love to see them wear those Oilers both times against the Texans – once in Houston, so the Houston fans can see it, and of course in Tennessee so the fans there can see the uniforms,” Moon said via Titans.com.

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Why are the Titans wearing the Oilers jersey now? A look at the history behind the uniforms.

Why are the Titans wearing Oilers jerseys? 

The Houston Oilers were in the AFL from 1960-69 before moving to the NFL, where the franchise played until relocating to Nashville, Tenn., in 1996.

From 1997-98, the franchise was called the Tennessee Oilers, and they wore the Oilers’ uniforms while playing in Tennessee. Those Oilers’ teams featured coach Jeff Fisher, Steve McNair and Eddie George – and they finished 8-8 both seasons.

In 1999, the franchise changed its name to Tennessee Titans.  Fisher, McNair and George were the cornerstones of that team, too.

Why are Oilers’ throwback uniforms so popular? 

Those Houston uniforms remain iconic, and it’s because of the Columbia blue jerseys with red trim around white numbers. The white helmet features an oil derrick, and the throwback jerseys will have “Luv Ya Blue” on the neckline.

That’s an homage to the 1970s teams that featured coach Bum Phillips and Campbell in the backfield. Houston wore those uniforms beginning in 1975 in Phillips’ first season. Houston finished 55-35 from 1975-80, and they made appearances in back-to-back AFC championship games in 1978 and 1979.

The uniforms also are a reminder of the “Run-and-shoot” era with Moon. The Oilers reached the AFC playoffs seven straight seasons from 1987-93 with one of the most-exciting offenses in the NFL. Houston ranked seventh or better in points scored over those seven seasons.

When was the last time Titans wore Oilers jerseys? 

This is the first time since the franchise changed the name to Titans. On Nov. 15, 2009, Tennessee wore the original Houston AFL uniforms in a 41-17 victory against the Buffalo Bills. Chris Johnson rushed for 132 yards and two TDs, and Vince Young had 210 passing yards in the game.

So, the last time Tennessee wore these uniforms was on Dec. 26, 1998. Minnesota beat the Oilers 26-16 in a game where Randall Cunningham threw TD passes to Cris Carter and Randy Moss.

Will the Titans wear Oilers uniforms against the Texans?

Tennessee will wear Houston Oilers uniforms against the Houston Texans in their AFC South rivalry matchup on Dec. 17.

The Texans were an expansion team who played their first season in 2002. Houston has made six playoff appearances, and they have a good rivalry with the Titans. Tennessee is 23-19 against Houston in the all-time series, and the throwback uniforms will be an interesting touch in the series.

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