Very rarely do new uniforms in sports debut to unanimous fanfare. The reactions online to the Tennessee Titans debuting Houston Oilers-themed throwbacks ranged from praise to admonition. The praise comes as no surprise given that the Oilers’ uniforms generally make best-of lists for uniforms in NFL history. The admonition? Let’s just say the people of Houston still hold some vitriol for the franchise move in the ’90s.
Brief History of the Houston Oilers
From 1960 to 1996, the Oilers called Houston home. The team saw varying levels of success including two pre-merger AFL championships. However, in spite of their numerous playoff appearances from the merger on, they never managed to secure a conference championship and subsequent Super Bowl berth.
This didn’t stop the city of Houston from supporting the team through the good times and the bad -leading the brand to become a big part of Houston’s identity. After all, the team’s nickname very much tied into the fact that Houston’s dominant industry of oil and gas presented a big part of the city’s culture. Houston was an oil town and the Oilers were very much a Houston team.
It made sense then, that when Bud Adams elected to move the team to the greener pastures of Nashville, the Bayou City harbored some hard feelings. Now with the Titans debuting throwbacks featuring the logo and name that feel like a vital aspect of Houston culture, those old feelings have been brought to the surface.
Who Should Use The Oilers Throwbacks?
I love seeing the jerseys return to the gridiron but I can’t deny it feels a bit weird seeing the logo be used by the Titans. I’m not a native Houstonian but the Oilers feel like a uniquely Houstonian tradition. I think the Athletic’s Chris Vannini probably summed up my feelings on the situation with his tweet below.
It really feels like the
It really feels like the Texans, as the current NFL team in Houston, are the natural heir to the old Oilers name. Should anyone bring back the “Love Ya Blue” and oil derricks, Houston feels like the correct choice. Tennessee simply doesn’t have that same connection to oil.
On the other side of the argument, the Titans do still own the rights to the Oilers name. The franchise is still a linear descendant of Houston’s former team. Much like the Los Angeles Lakers keeping their name even after leaving Minneapolis and the Land of 10,000 Lakes – the influences of their original location are still present in spite of the move to Tennessee.
One thing is for sure. If the Titans don the Oilers throwbacks when they meet the Texans, folks around Houston will not be thrilled.
We’d love to hear your opinions on the Tennessee Titans using Houston Oilers throwbacks. Let us know on Twitter what you think!