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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tennessee Titans Uniform and Team History



Please click on the evolution of the Titans uniform poster above for a close-up version of the poster. The descriptions below give you some insight and background about the uniforms and/or eras depicted in the poster.


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Houston Oilers 1960 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1960 uniform
1960
Tennessee Oilers Owner/President K.S. "Bud" Adams Jr. was one of the founding fathers of the AFL. Billy Cannon, the Heisman Trophy winner from Louisiana State, was the Oilers' and the AFL's first big-name signing. In 1960 and 1961, Houston won back-to-back AFL titles. The Oilers almost won a third straight title in 1962, but they lost a thrilling, double-overtime game to the Dallas Texans, 20-17. At the time, it was the longest professional football game ever played—77:54.

Originally located in Houston, the team was known as the Oilers. After playing two seasons as the Tennessee Oilers, team owner Bud Adams formed an advisory committee to research names. A “Guess the Name” contest to gain additional feedback was held, and the committee selected the name “Titans”, citing the desire to have a nickname that reflected “strength, leadership and other heroic qualities.”

Among the many coaches who have led the successful Oilers teams were Lou Rymkus, who guided them to their first championship in 1960 and Wally Lemm, who coached the 1961 AFL title team.

In their first year of play, the Oilers finish first overall with a 10-4 record, leading them to the AFL Championship game. In front of 32,183 fans in Jeppesen Stadium, the Oilers win an exciting game 24-16 over the Chargers.

This light blue jersey has white player numbers on the front and on the sleeves, and as you can see they are outlined in red. The white pants have red and blue vertical stripes. The helmet has a white stripe along the top, and the logo of an Oil Rig is placed on the side.


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Houston Oilers 1961 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1961 uniform
1961
Tennessee Oilers Owner/President K.S. "Bud" Adams Jr. was one of the founding fathers of the AFL. Billy Cannon, the Heisman Trophy winner from Louisiana State, was the Oilers' and the AFL's first big-name signing. In 1960 and 1961, Houston won back-to-back AFL titles. The Oilers almost won a third straight title in 1962, but they lost a thrilling, double-overtime game to the Dallas Texans, 20-17. At the time, it was the longest professional football game ever played—77:54.

The fabled George Blanda, who played 26 years and was the Oilers' quarterback from 1960 to 1966, would be the first Titan to be inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

Among the many coaches who have led successful Oilers teams were Lou Rymkus, who guided them to their first championship in 1960 and Wally Lemm, who coached the 1961 AFL title team.

After a 10-3-1 season, the Oilers finish their season meeting the Chargers once again in the Championship game. In front of 29,556 fans at Balboa Stadium, Houston wins with a final score of 10-3.
This jersey now has ¾ length sleeves, and if you look closely, you will notice that the neckline is now blue. Note the mask on the helmet. The helmet also has a logo of an oil rig on the side.


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Houston Oilers 1965 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1965 uniform
1965
Houston started its AFL life in 1960 in Jeppesen Stadium, a high school facility that seated 33,000, before moving to 70,000-seat Rice Stadium in 1965. Unfortunately, the 1965 move didn’t help move them up in the standings, as the Oilers finish with a 4-10 record.

Although the team didn’t put up the numbers, some individual players did - the Oilers were led offensively by QB George Blanda, who passed for 2542 yards and 20 td’s and HB Ode Burrell who rushed for 528 yards.

This light blue jersey takes on a bit of a change from previous years adding three white stripes on the arms, removing the player numbers from the jersey, except on the front, and as you can see, the numbers are no longer outlined. The helmet also takes on a change as the mask changes along with the stripes. If you look closely, you will see that the player numbers have been added to the back of the helmet.


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Houston Oilers 1969 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1969 uniform
1969
In 1968, the Oilers moved into the nation's first domed stadium, the air-conditioned Astrodome, thus becoming the first team in professional football to play indoors on synthetic turf.

The period of time between 1966 and 1969 warrants a bit of explanation. The 8 team AFL began in 1960 as a rival league to the NFL - both leagues competed head to head for players, fans and TV revenue. And thus it was for 5 years - two separate leagues, two separate champions (although few people would have honestly believed that the AFL champion could have beaten the NFL champs). Then in 1965 the two leagues agreed to merge. It was decided that beginning in 1970 there would be only one league, the NFL, and that between 1966 and 1969 the AFL Champion would play the NFL Champion for the “World Championship”. It was only after the first World Championship had been played in 1966 that the name “Super Bowl” came into being.

Thus the 1966 season saw the first meeting of the AFL and NFL champions, with the NFL Champion Green Bay Packers humbling the AFL’s KC Chiefs 33-10. (Even though the game was played in 1967, most football historians refer to this as the 1966 Super Bowl because it was the culmination of the 1966 season.) The NFL superiority was on display again in 1967, when the NFL’s Packers pounded the AFL’s Raiders 33-14.
Then came 1968 and the stunning upset - the AFL’s NY Jets shocked the football world by beating the NFL’s heavily favored Baltimore Colts 16-7.

Thus the stage was set for the Super Bowl IV, the last meeting between the AFL and NFL Champions.

Since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, Houston has reached the playoffs 10 times. Unfortunately, the AFL championships the team won in the early 1960's are the only league titles the Oilers have won.

After playing to a 6-6-2 season, the Oilers would finish second, and during the AFL Inter-Divisional Playoff Game played at Alameda County Coliseum, the Raiders defeated the Oilers 56 - 7 in front of 53,539 fans.

This blue jersey has added red stripes to the arms, and have also added the player numbers to the shoulders of the jersey. If you look closely, you will see that the vertical stripes on the pants have also changed, making the blue stripe thicker and more pronounced. You will see that we have added a picture of a neck guard, and that is because most teams wore them for further protection when they get hit. Also, note the change of the mask on the helmet. As well, the helmet is now grey, and the oil rig is outlined with team colours.


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Houston Oilers 1973 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1973 uniform
1973
The Oilers fell into a slump, and after two embarrassing seasons, head coach Bill Peterson was replaced with Sid Gilman. The team went 1-18 in two seasons. They finish this year in 1-13, hoping a brighter future is shortly ahead of them.

The team was led by QB Dan Pastorini who passed for 1482 yards and 5 td’s. The defense was led by RB Fred Willis who rushed 579 yards.

This white jersey has removed the player numbers from the shoulders, and changed the red and blue stripes on the arms. The helmet is blue, with the red and white stripes along the top. The mask has changed, and if you look closely at the logo, you will see that the background of the oil rig is colored in.


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Houston Oilers 1979 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1979 uniform
1979
Among the many coaches who have led successful Oilers teams were Lou Rymkus, who guided them to their first championship in 1960 and Wally Lemm, who coached the 1961 AFL title team. "Bum" Phillips, who joined the team in 1975, led the Oilers to three straight playoff appearances between 1979 and 1981.

The Oilers finish in second place this season with a 11-5 record, and one again see themselves make it to the playoffs. The first team to feel the wrath of the Oilers was Denver. In the AFC Wild Card game, Houston defeated the Broncos 13-7 in front of 48,776 fans at the Astrodome. They’re second victims would be the San Diego Chargers, whom they played a close game with, winning 17-14 in front of 51,192 fans at San Diego Stadium. The last game for the Oilers in this season would be the AFC Championship Game played at Three Rivers Stadium, in front of 50,475 fans. The Oilers would lose the game 27 - 13.

This light blue jersey adds the player numbers to the sleeves above the red, blue and white stripes. The helmet is once again white, and the logo of the oil rig is outlined. If you look closely, you will see the change of the mask.


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Houston Oilers 1984 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1984 uniform
1984
Since 1983, the Oilers have seen three head coaches. Ed Bile resigned after six games, and was replaced by Chuck Studley. Hugh Campbell took over coaching duties, and they finish this season fourth overall, with a record of 2-14 on the season.

QB led the team with passing yards and td’s.

This white jersey has the striped moved to the edge of the arms. You will notice a patch on the left shoulder of the jersey. This celebrates the AFL’s silver anniversary from 1960 to 1984. If you look closely, you will see that mask has been changed, and the colour is now red.


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Houston Oilers 1989 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1989 uniform
1989
Among the many coaches who have led successful Oilers teams were Lou Rymkus, who guided them to their first championship in 1960 and Wally Lemm, who coached the 1961 AFL title team. "Bum" Phillips led the Oilers to three straight playoff appearances between 1979 and 1981, and between 1986 and 1989, Jerry Glanville took the Oilers to the postseason three times.

This season the Oilers finish with 9 wins and 7 losses, good for second overall. The Oilers see themselves playing the Steelers in the AFC Wild Card Game, only to lose at home in front of 58,306 fans by a final score of 26-23.

This white jersey has player numbers on the sleeves as well as the front. If you look closely, you will notice the change of the mask on the helmet.


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Houston Oilers 1993 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1993 uniform
1993
Among the many coaches who have led successful Oilers teams were Lou Rymkus, who guided them to their first championship in 1960 and Wally Lemm, who coached the 1961 AFL title team. "Bum" Phillips led the Oilers to three straight playoff appearances between 1979 and 1981, and between 1986 and 1989, Jerry Glanville took the Oilers to the postseason three times. In 1991 and 1993, Jack Pardee led Houston to its first division titles since the late 1960's.

The Oilers have qualified for the playoffs 15 times in the franchise's history. Since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, Houston has reached the playoffs 10 times. But the AFL championships this team won in the early 1960's are the only league titles for the Oilers.

The Oilers finish atop their division with a record of 12-4. In the AFC Wild Card Game, the Oilers find themselves facing up against the Buffalo Bills at Rich Stadium in front of 75,141 fans. Unfortunately for the Oilers, their season ends as the Bills win the game 41-38.

If you look closely at this jersey, you will note a smaller patch the NFL shield on the jersey’s neckline. Most NFL uniforms added the NFL logo patch to the neck and upper left thigh of the pants beginning in 1991 - an exception being in 1994 when teams occasionally wore "throwback" uniforms celebrating the NFL's 75th anniversary. If you look closely, you will see the changes to the mask of the helmet. Also note the circle at the back of the helmet displaying the player number.


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Tennessee Oilers 1997 uniform - Tennessee Titans 1997 uniform
1997
In 1997, the Oilers became the first NFL team to call Tennessee home when the franchise relocated to the Volunteer state. Two years later in 1999, the franchise retired the nickname Oilers and became known as the Titans. The change seemed to bring good luck with it as the Oilers went on to win the AFC Championship that year and earn a trip to Super Bowl XXXIV.

Finishing the season in third place with a record of 8-8, the Titans were led by QB Steve McNair who passed 2665 yards and 14 td’s.

If you look closely at this jersey, you will note a smaller patch the NFL shield on the jersey’s neckline. Most NFL uniforms added the NFL logo patch to the neck and upper left thigh of the pants beginning in 1991 - an exception being in 1994 when teams occasionally wore "throwback" uniforms celebrating the NFL's 75th anniversary.

The patch on the left shoulder celebrates the teams inaugural season in Tennessee. The team colors stay the same, however you will notice that the player numbers have been removed from the arms. Also note the change of the mask.


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Tennessee Titans 1999 uniform
1999
In 1997, the Oilers became the first NFL team to call Tennessee home when the franchise relocated to the Volunteer state. Two years later in 1999, the franchise retired the nickname Oilers and became known as the Titans. The change seemed to bring good luck with it as the Titans went on to win the AFC Championship that year and earn a trip to Super Bowl XXXIV.

The Titans finish in second place with a 13-3 record, where they would start the playoffs with a Wild Card Game against the Bills. In front of a home crowd, the Titans win the game 22-16. Next on the agenda would be the Divisional Championship, where they took on the Colts, winning 19-16. Their next victims would be the Jaguars, who in front of their home crowd, were defeated by the Titans by a score of 33-14. Unfortunately, the Titans could not muster another win, as they lose to the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV 23-16.

When the Oilers became the Tennessee Titans in 1999, they then took on a new modern-day look that pleased the fans of Tennessee. The team’s logo features the fire of the titans and exemplifies the characteristics of power, strength, knowledge and excellence.

If you look closely at this jersey, you will note a smaller patch the NFL shield on the jersey’s neckline. Most NFL uniforms added the NFL logo patch to the neck and upper left thigh of the pants beginning in 1991 - an exception being in 1994 when teams occasionally wore "throwback" uniforms celebrating the NFL's 75th anniversary.

With the change of the name came a change to the jerseys. The name Titans now appears just below the neckline, and the new logo of a sword and shield is placed on the arms. The player numbers are added to the shoulders, on this jersey in particular is a patch on the left shoulder which celebrates the teams trip to Super Bowl XXXIV. Where the oil rig once was, you now see the Titans logo. The three stars represent the three states of Tennessee. If you look closely, you will see a different facemask as well.


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Tennessee Titans 2001 uniform
2001
Led by QB Steve McNair, who passed 3350 yards and 21 td’s, the newly names Titans finish the season in fourth place with a 7-9 record.

If you look closely at this jersey, you will note a smaller patch the NFL shield on the jersey’s neckline. Most NFL uniforms added the NFL logo patch to the neck and upper left thigh of the pants beginning in 1991 - an exception being in 1994 when teams occasionally wore "throwback" uniforms celebrating the NFL's 75th anniversary.

With the change of the name came a change to the jerseys. The name Titans now appears just below the neckline, and the new logo of a sword and shield is placed on the arms. The player numbers are added to the shoulders, on this jersey in particular is a patch on the left shoulder which celebrates the teams trip to Super Bowl XXXIV. Where the oil rig once was is now replaced with the Titans logo. The three stars represent the three states of Tennessee. If you look closely, you will see a different facemask. Also. If you could see the back of the helmet, you would see an American flag honoring the heroes of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.


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Tennessee Titans 2007 uniform
2007
Text not yet written.

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Celebrate the Titans' uniform history by owning a piece of history:
If you love the Tennessee Titans and the history of the Titans franchise, you might really love to own an original piece of artwork celebrating the team's historic uniforms as seen in the poster at the top of this blog - you can actually own one of those original pieces of art! There are only 13 pieces of original art available for sale, and when these 13 are sold, that's it, they're all sold out.

These original watercolor paintings would make a great gift (birthday gift, anniversary gift, retirement gift, Christmas gift, etc.) for someone you love or even a great gift for yourself (one of these framed pieces would look fantastic in your home or office). Each piece can be bought one of three ways:
1. As unframed art that you could have framed or mounted yourself (the one on the left)
2. Framed in our "Classic" framed version (the middle version)
3. Framed in our "Deluxe" framed version (the version on the right)



If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our Tennessee Titans YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrr6O5kejxw or go directly to the artwork website www.heritagesportsart.com/Tennessee-Titans-c133/ where you can see and purchase the artwork.

And if someone you know loves the history of sports uniforms (but maybe another team) and loves great art, please let them know that we have over 1500 pieces of great original artwork for sale at www.heritagesportsart.com (all NFL teams, all MLB teams, all NHL teams, all CFL teams, select NCAA football teams) or check out each team's video at the Heritage Sports Art YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/user/ssillcox

And please search my blog archive http://heritagejerseys.blogspot.com/ for other blogs on the history of the Titans.

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This blog was written by Scott Sillcox and was last updated August 19, 2010. I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information, but I am human and can make mistakes. If you believe I have made a mistake, please let me know by email at ssillcox@rogers.com !

Many thanks!!!
Scott

2 comments:

  1. Why do you give offensive stats and call them "on the defensive side of things " A runningback or halfback (HB) plays on the offense. HB Ode Burrell rushed for 528 yards is an offensive statistic not a defensive statistic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quentin:

      Many thanks for taking the time to point out the error. I can’t quite imagine what I was thinking when I wrote that, but probably had something to do with trying to write too many “chunks” of sports info in too short a time. But hard to imagine ever calling rushing the ball a defensive stat. All fixed now - thanks for your help!

      Scott

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