Football in Houston
Texans made their National Football League debut in Canton at the 2002
AFC-NFC Hall of Fame Game on August 5. One month later, quarterback David
Carr and the Texans shocked the Dallas Cowboys in the regular season opener.
It marked just the second time in NFL history that an expansion team won
its first game. The Minnesota Vikings, led by rookie QB Fran Tarkenton
accomplished the feat for the first time in 1961.
of professional football to Houston was widely celebrated. The tradition
of the pro game in Houston began in 1960 and continues with the Texans
of the pro game in Houston came with the formation of the American Football
League. The Houston Oilers quickly became one of the league's premier
teams. In fact, the Oilers claimed the first two AFL championships in
1960 and 1961. In 10 seasons in the AFL, Houston compiled a 70-66-4 regular
season record and qualified for the playoffs five times. The AFL merged
with the NFL and the Oilers joined the AFC Central Division in 1970. Since
the AFL-NFL merger, the Oilers advanced to the post-season 10 times including
seven straight seasons from 1987 to 1993.
years, the Oilers were led by stars such as Hall of Famers George Blanda,
Earl Campbell, Ken Houston, Mike Munchak, and other players such as Warren
Moon, Ken Burrough, Drew Hill, Ernest Givins, Haywood Jeffires, Billy
Johnson, Billy Cannon, Gregg Bingham, Al Smith, and Ray Childress.
relocated to Tennessee in 1997 and one year later changed its nickname
the years, the Oilers had company on the pro football scene in Houston.
The World Football League was formed in 1974 and included a team also
known as the Houston Texans. The team's stay was brief as the the league
took over the franchise and moved it to Shreveport, Louisiana at mid-season.
The Texans posted a 3-7-1 record before closing up shop in the Lone Star
state. Perhaps the most well known player on the Texans was fullback Jim
Nance who was a 1,000-yard rusher with the New England Patriots. After
his NFL career, he jumped to the WFL where he posted another 1,000-yard
effort for the Houston/Shreveport team.
In the 1980s,
the Houston Gamblers joined the United States Football League in 1984.
The team was led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. In two
seasons with the Gamblers, Kelly threw for an amazing 9,842 yards and
83 touchdowns. The Gamblers claimed the USFL's Western Division title
in its inaugural season but was bounced from the playoffs in a 17-16 loss
to the Arizona Wranglers. Houston went 10-8 in 1985 for a third place
finish in the Western Conference standings. Again, the post-season was
short as the Birmingham Stallions downed the Gamblers, 22-20 in the first
round of the playoffs. The USFL folded following the 1985 season.
Houston Texans History
stun Cowboys in season opener