Houston history

01/01/2005

Pro Football in Houston

The 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.

Earl Campbell

The return of professional football to Houston was widely celebrated. The tradition of the pro game in Houston began in 1960 and continues with the Texans in 2002.

The debut 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.

Over the 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.

The team relocated to Tennessee in 1997 and one year later changed its nickname to Titans.

Over 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.

Jim Kelly

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

Texans stun Cowboys in season opener

 


 


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