Initially founded in Houston as the Oilers, the Tennessee Titans have been around since 1959. The franchise left Houston and went to Nashville in 1997. Since then, the Titans have been building steam as members of the National Football League. As competitors of the AFC South, the Titans have seen a fair share of success over the seasons. Let’s take a look at some of the franchise history of both the Oilers and the Titans.
Nissan Stadium is the Home of the Titans
Obviously, with many years in Houston, the franchise has seen its share of venues to call home. In Houston, the first place they played their home games was Jeppesen Stadium. They spent just a few seasons there before moving to Rice Stadium in 1965. This was another short stay before finally settling into the Houston Astrodome during the 1968 season. They stayed there until 1996, which was the end of the Houston time.
When they moved to Nashville, they spent one season in Memphis as a transition. The 1997 season was played at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Then, Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville in 1998, to give time to build where they play now – Nissan Stadium.
Nissan Stadium broke ground in 1997 and was opened in 1999. The attendance record for the stadium is 71,000, which was recently at a Taylor Swift concert. For football games, they typically hold right over 69,000 fans.
Since moving to Nissan Stadium, the Titans have been a good home team, including winning their first 13 straight. The Titans have made the postseason nine times and been to the AFC title game 3 times and one Super Bowl trip.
Nissan Stadium is home of the Music City Miracle, a play that goes down in the history of the National Football League in 2000. Other events go on at Nissan Stadium, such as Major League Soccer, numerous concerts, and of course, College Football games as well.
Why the Titans And Who Are They?
Of course, the Oilers came from the long history of Oil Rigs in the city of Houston. But, the name for the Titans coming over from Nashville was the question. Many do not realize that the team was actually the Nashville Oilers for the first two seasons. Once again, like many teams in the National Football League, they held a team name contest.
Owner Bud Adams chose the name “Titans” out of all the entries in the contest. He chose this name because he felt it reflected the heroic and epic qualities he believed the good people of Nashville had. Originally, they were the Tennessee Titans to represent the entire state of Tennessee.
Historical Records for the Tennessee Titans
Many know Earl Campbell was great, but do they realize how great? In just 15 games during the 1980 season, Campbell rushed for 1,934 yards. The most impressive part was he had 200 yards in a game four times that season, including back-to-back in Weeks 7 and 8.
Rob Bironas is in the record book as a kicker. In 2007, he made eight field goals in one game to beat the Houston Texans. His 29-yarder in that game as time expired capped a 38-36 win.
Chris Johnson is in the record book. During the 2009 season, he rushed for 2,006 yards and beat the record for most yards from scrimmage with 2,509. Johnson that season finished with 11 straight games of 100+ yards in a game.
Eddie George was an icon for the franchise. The running back rushed for over 10,000 yards.
Lastly, the Titans are in the record book for the -7 yards passing game. In 2009, the snow was coming down like crazy, and the Titans were at the Patriots. The worst loss in franchise history saw 59-0, with Kerry Collins and Vince Young combining for -7 passing yards. That is a record for the fewest passing yards in a game, dating back to 1950. The crazy part about it – the first completed pass of the game for the Titans was for 15 yards. It went downhill from there.
Super Bowl Titles for the Titans
The Titans earned two AFL Championships prior to the AFL-NFL merger of 1970. Those came in 1960 and 1961. The Titans have been to the Super Bowl one time, and that was in 1999. This was one of the most memorable games in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XXXIV was played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The St. Louis Rams were the opponent, and over 72,000 were in attendance. Dick Vermeil took on Jeff Fisher as the battle of the head coaches. This game goes down as “The Tackle” game, with Kevin Dyson being tackled by Mike Jones at the one-yard line as time expired to give the Rams the Super Bowl win. Kurt Warner was the MVP, becoming the sixth player to win the MVP during the regular season and Super Bowl MVP in the same season.
The franchise has 11 divisional times, four of them in the AFL Eastern before the merger and then 7 since. The Titans won the AFC Central in 1991, 1993, and 2020 before moving to the AFC South and winning it in 2002, 2008, 2020, and 2021.
Famous Quarterbacks for the Tennessee Titans
Warren Moon currently leads all Oilers/Titans quarterbacks in games played with 141. He is not far ahead of Steve McNair, but the numbers from there are different. Moon is ahead of McNair in passing yards by nearly 700 and threw 196 touchdowns to McNair’s 156. Moon did throw 166 interceptions in his career, while McNair was at 103.
Dan Pastorini, George Blanda, and Marcus Mariota round out the Top 5 for games played, while Ryan Tannehill and Vince Young are the next two. Pastrorini did not have a great statistical career, as he threw 139 interceptions to just 96 touchdowns. Blanda is actually second on the list in touchdowns thrown with 165, while Mariota and Tannehill are at 76 and 89, respectively.
As far as postseason success, Blanda was the first quarterback to play in the postseason for the franchise. He went three seasons and went 2-3. Pete Beathard was next but lost both starts. Dan Pastorini got 5 starts and actually won 3 games, while Gofford Nielen also went 1-0. Ken Stabler got a playoff start in 1980 but lost it, as well as Cody Carlson in 1990.
Warren Moon went to the postseason six times in his career. He finished with a 3-6 record. Next came the Steve McNair years. McNair was the quarterback in the Super Bowl, and went he was all said and done, finished 5-4.
Vince Young and Kerry Collins could not win a playoff game as quarterbacks, while Marcus Mariota went 1-1 in 2017. Finally, Ryan Tannehill enters the 2023 season with a 2-3 postseason record.
Tennessee Titans Hall of Famers
The Titans/Oilers franchise has 16 guys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with 9 of them considered part of the franchise for more than just a season or two. They also have two coaches and executives, but only for a short period of time. Those are Sammy Baugh, coach in 1964, and Sid Gilman, who spent just two seasons with the franchise.
The first player from the organization inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was George Blanda. The quarterback and kicker from 1960-1966 were inducted in 1981. After that came Ken Houston in 1986. Houston was a safety with the Oilers from 1967-1972.
Earl Campbell was a dynamite running back that spent 7 seasons with the organization. He was inducted in 1991. It wasn’t until 2021 that offensive guard Mike Munchak was inducted. Munchak played from 1982-1993.
Elvin Bethea, defensive end, Warren Moon, quarterback, Bruce Matthews, offensive tackle, and Curley Culp all were inducted with Munchak during the early 2000s. The most recent was 2018, when linebacker Robert Brazile was inducted.
Names of guys that spent just small blips of their careers with the franchise include John Henry Johnson, Charlie Joiner, Dave Casper, Ken Stabler, Randy Moss, Kevin Mawae, and Steve Hutchinson.
Final Tennessee Titans Tidbits
The Titans do have a mascot, and his name is T-Rac. He is a raccoon, which represents the state animal of Tennessee. He has been at every game since the 1999 season. T-Rac is most popularly known for its zip-line from the top of the stadium.
Bad news for the franchise, the Titans are one of the 12 NFL franchises to have never won a Super Bowl.
In the 1999 season, the Titans were the only team that could beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. These two teams are divisional rivals, and just could not get by them. The Titans beat them twice in the regular season and, in the AFC title game, beat them again.
The franchise has taken the top pick in the NFL Draft twice in their history. The first time they took John Matuszack, and the second time Earl Campbell. The franchise has not had the top pick since 1978.