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History

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History: 1970s
1970
  • January 15-Oiler LB George Webster named to Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Time AFL defensive unit. The three-year Oiler veteran was youngest player named to the team.
  • June 30-Oiler veterans join NFL Players Association strike. Owners bar veterans from training camps. Dispute revolved around pension plan.
  • July 14-Oilers open training camp at Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, Texas with only rookies reporting.
  • August 3-Veterans report to training camp after settlement of NFL-NFLPA pension dispute.
  • August 29-Oilers defeat Dallas Cowboys 37-21 in Astrodome as Jerry LeVias scores three touchdowns in game.
  • November 1-Oiler Head Coach Wally Lemm, who led Oilers to AFL title in 1961 and to Eastern Division title in 1967, announces he will retire at the end of 1970 season.
1971
  • January 21-Oiler owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr., names Ed Hughes to be the sixth head coach in Oiler history.
  • January 26-Oilers trade RB Hoyle Granger, T Terry Stoepel and DE Charles Blossom to New Orleans for DT Dave Rowe and WR Ken Burrough.
  • January 28-The Oilers, who pick third behind Boston and New Orleans in the college draft, select QB Dan Pastorini of Santa Clara in the first round and grab QB Lynn Dickey of Kansas State in the third round.
  • May 5-Oilers name John W. Breen as general manager, replacing Bob Brodhead. Breen was the first employee hired by Oiler owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr., in 1959 when the American Football League was formed.
  • December 12-S Ken Houston ties all-time pro record for touchdowns on interceptions with theft against Buffalo in Oilers' 20-14 victory. Houston tied record of seven set by Erich Barnes and Herb Adderley.
  • December 19-Oilers close out season with third straight victory by blasting San Diego 49-33 for highest point production since 1963. S Ken Houston establishes all-time pro record with two touchdowns on interceptions. The five-year veteran intercepted successive John Hadl passes in the third quarter and returned them for touchdowns of 35 and 29 yards to run his career total to nine. His four returns of interceptions for TDs in one year is also an NFL record.
  • December 24-Oiler DE Elvin Bethea and S Ken Houston are named to AFC Pro Bowl squad. It is second straight selection for Houston.
  • December 30-Oilers name former Florida State and Rice University coach Bill Peterson as their new head coach.
1972
  • March 21-K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr., spearheads a drive which lands the 1974 Super Bowl game for Houston. The game will be played in Rice Stadium on January 13, 1974.
  • April 9-Walt Schlinkman is named by Oilers as Director of Player Personnel.
  • October 1-Oilers stun Joe Namath and New York Jets 26-20 in the Astrodome for only victory of 1972 season.
1973
  • March 2-Veteran coach and front office executive Sid Gillman accepts position of Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Houston Oilers, replacing John Breen, who retired.
  • October 16-Bill Peterson is fired as head coach of Oilers after 48-20 loss to Denver, making Peterson's regular season record in 1 1/2 years 1-18. Sid Gillman assumes dual role of General Manager/Head Coach for the rest of year.
  • November 5-Oilers win only game of 1973 season, 31-27, over Baltimore Colts as QB Lynn Dickey completes 22-of-32 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns.
  • December 19-Oiler DE Elvin Bethea named to Pro Bowl team for third straight year.
1974
  • January 18-Sid Gillman announces decision to remain as General Manager/Head Coach for at least one more season, ending speculation that a new head coach would be named.
  • February 8-Former New Orleans and New York Jets coach Ed Biles joins Oilers as defensive assistant.
  • March 7-O.A. "Bum" Phillips, a veteran Texas high school and college coach who was with Sid Gillman at San Diego, is hired by Oilers as defensive coordinator.
  • August 28-Oiler T John Matuszak tries to jump his contract and sign with World Football League Houston Texans. Oilers obtain temporary restraining order and present it to Matuszak at Texans' game with New York Stars. Matuszak is put on inactive list until trial.
  • September 5-Oilers and WFL Texans meet in court over John Matuszak dispute.
  • September 9-State District Judge Arthur Lesher grants temporary injunction against John Matuszak playing for any other team than Oilers until further court hearings. Matuszak remains on inactive list.
  • September 15-Oilers open regular season with 21-14 win over San Diego, Houston's first regular season home victory since October 1, 1972.
  • October 22-Oilers trade John Matuszak and No. 3 draft choice to Kansas City for Curley Culp and draft choice, ending court battle.
  • December 15-Oilers defeat Cleveland for first time in history, 28-24, and complete a 7-7 season, the best in Houston since 1968.
1975
  • January 25-O.A. "Bum" Phillips named Oiler head coach by Sid Gillman, who says he will remain in single role as general manager.
  • February 14-Sid Gillman leaves Oilers as general manager by mutual consent with owner "Bud" Adams. Bum Phillips adds title of general manager to head coaching duties.
  • September 21-Oilers open 1975 NFL season with 7-0 win over New England Patriots. Only TD was fumble return for score by Oilers' Willie Germany in first quarter.
  • October 12-Houston scores its first win in history at Cleveland with 40-10 triumph.
  • October l9-Oilers come from behind to defeat Washington 13-10 in Astrodome for first win ever over NFC team.
  • November 16-Oilers get 20-19 win over Miami as Billy Johnson ties all-time pro record for return TDs in one season (4).
  • December 21-Oilers close out finest season since 1962 with 21-10 win over Cleveland, giving Bum Phillips a 10-4-0 record in his first year as a head coach. Oilers set a new home attendance record, averaging 48,000 in seven home games.
1976
  • February 10-Wade Phillips, son of Head Coach Bum Phillips, named to Oiler coaching staff as LB coach. Phillips had been an assistant at University of Kansas.
  • April 1-Oilers lose Fred Hoaglin, Mark Cotney and Jesse O'Neal in NFL expansion draft.
  • April 2-Oilers trade QB Lynn Dickey to Green Bay for QB John Hadl, CB Ken Ellis, draft choices and cash.
1977
  • January 14-Head Coach and General Manager Bum Phillips announces the appointment of Ken Shipp as offensive coordinator with King Hill becoming receiver coach and the appointment of Joe Bugel as offensive line coach.
  • February 2-Pat Peppler is named assistant general manager.
  • October 9-Oilers march into first place in the AFC Central Division after whipping Pittsburgh 27-10 at the Astrodome, but lose Dan Pastorini to an ankle and back injury.
  • November 13-Oakland holds off Oilers 34-29 as Houston DE Elvin Bethea suffers a broken arm after playing in 135 consecutive games, a team record.
1978
  • January 7-Owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr., announces the appointment of Ladd K. Herzeg as Senior Vice-President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Houston Oilers.
  • January 24-Curley Culp, Ken Burrough, Billy Johnson and Robert Brazile play for AFC on Pro Bowl team.
  • April 15-Oilers announce a long-term contract with Texas State Network to air Oiler games.
  • April 24-Oilers trade three draft picks and TE Jimmie Giles to Tampa Bay for rights to 1978 number one draft selection in order to choose Texas All-America and Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell.
  • October 23-Houston ends Pittsburgh's seven-game win streak with Monday night victory over the Steelers, 21-17. It marks Houston's first win ever on Monday Night Football.
  • November 12-Houston comes from 23-0 deficit to capture 26-23 win over New England Patriots.
  • November 20-Earl Campbell rushes for four touchdowns against Miami Dolphins in Oilers' 35-30 victory. Campbell's two Monday night appearances net him 7 of his 13 season TDs.
  • November 26-Earl Campbell gains 100 yards rushing vs. Cincinnati before home crowd to tie NFL record for most 100-yard games by a rookie - 7 (ties Franco Harris and Don Woods). Also breaks Oiler single season records for most yards rushing (Hoyle Granger, 1,194 yards in 1967) and most rushing attempts (Charlie Tolar, 224 yards in 1962).
  • December 10-Houston captures 17-12 decision over New Orleans Saints to clinch berth in AFC Wild Card game versus Miami.
  • December 24-Houston wins first playoff game since 1961 by defeating Miami 17-9 in the Orange Bowl.
  • December 31-Oilers continue playoff march with 31-14 win against New England before 61,297 chilled fans in Foxboro, Mass.
1979
  • January 7-Houston playoff dreams end as Pittsburgh takes 34-5 victory in AFC Championship Game. Oilers welcomed by 50,000 loyal fans in the Astrodome as radio station KILT sponsors homecoming.
  • January 30-Earl Campbell, Elvin Bethea, Robert Brazile and Curley Culp represent Houston in the Pro Bowl in Los Angeles.
  • August 3-Oiler T Greg Sampson undergoes brain surgery which signals the end to a promising career.
  • December 10-Before national television audience, Houston defeats division nemesis Pittsburgh 20-17, giving Oilers spot in 1979 playoffs.
  • December 17-Several Oilers lock up individual titles: Earl Campbell is NFL rushing champion for the second consecutive year; Mike Reinfeldt captures the crown for most interceptions in NFL with 12; Toni Fritsch is the most accurate field goal kicker, connecting on 21-25 attempts; and Jesse Baker leads the AFC in QB sacks with 15 1/2.
  • December 23-In first playoff game played in Houston since 1962, Oilers defeat Denver Broncos 13-7. Key offensive players Earl Campbell, Dan Pastorini and Ken Burrough are all injured, and their status for the following game versus San Diego is questionable.
  • December 29-Oilers defeat San Diego 17-14 without injured Earl Campbell, Dan Pastorini and Ken Burrough. Backup QB Gifford Nielsen plays conservative offense as Rob Carpenter, who was injured earlier in the week and was on crutches the night before the game, gains 67 yards rushing in his best effort of the season. The big star of the game is S Vernon Perry as he intercepts an NFL-record four passes in a playoff game.

1980s | Back to Historical Highlights >>