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History: 1980s
1980
  • January 6-In a rematch of the 1978 AFC Championship Game, the Steelers win 27-13 in a game that saw a controversial call keep Mike Renfro from scoring what would have been the tying score late in third quarter.
  • January 7-In the wee hours of the morning, the Oilers return from Pittsburgh to an excited throng of 70,000 people at the Astrodome.
  • January 28-Six Oilers represent Houston in the Pro Bowl: RB Earl Campbell, T Leon Gray, PK Toni Fritsch, LB Robert Brazile, S Mike Reinfeldt and DE Elvin Bethea.
  • September 15-Before the largest stadium crowd to ever witness an Oilers' game (80,243), Houston defeats the Browns in Cleveland Stadium 16-7. The game was also televised before a national audience on Monday Night Football.
  • October 14-Oilers acquire All-Pro TE Dave Casper from Oakland for undisclosed draft picks.
  • October 19-Earl Campbell becomes only the second RB in the history of the Oiler franchise to rush for over 200 yards in a single game when he leads the Oilers to a 21-14 triumph over Tampa Bay with 206 yards. Club rushing record for single game is 216 yards by Billy Cannon (Dec. 10, 1961 vs. New York Titans).
  • October 26-Earl Campbell ties NFL record for most consecutive 200-yard games rushing (two) with 202 yards vs. Cincinnati in the Astrodome. Campbell now shares record with O.J. Simpson (Buffalo, 1973, 1976). Oilers defeat Bengals 23-3.
  • December 4-Houston's defense shuts out the Pittsburgh Steelers 6-0. Toni Fritsch provides all the points the Oilers need with two field goals. This marked the third evening prime-time win of the season for the Oilers as the game was played in the Astrodome before a sellout crowd and a national television audience. It marked the first shutout registered by the Oilers since a 47-0 win over the Chicago Bears. (November 6, 1977).
  • December 21-Oilers clinch third playoff spot in as many years with 20-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the Astrodome. Earl Campbell sets NFL record by rushing for over 200 yards in single game four times in one season. He finishes season with 1,934 yards, second highest total in NFL history behind O.J. Simpson's 2,003 yards in 1973. The Oilers must wait until the final game of the season to see who their playoff opponent will be, as their 11-5 record equals that of division foe Cleveland, but Oilers become Wild Card participant due to tie-breaker procedures.
  • December 28-Oilers season comes to an end with disappointing AFC Wild Card loss at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders. The loss marks the third consecutive year that the Oilers have been eliminated from the playoff picture by the eventual Super Bowl champions (Pittsburgh Steelers in both 1978 and 1979).
  • December 31-K.S. "Bud" Adams Jr., relieves Bum Phillips of his duties as Head Coach and General Manager. Ladd K. Herzeg is promoted from post of Senior Vice-President/Chief Administrative Officer to the position of Executive Vice-President and General Manager of the Oilers.
1981
  • January 3-Oilers announce the selection of Ed Biles as their new head coach. Biles had been Oilers' defensive coordinator since 1975.
  • February 8-Dick Nolan, former Head Coach for the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers, is named defensive coordinator.
  • February 15-Mike Holovak is named as Assistant General Manager by the Oilers.
  • September 6-Oilers defeat Rams at season opener at Los Angeles 27-20 as rookie Willie Tullis returns kickoff 95 yards for score in final minute of game. Win gives Ed Biles his first as head coach of NFL club.
1982
  • January 19-Former All-Pro S Ken Houston returns to Oilers as defensive assistant assigned to work with the DBs. Houston had been All-Pro performer before being traded to Redskins where he retired following 1980 season.
  • January 31-Oilers open 2.5 million dollar training facility less than two miles from Astrodome. Owner-President K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr., provides funds for what must be considered one of top facilities in the NFL.
  • February 3-Oilers announce new three-year contract with Mutual Broadcasting System for radio rights to Houston's games. KTRH-AM in Houston will serve as flagship station.
  • March 18-Oilers announce that head coach Ed Biles has been given a contract extension. Terms of the contract were not released.
  • April 28-Oilers select Penn State G Mike Munchak in first round of NFL draft. It is the first number one choice in the draft that Oilers have had since Earl Campbell was selected in first round in 1978.
  • May 3-Computer added to Oilers lineup to assist club with player personnel, college scouting, ticket and business operations as well as many other functions within the organization.
  • September 17-Oilers acquire QB Archie Manning from New Orleans Saints in one-for-one swap for T Leon Gray.
  • September 20-NFL Players Association strike announced.
  • November 16-Settlement of 57-day player strike announced by NFL Management Council and NFL Players Association.
1983
  • January 2-Oilers fall to Cincinnati Bengals 35-27 to conclude 1982 regular season play. This game was re-scheduled from November 14 (canceled due to players' strike).
  • January 25-Chuck Studley joins Oilers as defensive coordinator after successful stints with San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl champs following '81 season) and Cincinnati Bengals.
  • February 1-Oilers perennial All-Pro DE Elvin Bethea decides not to retire following 1982 season and will return for his 16th year in the NFL, all with the Oilers.
  • February 2-Oilers announce promotion of Mike Holovak from Assistant General Manager to VP/Player Personnel. Holovak's contract with the club is extended through the 1986 season.
  • April 6-Jerry Trupiano, Wally Lemm (former Oilers Head Coach) and John O'Reilly named to Oilers radio broadcast team. KTRH in Houston will again serve as the flagship station for the Oilers/Mutual Radio Network.
  • April 23-The Oilers announce trade of their second pick in first round to Los Angeles Rams for the third pick overall in draft. Oilers receive Rams' fourth-round choice in 1983 and fourth-round choice in 1984 for moving down one notch in first round.
  • April 24-The Oilers announce their second trade in as many days involving Oilers' first-round draft pick. Oilers trade third choice overall in first round to Seattle for ninth choice overall in first round plus Seahawks' second- and third-round picks in 1983 (combining trades of April 24-25, Oilers moved from second position in first round to ninth and acquired Seahawks' second- and third-round choice in 1983 and Rams' fourth round choice in 1983 and 1984, a total of four additional picks).
  • April 26-Oilers select T Bruce Matthews from USC in round one of NFL draft with the ninth choice in the round. Also, for first time since 1969, the Oilers had each of their choices through the first nine rounds.
  • August 4-In preseason opener, ceremonies honoring Elvin Bethea's sixteen years with the club occur at halftime. Bethea's jersey, #65, will be retired at the conclusion of the season.
  • October 10-Head Coach Ed Biles resigns after two and one-half years as head coach.
  • October 11-The Oilers appoint Defensive Coordinator Chuck Studley as interim head coach.
  • October 20-Oilers trade QB Archie Manning and TE Dave Casper to Minnesota for second- and fourth-round picks in 1984 draft.
  • December 18-Oilers close season with 20-10 loss at Baltimore (Colts' final game played in Baltimore before moving to Indianapolis).
1984
  • January 3-The Oilers name Hugh Campbell as new head coach.
  • January 30-Announcement is made that Kay Dalton will remain as offensive coordinator and also that Jerry Glanville will become new defensive coordinator.
  • February 3-The Oilers announce that they win the "recruiting war" for free agent QB Warren Moon.
  • February 10-Entire organization loses tremendous friend with the passing of radio talk-show host John Breen. Breen was first employee hired by the Oilers in 1959 and served in numerous front office capacities, including General Manager and Director of Player Personnel.
  • May 1-Oilers officially select Dean Steinkuhler and also draft a total of 14 players during the one-day marathon. Of the 14 selected, 10 were defensive players.
  • September 6-Oilers and City of Houston celebrate 25th season of professional football at "Silver Salute," which is held on the floor of the Astrodome. The black-tie gala consists of dinner, dancing and an auction with all proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House. This date is also proclaimed "Houston Oilers Day'' by Mayor Kathryn J. Whitmire.
  • October 9-Oilers trade RB Earl Campbell to New Orleans Saints for first round choice in 1985 draft. The Oilers also obtain C Jim Romano from Raiders for Houston's third- and sixth-round picks in 1985.
  • October 26-Oilers announce that KODA-FM will be new flagship station for Oilers' radio broadcasts beginning in 1985. The Oilers and KODA-FM sign a multi-year contract.
  • November 11-Oilers defeat Chiefs 17-16 in Kansas City after losing opening ten games of the season as Hugh Campbell gets first win as NFL head coach.
  • November 18-Houston wins second consecutive game as Jets fall by a 31-20 margin in the Astrodome. Warren Moon again hits for over 70 percent of his attempts (20 of 28 for 71 percent) and throws for three TDs. Larry Moriarty rushes for 138 yards for second consecutive 100-plus-yard game.
  • December 2-Houston defeats Steelers in overtime thriller 23-20 for third win in four weeks before home crowd. Joe Cooper kicks winning field goal with 5:53 elapsed in extra period. It is the first overtime loss in Steeler history.
  • December 12-G Mike Munchak is selected to play in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl game in Honolulu.
  • December 17-Warren Moon completes his first NFL season with 3,338 yards passing, breaking the team record set by George Blanda in 1961 (3,330). Tim Smith's 1,141 yards receiving enabled him to become third player in Oilers' history to post consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons after gaining 1,176 in 1983. Bill Groman (1960-61) and Charlie Hennigan (1963-64) were the others.
1985
  • July 1-The Oilers sign 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier. Rozier was selected by the Oilers in the first round of the 1984 Supplemental Draft of USFL players.
  • July 2-WR Drew Hill is acquired by the Oilers in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams.
  • August 3-The Oilers battle the New York Giants in the annual NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, with the Giants winning 21-20. The game also makes radio history as the first stereo broadcast of an NFL game on KODA-FM.
  • December 9-Hugh Campbell is relieved of his duties as head coach. The club names Defensive Coordinator Jerry Glanville as interim head coach for the season's remaining two games.
1986
  • January 2-The Oilers release seven assistant coaches from their employment contracts. The seven coaches are John Devlin, Joe Faragalli, Gene Gaines, Ken Houston, Bruce Lemmerman, Bob Padilla and Al Roberts.
  • January 20-Jerry Glanville signs a five-year contract as Head Coach of the Oilers. Glanville served the final two 1985 games as interim head coach in addition to serving as defensive coordinator since 1984.
  • February 2-G Mike Munchak starts for the AFC in the annual Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • April 29-The Oilers select Purdue QB Jim Everett with their first selection in the 1986 NFL Draft. The team follows by selecting Louisville WR Ernest Givins in the second round and RB Allen Pinkett of Notre Dame in the third round.
  • August 30-The Oilers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 17-14 to finish the preseason with a 4-0 record. It marks the first time since 1965 that the Oilers have completed their preseason schedule undefeated.
  • September 18-The Oilers trade QB Jim Everett, the third player selected in the 1986 draft, to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for G Kent Hill, DE William Fuller, the Rams' number one draft choices in 1987 and '88 and L.A.'s fifth rounder in 1987.
  • December 21-Houston concludes the 1986 season on a positive note, defeating the Buffalo Bills 16-7. WR Drew Hill catches five passes for 114 yards giving him 1,112 yards for the season as he joins rookie Ernest Givins (1,062 yards) to form the 19th tandem in NFL history to each surpass the 1,000-yard receiving mark. In addition, QB Warren Moon throws for 208 yards to finish the year with 3,489 yards and break his own single-season club record. PK Tony Zendejas connects on all three of his field goal attempts and his 22 three-pointers establishes a new Oiler high.
1987
  • July 1-The Oilers announce plans to retire the #34 jersey of former RB Earl Campbell, the leading rusher in club history. The ceremony is scheduled for August 13.
  • October 4-The Oilers win their first "replacement" game in Denver 40-10 as QB Brent Pease throws for 260 yards and a TD and LB Eugene Seale returns an interception 73 yards for a touchdown.
  • October 25-With the players' strike over, the Oiler "regulars" return to action with a 37-33 win over the Falcons as RB Mike Rozier rushes for 144 yards while rookie WR Curtis Duncan catches two TD passes including the game-winner.
  • October 28-First-round draftee FB Alonzo Highsmith ends his holdout by agreeing to a multi-year contract.
  • November 3-The Oilers acquire veteran T Bruce Davis from the Raiders for what later becomes a 1988 second-round draft choice.
  • November 4-T/G Bruce Matthews ends his holdout by agreeing to terms with the Oilers.
  • November 15-The Oilers earn their first victory in Three Rivers Stadium since 1978, beating the Steelers 23-3 as QB Warren Moon completes 16 of 22 passes for 239 yards and two TDs.
  • December 15-Along with several prominent Houston business leaders, K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr., holds a press conference to announce that the goal of marketing 75% of the new Columbia Suites by December 15 has been met.
  • December 23-The Oilers place three players on the AFC Pro Bowl roster, their largest contingent since 1981. Chosen to play in the Honolulu all-star game are S Keith Bostic, G Mike Munchak and RB Mike Rozier.
  • December 27-The Oilers clinch their first playoff berth since 1980 as they defeat the Bengals 21-17 before an SRO crowd at the Astrodome. Rookie FB Alonzo Highsmith scores two TDs and QB Warren Moon throws his 21st scoring pass of the season. That marks the most TD passes by an Oiler since George Blanda tossed 24 in 1963.
1988
  • January 3-In an AFC Wild Card Playoff, the Oilers defeat the Seahawks 23-20 in overtime on Tony Zendejas' 42-yard field goal.
  • January 10-The Oilers' season ends as the Broncos defeat them 34-10 in an AFC Divisional Playoff before 75,968 fans in Mile High Stadium.
  • April 21-The Oilers acquire DE Sean Jones from Raiders along with L.A.'s second-round draft choice. Houston gives up one of its first-round draft picks, a fourth-round selection and changes places with Raiders in the third round.
  • May 6-The Oilers announce that they will hold training camp at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. SWTSU thus becomes the Oilers' eighth training camp site since the team's inception in 1960.
  • May 17-Oilers re-assign Mike Holovak as Assistant to the General Manager.
  • July 11-The Oilers name Dick Corrick as Director of College Scouting. Corrick joins the Oilers after working for the Green Bay Packers since 1971.
  • August 29-The Oilers complete the third undefeated preseason in their history (1965, 1986) beating the Dallas Cowboys 54-10.
  • November 7-The Oilers appear on Monday Night Football for the first time since 1982 and defeat the Cleveland Browns 24-17.
  • December 14-The rosters for the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl are released and feature eight Oilers including DE Ray Childress, WR Drew Hill, G Bruce Matthews, QB Warren Moon, G Mike Munchak and RB Mike Rozier.
  • December 24-The Oilers beat the Cleveland Browns 24-23 in an AFC Wild Card Playoff Game as RB Allen Pinkett scores two touchdowns.
1989
  • January 1-In an AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the Oilers drop a 17-10 decision to the Bills before 79,532 fans at Rich Stadium in Buffalo.
  • February 1-Executive Vice-President/General Manager Ladd K. Herzeg announces his resignation.
  • February 2-The Oilers announce the promotion of Mike Holovak to General Manager, replacing Ladd Herzeg. Also, under NFL's new "Plan B" free agency, 21 Oilers are left unprotected while 37 are protected.
  • February 22-The Oilers name Kevin Gilbride to the post of Quarterbacks Coach. He joins the club after serving as Offensive Coordinator at East Carolina.
  • April 1-The Oilers end up losing 15 players and signing seven under the NFL's first "Plan B" free agency system.
  • April 7-The Oilers sign QB Warren Moon to a new long-term contract.
  • September 24-Despite a sellout crowd in the first game in the newly-expanded Astrodome, the Oilers lose to the Buffalo Bills, 47-41 in OT.
  • October 1-The Oilers defeat the Miami Dolphins 39-7 as QB Warren Moon completes a career-best 82.6% of his passes (19/23). In addition, Houston's defense holds Dolphin QB Dan Marino to his worst game as a starter (11/29, 103 yds.).
  • October 22-The Oilers record the ninth shutout in club history and their first in nine years (spanning 132 games) with a 27-0 whitewash of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh manages just 132 total yards, the fewest yards allowed by Houston in 12 seasons.
  • December 3-The Oilers win at Pittsburgh 23-16 despite a blizzard and windchill temperatures of -20 degrees. RB Lorenzo White's one-yard run with 21 seconds remaining wins it as the Oilers claim sole possession of first place after the season's 13th game, the latest the team has been in first place in a season since 1967.
  • December 10-The Oilers honor their 30th Anniversary "Dream Team" while defeating the T.B. Buccaneers 20-17.
  • December 20-G Bruce Matthews, QB Warren Moon and G Mike Munchak are named starters for the February 4 Pro Bowl.
  • December 23-In a regular season finale battle for the AFC Central Division title, the Oilers lose to the Cleveland Browns 24-20 on RB Kevin Mack's TD with 39 seconds left. The Oilers fall short after battling back from a 17-0 deficit as QB Warren Moon establishes personal bests for attempts (51), completions (32) and yards (414, most since George Blanda's 418 in 1961). Oilers set all-time single season attendance record with 451,027 fans, eclipsing 411,652 in 1978.
  • December 31-In an AFC Wild Card playoff game, the Oilers lose a 26-23 OT decision to the Pittsburgh Steelers as PK Gary Anderson kicks a 50-yard field goal. Houston WR Ernest Givins catches 11 passes for 136 yards and two TDs.

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