Titans unveil Oilers uniforms once worn in Houston, but they won't be in Bayou City this time

The Titans will wear the uniforms for two of their home games. The Texans will play the Titans in Nashville on Dec. 17.

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Monday, July 24, 2023
The Oilers are back, just not in the Bayou City
Oil and water don't mix, and to some fans, neither do the Oilers and Tennessee.

The Oilers are back, just not in the Bayou City.

On Sunday night, the Tennessee Titans unveiled the throwback Houston Oilers uniforms they'll be wearing during the season, along with some fighting words.

"Columbia Blue and red have returned to their rightful home."

That's the phrase splashed on the Titans homepage, underneath a banner in big, bold letters that says, "The Oilers are back," along with one of the most famous faces of the franchise, running back Derrick Henry.

But we know oil and water don't mix, and for some fans, neither do the Oilers and Tennessee.

Our own Adam Winkler and his daughter come to mind, perhaps summing up the reaction of many Houston fans.

The debate raged online, where one person's message to the Titans is "It's not your city, give the unis back."

Another person said, "This is an example of why when a pro team moves, they should be forced to relinquish the name. There's no way the Texans shouldn't be the Houston Oilers right now."

If you're not familiar, the Oilers uniforms and franchise have long been a point of contention for Houstonians.

These are the uniforms that the Oilers wore for nearly two decades in Houston during that beloved "Luv Ya Blue" era that saw Stetson hats and cowboy boots on the sidelines in head coach Bum Phillips.

Owner Bud Adams wanted a new stadium, but when he didn't get it, moved the Oilers from the Bayou City to Tennessee after the 1996 season. The team played as the Tennessee Oilers in 1998 and became the Titans in 1999.

You can read more here about the drama that left holes in Houstonians' hearts for years.

Even players who never a played a down as an Oiler have had strong feelings about this.

Former star defensive end for the Texans J.J. Watt often weighed in on the topic, and as recently as July 19 explained to a fan why it pains him that the colors don't belong to Houston.

"I lived in Houston for 10 years. My first training camp I met Bum Phillips. I was coached by Wade. I've seen first hand how much the people of Houston loved the Oilers. Earl, Bruce, Warren, Dr. Doom, etc. Luv Ya Blue is real," Watt said. "So yeah it pains me for Houston and those fans."

Former Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who ironically just signed with the Titans, lamented in 2019 that he wanted the Oilers jersey back in Houston. Of course now, he won't have to worry about it.

But "Luv Ya Blue" isn't giving everybody the blues. Oilers quarterback Warren Moon called the throwback uniforms the best looking outfit in football.

Just as they were in the Oilers' heyday, the "Columbia Blue" jerseys will have red around white on the numbers. The white helmets will feature the famed oil derrick and be paired with white pants, or britches, complete with the red and light blue stripes.

The words "Luv Ya Blue" will be on the back neckline of the jerseys.

There has been other positive reaction, too, with people calling the uniforms "tough," "cool," and a win for Tennessee before the season even begins.

Some current Titans players have already suited up in them for a photo shoot, including Derrick Henry, safety Kevin Byard, defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

One fan suggested that the Texans and the Titans should take their fight to the field and play each other for it.

The Titans will wear the Oilers uniforms for two home games, and those dates will be revealed later this week.

The Texans will play the Titans in Nashville for Week 15 on Dec. 17, so it's possible the Texans will be on the field with the uniform - just not in them.