NASHVILLE – “Oilers history is Titans history.”
Those are the words of Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk from a year ago, when the organization was exploring the possibility of wearing Oilers throwback uniforms, with the classic oil derrick logo on the helmets.
The possibility has turned into reality, and now fans of the organization can see them for themselves.
The Titans will wear the same uniforms the Houston Oilers wore for nearly two decades in Houston, until 1998, when the franchise also wore them as the Tennessee Oilers. The uniforms represent the longest span of Oilers uniforms in franchise history, and arguably the most beloved uniform.
The uniforms will pay homage to the Luv Ya’ Blue era.
“It allows us to honor as many players as we can, because it covers so much time,” said Surf Melendez, Vice President and Executive Creative Director for the Titans. “It also represented our transition to Tennessee, because we wore these uniforms in Tennessee as well.”
The Titans will wear the uniforms in two games this fall, both at home. The organization inquired about wearing them for a road game in Miami as well, but it doesn’t appear that will come to fruition.
The light blue Oilers throwbacks will replace the light blue “Titans” jerseys as the third jersey, joining the navy and the white uniforms.
Amy Adams Strunk said last year the team wanted to continue paying homage to the franchise’s history. The organization has honored Houston Oilers players at alumni events in years past, and a number of Oilers are in the franchise’s Ring of Honor.
The Oilers left Houston for Tennessee after the 1996 season and played a year in Memphis, in 1997, before playing in Nashville at Vanderbilt Stadium in 1998. The Tennessee Oilers became the Tennessee Titans in time for the 1999 season.
“Oilers history is Titans history,” Strunk said last year. “We know our fans feel passionately about showcasing that legacy on game day, and we’re actively working on making throwback jerseys possible in the near future. Stay tuned!”
Those who stay tuned will see this:
-“Columbia Blue” jerseys with red around white on the numbers, and names on the back, with a red, white and light blue band on the sleeves.
-White helmets, with the famed oil derrick, with red facemasks and red stripes outside of a thicker light blue stripe on the top.
-White pants, or britches, with red stripes on each side of a thicker light blue stripe down the side.
-Red and white stripes on light blue and white socks.
The words ‘Luv Ya Blue” will be on the back neckline of the jerseys.
Players will have the option of wearing red sleeves, red gloves, and red cleats to add to the look.
Current Titans Derrick Henry, safety Kevin Byard, defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons and quarterback Ryan Tannehill have already worn them – they took part in a photo shoot earlier this offseason.
“They loved them,” Melendez said of the current Titans. “They really loved them.”
Former Oilers have also seen them – Warren Moon, Robert Brazile and Elvin Bethea were given a sneak peek when they were in Nashville for an alumni event last year.
“They loooooved them, and it took them back,” Melendez said of the former Oilers. “The guys who wore the uniform, it took them back. And they were able to speak to the significance of wearing that uniform. This was an original AFL team, so there’s a rich tradition there and now people are going to see this, and they are going to be reminded of this rich history.”
OILERS THEN & NOW
Melendez knows fans are excited. The team has had Oilers merchandise available for two seasons and there has been an increased demand over the years.
Oilers jerseys are now on sale, and new merchandise will be available in the team store at Nissan Stadium.
“Amy is passionate about this, and we are lucky,” Melendez said. “She loves Nashville, she loves Houston, and she loves those people. She lived it, and she’s passionate about the Oilers history.”