|1981 Houston Oilers season|
|Head coach||Ed Biles|
|General manager||Ladd Herzeg|
|Home field||Houston Astrodome|
|Division place||3rd AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Did not qualify|
The 1981 Houston Oilers season was the franchise's 22nd overall and the 12th in the National Football League (NFL). Bum Phillips was fired as head coach during the offseason for failing to reach the Super Bowl, and replaced by Ed Biles. However, the Oilers defensive problems would catch up with them as they finished with a disappointing 7-9 record, as Earl Campbell fought through injuries to rush for 1,376 yards. After a fast 4-2 start, Houston would struggle in the second half, going 3-7 in their final 10 games, including a critical loss to the New Orleans Saints, who finished 4-12 in 1981.
|1981 Houston Oilers draft|
|3||79||Mike Holston||Wide receiver||Morgan State|
|4||106||Nick Eyre||Offensive tackle||BYU|
|5||133||Delbert Fowler||Linebacker||West Virginia|
|6||159||Bill Kay||Defensive back||Purdue|
|7||193||Don Washington||Defensive back||Texas A&M–Kingsville|
|8||217||Willie Tullis||Defensive back||Troy|
|10||270||Larry Jones||Running back||Colorado State|
|12||324||Bill Capece||Placekicker||Florida State|
|1||September 6||at Los Angeles Rams||W 27–20||1–0||Anaheim Stadium||Recap|
|2||September 13||at Cleveland Browns||W 9–3||2–0||Cleveland Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 20||Miami Dolphins||L 10–16||2–1||Astrodome||Recap|
|4||September 27||at New York Jets||L 17–33||2–2||Shea Stadium||Recap|
|5||October 4||Cincinnati Bengals||W 17–10||3–2||Astrodome||Recap|
|6||October 11||Seattle Seahawks||W 35–17||4–2||Astrodome||Recap|
|7||October 18||at New England Patriots||L 10–38||4–3||Schaefer Stadium||Recap|
|8||at Pittsburgh Steelers||L 13–26||4–4||Three Rivers Stadium||Recap|
|9||November 1||at Cincinnati Bengals||L 21–34||4–5||Riverfront Stadium||Recap|
|10||November 8||Oakland Raiders||W 17–16||5–5||Astrodome||Recap|
|11||November 15||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 10–23||5–6||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|12||November 22||New Orleans Saints||L 24–27||5–7||Astrodome||Recap|
|13||November 29||Atlanta Falcons||L 27–31||5–8||Astrodome||Recap|
|14||Cleveland Browns||W 17–13||6–8||Astrodome||Recap|
|15||December 13||at San Francisco 49ers||L 6–28||6–9||Candlestick Park||Recap|
|16||December 20||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 21–20||7–9||Astrodome||Recap|
|Cincinnati Bengals (1)||12||4||0||.750||4–2||10–2||421||304||W2|
Harold Warren Moon is an American former gridiron football quarterback who played professionally for 23 seasons. He spent the majority of his career with the Houston Oilers of the National Football League (NFL) and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (CFL). In the NFL, Moon also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, and Kansas City Chiefs.
Earl Christian Campbell, nicknamed The Tyler Rose, is a former American professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints. Known for his aggressive, punishing running style and ability to break tackles, Campbell gained recognition as one of the best power running backs in NFL history.
Matthew Schaub is a former American football quarterback who played for 17 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Virginia Cavaliers, and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round with the 90th pick of the 2004 NFL Draft. He also played for the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, and Baltimore Ravens.
Jeffrey Michael Fisher is a former American football coach, cornerback and return specialist. He served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL) for 22 seasons, primarily with the Houston / Tennessee Oilers / Titans franchise. He coached the Titans for 17 seasons and the St. Louis / Los Angeles Rams for five seasons.
Harold E. "Butch" Woolfolk is a former American football running back and kick returner who played in college for the University of Michigan (1978–1981) and in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Giants (1982–1984), Houston Oilers (1985–1986) and Detroit Lions (1987–1988). Woolfolk attended Westfield Senior High School in Westfield, New Jersey. Woolfolk led Michigan in rushing three straight years and set the school record with 3,850 rushing yards while playing for the Wolverines from 1978 to 1981. As a sophomore in 1979, he was the Big Ten Conference scoring champion, and he went on to become a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection. He had his best season as a senior at Michigan, winning the 1981 Big Ten rushing title and falling just 10 yards short of Rob Lytle's single-season rushing yards record. He was also selected in 1981 as the Most Valuable Player of both the Rose Bowl played January 1, 1981, and the Bluebonnet Bowl played December 31, 1981, as well as the Wolverines' team MVP for the season.
William Keith Bostic is a former professional American football player who played for seven seasons in the National Football League (NFL). During his career he played safety for the Houston Oilers and the Cleveland Browns. Bostic served as the Oiler defensive captain under Jerry Glanville. He earned one Pro Bowl selection and missed another based on a tiebreaker for the last safety chosen. In his Pro Bowl season, he led the American Football Conference in interceptions.
The 1988 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 39th season with the National Football League.
The 1979 Houston Oilers season was the franchise's 20th overall and the 10th in the National Football League. The franchise scored 362 points while the defense gave up 331 points. Their record of 11 wins and 5 losses resulted in a second-place finish in the AFC Central Division. The Oilers appeared once on Monday Night Football on December 10, 1979 where the sports promotion Luv ya Blue was launched and returned to the AFC Championship Game for the second consecutive year. Earl Campbell would lead the NFL in rushing for the second consecutive year and set a franchise record for most touchdowns in a season with 19. The Oilers would make the playoffs again as a wild card. In the wild card game, they beat the Denver Broncos 13-7, and then defeated the San Diego Chargers 17-14 in San Diego to reach their second straight AFC Championship game. Unfortunately for them, they had to once again run into the Pittsburgh Steelers, who a year earlier had eliminated them 34-5 in the previous AFC Championship game. The Oilers lost the game 27-13. The game included a controversial moment in which wide receiver Mike Renfro had a touchdown called back after the referees of the game took a long time to decide the ruling on the field. The call went down as one of the most controversial calls in NFL history.
The 1989 Houston Oilers season was the franchise's 30th season and their 20th in the National Football League (NFL). The franchise scored 365 points while the defense gave up 412 points. Their record of 9 wins and 7 losses resulted in a second-place finish in the AFC Central Division. The Oilers appeared once on Monday Night Football and appeared in the playoffs for the third consecutive year. It would be Jerry Glanville’s final year as the Oilers coach. Despite making the playoffs, the Oilers, like their arch rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, had a negative point differential, making them the first teams since the 1984 Giants with this distinction.
The 1990 Houston Oilers season was the 31st season and their 21st in the National Football League (NFL). The Oilers scored 405 points which ranked second in the AFC and second overall in the NFL. Their defense gave up 307 points. During the season, the Oilers appeared once on Monday Night Football and defeated the Buffalo Bills. On December 16, 1990, Warren Moon threw for 527 yards in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Moon was part of the Oilers "Run and shoot" era. The run and shoot offense also incorporated teammates Ernest Givens, Drew Hill, Haywood Jeffires and Curtis Duncan. The 1990 season saw the Oilers appear in the playoffs for the 4th consecutive season. They finished tied for first in the AFC Central with the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, as all 3 teams finished with identical 9–7 records. The Bengals would be awarded the division title by having a better division record than Houston or Pittsburgh. The Oilers would win the tiebreaker over the Steelers by having a better division record than them. The Oilers finished the season 9–7, and clinched a wild card spot. In the wild card game, they were embarrassed by the Bengals 41–14, ending Houston's season in a flash. This remains the last playoff win by Cincinnati.
The 1991 Houston Oilers season was the 32nd season and their 22nd in the National Football League (NFL). Haywood Jeffires would become the second Oiler to have 100 receptions in a season. The first Oiler to accomplish the feat was Charley Hennigan in 1964. Jeffires would be the fifth receiver in NFL history to have a 100 reception season. The Oilers scored 386 points and gave up 251 points. The franchise earned its first division title since the AFL-NFL merger, having last won a division title in the 1967 American Football League season. The franchise finished the season with 11 wins compared to 5 losses and appeared twice on Monday Night Football.
The 1993 Houston Oilers season was the team's 34th, and their 24th in the National Football League (NFL).
The 1988 Buffalo Bills season was the franchise's 29th overall season as a football team and the 19th in the National Football League. The Bills ended a streak of four consecutive losing seasons by winning the AFC East; they finished the NFL's 1988 season with a record of 12 wins and 4 losses; it was the club's first winning season since 1981, its first 12-win season since the 1964 AFL championship season, and only the fifth double-digit win season in team history. The Bills were 8–0 at home for the first time in their franchise history. On the road, the Bills were 4–4. From an attendance standpoint, the franchise set a record for attendance with 631,818 fans.
The 1990 Cincinnati Bengals season was the franchise's 23rd year in professional football and its 21st with the National Football League (NFL). The Bengals won the AFC Central division for the second time in three seasons.
The 1996 Houston Oilers season was the 37th season overall and 27th with the National Football League (NFL) and their final season in Houston. The team bested their previous season's output of 7–9, but failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive season. The Oilers only won two out of their eight games at home. However, on the road they won six out of eight games as the Oilers finish with an 8-8 record. Houston running back Eddie George won the Offensive Rookie of the Year with 1,368 yards rushing.
The 1994 Houston Oilers season was the 35th season overall the Oilers played and their 25th with the National Football League (NFL), and was part of the 1994 NFL season.
The 1984 Houston Oilers season was the 25th season overall and 15th with the league. The team improved upon their previous season's output of 2–14, winning three games, but failed to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. With hopes of improving the offense the Oilers won the bidding war to sign CFL star Quarterback Warren Moon. However, with Earl Campbell in full decline, the Oilers decided to trade him to the Saints after a 1–5 start. The move would leave a gaping hole at running back, but it was the defense that was a greater weak spot as the Oilers finished with a 3–13 record, allowing 457 points on the season.
Milton Jackson was an American football coach for 26 seasons. He had different coaching positions for the California Golden Bears, Oregon Ducks, UCLA Bruins, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Oilers, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, and Baltimore Ravens. Also, he was drafted in the 7th round (170), by the San Francisco 49ers but did not play for them. Instead, he played for the San Jose Apaches, and Sacramento Capitols.