Unfortunately, the Nashville Kats are no more. The Tennessee Titans, on the other hand, live on. Kats owner Bud Adams has been a part of the NFL franchise since its beginnings in 1960, when the Houston Oilers formed as a charter member of the American Football League. Bud Adams was also instrumental in the founding of the American Football League itself, and is one of the two surviving members of the Foolish Club that started it all.The Oilers won the first two AFL championships in 1960 and 1961, and were Eastern Division title winners in 1962 and 1967. They were also the first professional team to play in a domed stadiumHouston’s Astrodomeduring the 1968 season. After the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, however, the Oilers suffered a series of increasingly depressing seasons, including two 1-13 seasons in 1972 and 1973. Legends like Sid Gilman and Bum Phillips helped to turn the team’s fortunes around in the next year.Coach Jeff Fisher, who is still the Titans’ head coach today, began his tenure with the Oilers in 1994. The move to Tennessee for the 1998 season was announced at the end of the 1995 season, during another time of tension for the team. In fact, the team was released from its lease a season early and moved to Tennessee in time for the 1997 season. The new stadium was not scheduled to open until 1999, so the renamed Tennessee Oilers played the 1997-98 season at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, then moved to Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field.The name change to the Tennessee Titans was announced during the 1998 season. Adams said that the name would improve the connection with Nashville and coincide with the new stadium’s opening. An advisory committee was appointed to choose a new name based on heroic qualities like “power, strength, and leadership.”Titans turned out to be the right choice after all, as the team’s first season in LP Field (then the Adelphia Coliseum) was the best in the team’s historyan impressive 13-3. They ended up making their way to the Super Bowl, although wide receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled a yard short of the end zone in the final quarter, ceding the victory to the Rams.Recently, the Titans were honored by the NFL and Hall of Fame committee when they were chosen, along with the Buffalo Bills, to kick off the 2009 NFL preseason. The Titans continue to make waves todayand yet, they still can’t fill the void that our Kats left behind.
February 5, 2011
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