Open main menu

The 1978 Houston Oilers season was the franchise's 19th overall and the 9th in the National Football League (NFL). Led by Rookie RB Earl Campbell, who won both the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Offensive Player of the Year, who rushed for 1,450 yards, the Oilers made the playoffs with a 10-6 record, qualifying in the newly created 5th Wild Card spot. The franchise scored 283 points while the defense gave up 298 points. Their record of 10 wins and 6 losses resulted in a second-place finish in the AFC Central Division. In the playoffs, the Oilers would stun the Miami Dolphins, 17-9, in the two teams first playoff meeting, then defeated the New England Patriots 31-14 in New England to advance to their first ever AFC Championship game, but in that game, they would score a mere 5 points in a 34-5 blowout loss to the eventual champion Steelers.

1978 Houston Oilers season
Head coachBum Phillips
General managerBum Phillips
OwnerBud Adams
Home fieldHouston Astrodome
Results
Record10–6
Division place2nd AFC Central
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs (Dolphins) 17–9
Won Divisional Playoffs (Patriots) 31–14
Lost AFC Championship (Steelers) 34–5
Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini in the 1978 AFC Wild Card game.

Season summaryEdit

The Oilers appeared twice on Monday Night Football. In their first appearance on Monday Night Football, the Oilers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24–17. In their second appearance, the Oilers defeated the Miami Dolphins 35–30. The Oilers number one draft pick, Earl Campbell, a 5–11, 232-pound ball-carrying dynamo from the University of Texas, joined the Houston Oilers as the first player taken in the 1978 National Football League Draft. The first player to earn All-Southwest Conference honors four years, Campbell was a consensus All-America and the Heisman Trophy winner in 1977. Campbell took the NFL by storm right from the very start. In 1978, he was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player, All-Pro, and Rookie of the Year. He won the league rushing championship with 1,450 yards and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad. Possibly the highlight of the Oilers' fantastic season was the contest against the Miami Dolphins, in which Campbell racked up 199 yards, 81 of them coming on a TD run in the fourth quarter.[1]

OffseasonEdit

NFL draftEdit

1978 Houston Oilers draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 1 Earl Campbell *   Running back Texas
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

[2]

PersonnelEdit

RosterEdit

1978 Houston Oilers roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad



Rookies in italics

[3]

Regular seasonEdit

On November 20, 1978, the Oilers took on the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. In order to boost team spirit, the Oilers gave each fan a blue and white pom-pon before the game. The sight of over 70,000 fans waving the pom-pons inspired the Oilers to a 35–30 victory, behind Campbell's 199 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. This would be the start of Luv Ya Blue.

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 September 3 at Atlanta Falcons L 14–20 0–1 Fulton County Stadium Recap
2 September 10 at Kansas City Chiefs W 20–17 1–1 Arrowhead Stadium Recap
3 September 17 San Francisco 49ers W 20–19 2–1 Astrodome Recap
4 September 24 Los Angeles Rams L 6–10 2–2 Astrodome Recap
5 October 1 at Cleveland Browns W 16–13 3–2 Cleveland Municipal Stadium Recap
6 October 8 at Oakland Raiders L 17–21 3–3 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
7 October 15 Buffalo Bills W 17–10 4–3 Astrodome Recap
8 October 23 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 24–17 5–3 Three Rivers Stadium Recap
9 October 29 at Cincinnati Bengals L 13–28 5–4 Riverfront Stadium Recap
10 November 5 Cleveland Browns W 14–10 6–4 Astrodome Recap
11 November 12 at New England Patriots W 26 –23 7–4 Schaefer Stadium Recap
12 November 20 Miami Dolphins W 35– 30 8–4 Astrodome recap
13 November 26 Cincinnati Bengals W 17 –10 9–4 Astrodome Recap
14 December 3 Pittsburgh Steelers L 3–13 9–5 Astrodome Recap
15 December 10 at New Orleans Saints W 17–12 10–5 Louisiana Superdome Recap
16 December 17 San Diego Chargers L 24–45 10–6 Astrodome Recap

[4]

StandingsEdit

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Pittsburgh Steelers(1) 14 2 0 .875 5–1 11–1 356 195 W5
Houston Oilers(5) 10 6 0 .625 4–2 8–4 283 298 L1
Cleveland Browns 8 8 0 .500 1–5 4–8 334 356 L1
Cincinnati Bengals 4 12 0 .250 2–4 2–10 252 284 W3

Game summariesEdit

Week 12Edit

Miami Dolphins (8–3) at Houston Oilers (7–4)
1 2 34Total
Dolphins 7 7 7930
Oilers 7 7 71435

at AstrodomeHouston, Texas

PlayoffsEdit

AFC Wild CardEdit

Houston Oilers 17, Miami Dolphins 9
1 2 34Total
Oilers 7 0 01017
Dolphins 7 0 029

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

Quarterback Dan Pastorini led the Oilers to an upset victory by passing for 306 yards.

AFC Divisional PlayoffEdit

Houston Oilers 31, New England Patriots 14
1 2 34Total
Oilers 0 21 3731
Patriots 0 0 7714

at Schaefer Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Quarterback Dan Pastorini led the Oilers to a victory by throwing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Earl Campbell rushed for 118 yards and a score.

AFC Championship GameEdit

Pittsburgh Steelers 34, Houston Oilers 5
1 2 34Total
Oilers 0 3 205
Steelers 14 17 3034

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On a wet, slick, and slippery field, the Steelers dominated the Oilers by forcing 9 turnovers and only allowing 5 points.

Awards and recordsEdit

MilestonesEdit

  • Earl Campbell, 1st 1,000 yard rushing season
  • Earl Campbell, 1st NFL rushing title

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Earl Campbell HTML at Pro Football Hall of Fame website
  2. ^ "1978 Houston Oilers draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "1978 Houston Oilers starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  4. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/oti/1978.htm

External linksEdit