HOUSTON – Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams released a statement Saturday afternoon concerning the passing of former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips.
Phillips died Friday night at the age of 90 at his home on Goliad.
“He meant a great deal to this franchise, the NFL and the city of Houston, and he was instrumental to the Oilers during the Luv Ya Blue era,” Adams said. “Growing up in Texas and working his way up through the Texas football ranks, he was a natural match for our team. Those were such magical years, and his leadership and personality helped our team rise to the top.”
Phillips took over as coach of the Oilers in 1975 and led Houston to two AFC Championship games before he was fired by Adams in 1980. He was responsible for drafting Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell, the player who was largely credited with the success of the franchise.
It was a time marked by a frenzied fan base that filled the Astrodome to root for the Oilers and wave their blue and white pompons during games.
Houston lost to Pittsburgh 34-5 in the AFC Championship game in Campbell's rookie year. The Oilers returned to the game the following season only to be beaten again by the Steelers, this time 27-13.
The Oilers went 11-5 in 1980 but lost to Oakland in the AFC wild-card round and Phillips was fired.
Adams relocated the Oilers to Tennessee and they became the Titans in 1997. Houston returned to the NFL in 2002 when the Texans began play.