Yesterday we wondered why Texan fans are looking forward to the NFL playoffs, given the painful memories our town had when the Houston Oilers were here.
But each year brings new hope and, after all, the Houston Texans have never, ever lost a playoff game. Not in ten years.
Coming up with five awful NFL playoff memories was easy; coming up with five happy ones, less so. And, it being Houston, one of those happy memories includes a loss.
Still, there's a reason people look forward to the playoffs, and moments like these are why.
In 1978, the Oilers drafted Earl Campbell and made the playoffs for the first time since the AFL and NFL merged. They beat the Dolphins on the road in a wild-card game, but disaster struck.
Quarterback Dan Pastorini broke three ribs and was in the hospital as the team prepared for the New England Patriots.
Famously, two guys walked in his room with a newfangled flak jacket and a baseball bat. One donned the jacket, the other whacked him with the bat to no effect, Pastorini wore it for the Pats game and the Oilers cruised to victory.
4. Pissing on the Dawg Pound
On December 18, 1988, the Oilers traveled to decrepit old Municipal Stadium and, in a snowstorm, lost to the Cleveland Browns and their notorious Dawg Pound fans 28-23.
They had to play a wildcard game against them in the same place the very next week, among talk that the run-and-shoot could not survive sloppy weather conditions.
On a muddy cow-pasture of a field, in the rain, Warren Moon led the team on a late field goal drive to top the Browns 24-23 and shut up 75,000 baying Clevelanders.
The Oilers traveled to San Diego for a divisional playoff game without starting QB Dan Pastorini, RB Earl Campbell or WR Kenny Burrough.
They were facing the Chargers' famed Air Coryell offense, where QB Dan Fouts was lighting up defenses and putting up points.
Oilers rookie Vernon Perry intercepted Fouts four times, and Nielsen managed to get just enough out of the offense for a 17-14 win.
The Oilers were in the first three AFC championships. Although everyone remembers their double-OT championship loss to the Dallas Texans (well, very old people do), the Oilers won two of those title matches.
It was a long, long time ago.
Like we said, Houston's tortured NFL history means one of the "best" memories comes attached to a loss.
But the Astrodome rally that welcomed the Oilers back from their second-straight AFC Championship loss to the Steelers was an amazing, electric event unique in the city's history.
It's remembered, of course, for an overwhelmed Bum Phillips telling the crowd, "Last year we knocked on the door. This year we beat on it. Next year we're going to kick the sumbitch in."
Sadly, of course, the door remained intact.
Until this year?
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