Even though their team is coming off three straight losses, Houston is getting amped for the city's first NFL game since 1993.
We have to ask: Why? Haven't the NFL playoffs caused our city enough emotional trauma through the years?
Hey, we're football fans too, so we know how it goes. And we'll be back this week with five reasons Houston should be amped to be back in the game.
But for now, let's look at what the NFL playoffs have done to us, and pause for just a second before deciding whether we want more.
It's hard to imagine today a period of time when anyone took Jerry Glanville seriously as a head coach, but it's true, kids, it's true.
Glanville introduced the "House of Pain" moniker to the Dome and got the Oilers to a divisional playoff game against the Broncos in January 1988. Let's let Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly take it from there:
With Houston backed up at its own four-yard line, on its second snap of the game, Glanville got this genius idea to try an end zone, overhand lateral to running back Mike Rozier on the far sideline, a play Houston calls Stagger Lee.
Why throw a lateral to the man with the stoniest hands on the club, in your own end zone, so early in the biggest game that the franchise has had in eight years, on the road, in one of the most unforgiving stadiums in the country? That's one for Glanville to think about. What happened is that the ball hit Rozier in the numbers and the hands before bouncing stagger-ly into the arms of Bronco Steve Wilson at the one-yard line.
No, things didn't get much better from there.
The run-and-shoot was running on all cylinders this year, as the Oilers romped to an 11-5 record. In a wild-card game against the Jets, the Dome went nuts as goal-line stands preserved a 17-10 victory.
Now they had to travel to Denver, but they were riding high. The Oilers jumped to leads of 14-0 and 21-6 and had the lead before John Elway led the Broncos on an 80-yard drive to the game-winning field goal. The game is known as "The Drive II," with "The Drive I" being Elway's dagger to the Cleveland Browns in 1986.
Just as they had the year before, in the 1979 season the Oilers won two playoff games and headed to Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Unlike the year before, they weren't blown out by the Steelers.
Maybe they should have been. It would have saved decades of high blood pressure at the memory of Mike Renfro catching a touchdown pass that was ruled incomplete, with no way to overturn the call in those days before "after further review."
Not content to enter the lore of one of the game's greatest comeback artists, the Oilers found a way to burnish the legend of perhaps the best clutch QB ever.
The Oilers had won the AFC Central with a 12-4 record in 1993, and faced Kansas City in the Dome in their first playoff game that year.
Former 49er Joe Montana looked inept at times as the Oilers shut out the Chiefs in the first half. But 28 second-half points, including -- yes -- a clutch drive at the end, resulted in both a 28-20 win and the breaking up of the run-and-shoot Oilers squad.
Nor shall we speak any further of it.
So, you want more memories like this, Houston? We hope things will be different this time around.
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