1973 Houston Oilers season

The 1973 Houston Oilers season was their fourth season in the National Football League and their 14th in competition overall. The team matched their previous season’s output of 1–13,[1] and they missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Their eighteen consecutive losses after winning the third game in 1972 was an NFL record beaten only by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976 and 1977 and the Detroit Lions from the last game of 2007 until the third game of 2009, including their 0–16 season of 2008.

Coach Bill Peterson left the team after an 0–5 start, and was replaced by coaching veteran Sid Gillman, who went 1–8 to finish the season. The Oilers’ offense struggled in 1973, ranking last in rushing yards (1388), second worst in yards per play (3.9), and third-worst in both total yards (3307) and first downs (tied at 193).[2]

The 1973 Oilers had one of the worst defenses of all time, statistically; they gave up 447 points during the season, the most ever for a 14-game season in the merger era (1970–1977).[3] Only three teams gave up more points in a 14-game season: the 1966 Giants, the 1963 Broncos, and the 1961 Raiders.[4] Their point-differential of −248 points was the worst in the league that year, and remains one of the ten worst in NFL history.[5] (The second-worst team, the Philadelphia Eagles, gave up 393 points, or 3.8 fewer points per game.) Houston also gave up a league-high 26 touchdown passes in 1973.

They are also the most recent franchise in the NFL to have back-to-back one-win seasons; in fact since 1974 not a single NFL franchise again suffered multiple one- or no-win seasons in a non-strike season, until the Cleveland Browns did so in 2016 and 2017.[6] Since the NFL developed a uniform schedule in 1936, the only other time a franchise has had back-to-back one-win seasons has been the 1949 and 1950 Baltimore Colts.

1973 Houston Oilers season
Head coachBill Peterson and Sid Gillman
General managerSid Gillman
OwnerBud Adams
Home fieldHouston Astrodome
Results
Record1–13
Division place4th AFC Central
Playoff finishdid not qualify
Pro BowlersDE Elvin Bethea

Offseason

NFL draft

1973 Houston Oilers draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 1 John Matuszak  Defensive end Tampa
1 14 George Amundson  Running back Iowa State
4 79 Gregg Bingham  Linebacker Purdue
5 105 Edesel Garrison  Wide receiver USC
6 131 Ron Mayo  Tight end Morgan State
7 157 Shelby Jordan  Tackle Washington University (St. Louis)
8 183 Joe Blahak  Defensive back Nebraska
9 209 Mark Williams  Kicker Rice
10 235 Darrell Vaughn  Defensive tackle Northern Colorado
11 261 Larry Eaglin  Defensive back Stephen F. Austin
12 287 Brad Lyman  Wide receiver UCLA
13 313 Willie Martin  Guard Northeastern State (Oklahoma)
14 339 Ron Lou  Center Arizona State
15 365 Roger Goree  Linebacker Baylor
16 391 Tim Dameron  Wide receiver East Carolina
17 417 Randy Braband  Linebacker Texas
      Made roster  

[7]

Roster

1973 Houston Oilers roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

{{{reserve_lists}}}


Practice/Taxi squad {{{practice_squad}}}


Rookies in italics

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 16, 1973 at New York Giants L 14-34
57,979
2 September 23, 1973 at Cincinnati Bengals L 10-24
51,823
3 September 30, 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers L 7-36
39,331
4 October 7, 1973 Los Angeles Rams L 26-31
34,875
5 October 14, 1973 Denver Broncos L 20-48
32,801
6 October 21, 1973 at Cleveland Browns L 13-42
61,146
7 October 28, 1973 at Chicago Bears L 14-35
43,755
8 November 4, 1973 at Baltimore Colts W 31–27
52,707
9 November 11, 1973 Cleveland Browns L 13-23
37,230
10 November 18, 1973 at Kansas City Chiefs L 14-38
68,444
11 November 25, 1973 New England Patriots L 0-32
27,344
12 December 2, 1973 Oakland Raiders L 6-17
25,801
13 December 9, 1973 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 7-33
38,004
14 December 16, 1973 Cincinnati Bengals L 24-27
21,955

Game summaries

Week 3

Standings

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Cincinnati Bengals 10 4 0 .714 4–2 8–3 286 231 W6
Pittsburgh Steelers 10 4 0 .714 4–2 7–4 347 210 W2
Cleveland Browns 7 5 2 .571 4–2 6–3–2 234 255 L2
Houston Oilers 1 13 0 .071 0–6 1–10 199 447 L6

References

  1. ^ 1973 Houston Oilers
  2. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 1973 NFL season
  3. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1970 to 1977, in the regular season, sorted by descending Points Allowed
  4. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1960 to 1977, in the regular season, sorted by descending Points Allowed
  5. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1940 to 2011, in the regular season, sorted by ascending Points Differential
  6. ^ 100 Worst NFL Teams
  7. ^ "1973 Houston Oilers draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
Game information
Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP PIT HOU
1 Steelers 20-yard field goal by Gerela 3 0
2 Oilers Alston 7-yard touchdown reception from Pastorini, Butler kick good 3 7
2 Steelers 47-yard field goal by Gerela 6 7
3 Steelers Bradshaw 1-yard touchdown run, Gerela kick no good 12 7
3 Steelers Interception returned 45 yards for touchdown by Russell, Gerela kick good 19 7
4 Steelers Shanklin 26-yard touchdown reception from Bradshaw, Gerela kick good 26 7
4 Steelers 26-yard field goal by Gerela 29 7
4 Steelers Interception returned 86 yards for touchdown by Edwards, Gerela kick good 36 7
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 36 7
Franchise
Stadiums
Culture
Lore
Rivalries
Division championships (9)
Conference championships (1)
League championships (2)
Retired numbers
Media
Current league affiliations
Former league affiliation
Seasons (59)
Owners

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