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 coach||Bum Phillips|
|General manager||Bum Phillips|
|Home field||Houston Astrodome|
|Division place||2nd AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Won Wild Card Playoffs (Dolphins) 17–9|
Won Divisional Playoffs (Patriots) 31–14
Lost AFC Championship (Steelers) 34–5
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.
|1978 Houston Oilers draft|
|1||1||Earl Campbell * †||Running back||Texas|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during careerMade roster|
|1978 Houston Oilers roster|
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.
|Game||Date||Opponent||Result||Oilers points||Opponents||Oilers first downs||Record||Attendance|
|1||Sep 3||at Atlanta Falcons||Loss||14||20||13||0–1|
|2||Sep 10||at Kansas City Chiefs||Win||20||17||15||1–1|
|3||Sep 17||San Francisco 49ers||Win||20||19||23||2–1|
|4||Sep 24||Los Angeles Rams||Loss||6||10||10||2–2|
|5||Oct 1||at Cleveland Browns||Win||16||13||20||3–2|
|6||Oct 8||at Oakland Raiders||Loss||17||21||20||3–3|
|7||Oct 15||Buffalo Bills||Win||17||10||17||4–3|
|8||Oct 23||at Pittsburgh Steelers||Win||24||17||22||5–3|
|9||Oct 29||at Cincinnati Bengals||Loss||13||28||15||5–4|
|10||Nov 5||Cleveland Browns||Win||14||10||18||6–4|
|11||Nov 12||at New England Patriots||Win||26||23||24||7–4|
|12||Nov 20||Miami Dolphins||Win||35||30||23||8–4|
|13||Nov 26||Cincinnati Bengals||Win||17||10||17||9–4|
|14||Dec 3||Pittsburgh Steelers||Loss||3||13||9||9–5|
|15||Dec 10||at New Orleans Saints||Win||17||12||16||10–5|
|16||Dec 17||San Diego Chargers||Loss||24||45||14||10–6|
Quarterback Dan Pastorini led the Oilers to an upset victory by passing for 306 yards.
On a wet, slick, and slippery field, the Steelers dominated the Oilers by forcing 9 turnovers and only allowing 5 points.
|Division championships (9)|
|Conference championships (1)|
|League championships (2)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold