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Oiler Blues: The Story of Pro Football's Most Frustrating Team Hardcover – September 1, 1999
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The Houston Oilers are now the Tennessee Titans. The team was one of the original American Football League franchises in 1960 and was the league's first champion. Sadly for Oiler fans, that was the high point for a team that has never even been to a Super Bowl. Pirkle, a Houston attorney and lifelong fan, points out that owner Bud Adams, whose son-in-law now runs the team, was always in the business to make money, not to win. Tennessee fans, Pirkle cautions, might want to steel themselves against pending heartbreak. Even non-Texans will enjoy this fascinating team history, which is sprinkled with such marquee names as George Blanda, Earl Campbell, and folksy former coach Bum Phillips. The narrative is presented chronologically, and Pirkle wisely condenses the worst seasons and dwells on the best. Included within the on-field account are the sometimes Machiavellian financial motives of owner Adams. An intriguing and instructive slice of NFL life. Wes Lukowsky
From Kirkus Reviews
paper 1-891422-01-4 The highs and lows of the Houston Oilers football franchise, from its inception to its departure to Nashville, Tenn., are well documented in this team biography. The tone of Oiler Blues, as written by Pirkle, a former US Department of Justice trial attorney and a third-generation Houstonian, is one that reflects the emotions of the beleaguered Oiler fans who for 37 years saw hints of possible greatness but who were always ultimately disappointed. The team never appeared in a Super Bowl, even though they made the playoffs 10 times and advanced to the AFC championship twice. (At the beginning, in 196061, when they were in the AFL, they did win the championship twice.) The cumulative 37-year record for the Houston Oilers was 251 wins, 291 losses, 6 ties (.463). Throughout the years, there were stars and personalities for the fans to root for, including George Blanda, Ken Stabler, Warren Moon, and Earl Campbell, but there were also players whose promise never was fulfilled. And there was owner Bud Adams, coaches, and management, all of whom made decisions at times that seemed to undermine the teams success (for example, trading away Steve Largent and the rights to Joe Namath). The love affair the Houston fans had with their team becomes bittersweet, as the saga ends with the Oilers 1997 move to Tennessee. Breaking the book down year by year, Pirkle gives a good overview not only of the teams results, but also of the franchises mindset. It also gives an indication of the evolution of football, in the age of television, into a money-making vehicle. The oversize format of the book, with its black-and-white photos, makes Oiler Blues a good, nostalgic photo album for the fans and a good reference for anyone interested in the newly named Tennessee Titans as they embark on creating their own memories. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Pirkle does a great job of breaking down the seasons, one by one, and the draft picks the team makes (or could have made). It's incredible to see the potential that the team posed. It also makes you sit back and realize how much talent some of the teams had, especially during the 70's and 90's to make a run for the Super Bowl.
Pirkle really does a nice job of explaining the death of the Oilers franchise in Houston, from the arguments in city hall to Bud Adams' demands, which today still is head-scratching to everyone. I strongly recommend this book to any football fan, especially those who are Titans fans.
The book gives the reader a detailed look at what the birth of the modern football league was really like. It is filled with interesting facts and photos that for some will evoke both pleasant and painfull memories. As a life long Oiler fan, this book was a rollercoaster ride of emotions as I re-lived Oiler history.
To paraphrase the comedian George Carlin, it's like milk that's been in your refrigerator for two months. You know it's sour, but for some unexplainable reason, you just have to smell it. I had an idea of what was inside this book but, I just had to read it. Once I stared, I couldn't put it down.
Oiler Blues is great sports history for any football fan.
2. It's full of errors in player names, place names, and typos ("felled by a viscous hit" is my favorite). For example, Pirkle tells us about "Dan" Floyd for 40 pages, then for some reason he starts getting it right ("Don"). Trust me, I'm not picking on Pirkle; there are dozens of these. It gets to where you look forward to the next booboo as much as the next game you remember being at. Did anybody think to edit this thing? Is Pirkle too young or too sloppy to do it well himself? Oh heck it doesn't matter. 4 stars, well deserved.