American Football Database

"Luv Ya Blue" was the term given to a movement by fans of the Houston Oilers of the National Football League in the late 1970s that featured fight songs, pom-poms and other features more reminiscent of the college game than the NFL.[1]

Coining of the term

In the early 1970s, the Houston Oilers had fallen on hard times. In 1975, Bum Phillips was hired as the coach and ushered in a new era for the Oilers. With the help of stars such as Billy "White Shoes" Johnson and Elvin Bethea, the Oilers had their first winning season of the decade in 1975. In 1978, the Oilers drafted one of the most dominant running backs in college football, Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell of the University of Texas. Campbell went on to become the NFL Rookie of the Year, as well as the Most Valuable Player in 1978.

Led by the charismatic Phillips, the team quickly became a sensation in Houston. Many team members, including Campbell, began adopting Phillips "good ole boy" attitude by wearing cowboy boots and "ten gallon" cowboy hats. As the 1978 season progressed, Campbell contributed such a large part of Houston's offense that many fans began referring to the team as the Houston "Earlers". This would soon change, however, as Campbell himself would give Oilers fans another catchphrase to use while cheering for their team.

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 pompom before the game. The sight of over 70,000 fans waving the pompoms inspired the Oilers to a 35-30 victory, behind Campbell's 199 rushing yards. After the game, Campbell stated, "The display of 'Luv Ya Blue' was a chance for people of all races and backgrounds to come together as a city. More than that, it was a feeling that the players and fans shared without even talkin'. We owed it all to one man: Bum Phillips."[2]

Spirit of Luv Ya Blue

After that night, blue-clad fans began to bring "Luv Ya Blue" signs to the Astrodome. Face painting also became popular, with many fans sporting the Oilers' logo painted on their cheek. Pep rallies were often organized and the Astrodome was regularly sold out as the entire city went wild for the Oilers. Houston's energy based economy was also booming at the time due to rising fuel prices, and this gave a large sense of optimism that boosted Oilers fans. Additionally, many thousands of new Houstonians had recently moved in from other parts of the US due to the surging economy, and the Oilers became a common cause for new and established citizens to feel civic pride. Local singer/songwriter Mack Hayes wrote and recorded the song "Luv Ya Blue" after the Oilers' 1978 playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The song became the Oilers' rallying song the following year and Hayes and the Love Ya Blue band played at the Astrodome for each of the 1979 home games.[3] Lyrics to the song included:

Look out football, here we come,

Houston Oilers, number one.
Houston has the Oilers, the greatest football team.
We take the ball from goal to goal like no one's ever seen.
We're in the air, we're on the ground ... always in control
And when you say the Oilers, you're talking Super Bowl.

'Cause we're the Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers, Number One.
Yes, we're the Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers, Number One.

We've got the offense.
We've got the defense.
We give the other team no hope. 'Cause we're the Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers,
You know we're gonna hold the rope. [4]


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