Every game has a story. This is the story of Sunday November 3 1991, RFK Stadium, Redskins 16, Oilers 13 (OT).
Curly R continues the inaugural edition of Redskins Greatest Games with Part 3, The Oilers.
Part 1: Who is Jack Pardee?
Part 2: What Jack Did
Part 3: The Oilers
Part 4: Jack Returns to the NFL
Part 5: The Game
Part 6: The Moment
Part 7: The Aftermath
It had been ten years since the Redskins fired him, and there was an NFL team right there in town...
Across town from Jack Pardee's University of Houston Cougars, Jerry Glanville, the NFL Man in Black, known for leaving tickets for Elvis at every Houston Oilers game, had fallen from favor with Oilers management and been fired. Jerry, the former Oilers defensive coordinator, had replaced Hugh Campbell for the final two games of the 1985 season and been signed permanently going into the 1986 season.
Hugh, Warren Moon's former CFL Edmonton Eskimos head coach, had signed with the Oilers after Houston won the NFL bidding war for Warren. From 1978 to 1982, Hugh's and Warren's Eskimos had won five straight Grey Cups, and Hugh had been credited with turning Warren into such a prolific passer.
Under Hugh, the Oilers made the transition from Earl Campbell to Warren Moon as the offensive workhorse, but Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier was not an immediate hit in the backfield. The Oilers never won more than 5 games in Hugh's two years, had a low-scoring offense and a porous defense, and he was let go in his second season.
Immediately, this created problems with the team. General manager Ladd Herzeg had called the hiring of Hugh the worst mistake of his career, but in the same sentence blamed himself for offensive player selections that had not worked out, including Mike Rozier. The next day, the New York Times reported that Hugh's offensive coordinator, Joe Faragalli, said the one that should have been fired was GM Ladd, and that Hugh had not been given time to work into the role. Interim coach Jerry and the Oilers lost the last two games of the 1985 season.
Warren Moon, selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in last year, was not sure what the Oilers were doing. In the 1986 draft, GM Ladd had chosen highly touted quarterback Jim Everett out of Purdue. Warren was already unhappy the Oilers had not spent a high 1985 draft pick to give him a reliable target at receiver, taking a cornerback instead.
With Hugh Campbell now a memory, it seemed to signal that Warren's time in Houston might already be over. But Jim held out of training camp and was eventually traded to the Rams for players and draft picks, one of which became receiver Haywood Jeffires. Add Haywood to 1986 second round pick Ernest Givens and 30 year old Drew Hill, then only halfway through his NFL career, and Ladd was looking crazy like a fox. But the 1986 Oilers stumbled to a 5-11 record, last in the AFC Central, with a below average offense and a middling defense.
The next three seasons saw the Oilers go 9-6 and win a playoff game in 1987, 10-6 in 1988 and win a playoff game, and 9-7 and make the playoffs in 1989. Despite three straight playoff appearances, Jerry had worn out his welcome in Houston. The offense was getting better every season, but the defense was getting worse. Jerry was not getting credit for the offensive performance and as the former defensive coordinator was getting the blame for the defensive failings.
Add to that his eccentricities and rough play by Oilers players that at times caused other coaches to call him out as encouraging dirty play and he was dismissed on January 8 1990, leaving a tremendous offense and a defense in need of attention.
Oilers owner Bud Adams thought he had just the guy in mind to help out.
Curly R's Redskins Greatest Games continues tomorrow with part 4, Jack Returns to the NFL.
Jerry Glanville: Honolulu Advertiser from here. Jim Everett in his infamous appearance on the Jim Rome show from here. They also have a link to the video. Warren Moon from TSN here.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007