Big 12 News

NFL Tells Houston to Stop ‘Unauthorized Use’ of Oilers-Themed Uniforms

While they’re no longer located in Houston, nor are they called the Oilers, the legacy of players like Warren Moon and Earl Campbell live on after the Houston Oilers franchise became the Tennessee Titans in 1998.

Although the Houston Texans give H-Town a team to root for now, from 1960-98, the Oilers were the best show in town and their color scheme and uniforms were some of the best in all of sports.

In memory of the good ol’ days, the Houston Cougars donned Oilers-themed “Luv Ya Blue” uniforms in their season opener against UTSA. However, it appears they didn’t have permission to do so, according to reports.


In a report from the Houston Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte, the NFL has sent the University of Houston a cease-and-desist letter concerning the “unauthorized use” of the uniforms.

This quote from Duarte’s story is pretty explicit, and there’s no way for them to misinterpret the NFL’s view on the uniforms.

The NFL said UH’s decision to wear the throwback jerseys for the Sept. 2 season opener against UTSA came nearly seven months after it explicitly informed Patrick Mulligan, UH’s executive director for brand management, licensing and trademarks, and Lisa Holdeman, UH’s vice chancellor/vice president for marketing and communications, that ‘we did not consent to the Houston Cougars’ use of the uniform at issue or any similar designs.’

In the cease-and-desist letter, the NFL’s attorney made it even more clear where the league stands on the issue.


“The Houston Cougars’ attempt to free ride on the popularity of the NFL and the club violates the intellectual property rights of the NFL and the (Tennessee) Titans,” attorney Bonnie L. Jarrett wrote in the Oct. 13 letter. 

The Titans are set to wear the “Lu Ya Blue” uniforms sometime during the 2023 season as their throwbacks, something that several NFL teams have already done this year.

Later on in the letter, the NFL says that it “will treat any future unauthorized use of the NFL marks, including the Oilers Trade Dress, as intentional and willful, which would entitle (NFL Properties) to enhanced damages and reimbursement of its attorneys’ fees.” 

Personally, it seems odd that a team from Houston can’t wear themed jerseys from one of the legendary icons in its own city, but the team located in Tennessee, who had no ties to the Oilers prior to their relocation there, have proprietary rights to the look.

However, I’m not a lawyer, and for that I am glad.

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