Houston to Ignore NFL Cease-and-Desist, Keep ‘Luv Ya Blue’ Alternate Uniforms

Sep 2, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars players prepare to take the field before the game against the UTSA Roadrunners at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Cougars are daring the NFL to do something about their alternate uniforms, and who can blame them?

From 1960 to 1998, the Houston Oilers were the best show in H-Town, and their color scheme and uniforms were some of the cleanest-looking in all of sports.

However, the Oilers franchise left Houston for Tennessee in ’98, and despite being rebranded as the Titans, still owns the likeness that was so popular in the era of Warren Moon and Earl Campbell.


Last year, the Coogs donned Oilers-themed “Luv Ya Blue” alternate uniforms in their season opener against UTSA, which appeared to ruffle some feathers among the suits in the National Football League.

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

“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 [Tennessee] Titans,” the NFL said at the time.

While it appeared that might spell the end of UH’s awesome alternates, a report on Wednesday suggests that the Cougars aren’t ready to just bow down to the NFL.


Houston Athletic Director Chris Pezman told the Houston Chronicle this week that the Cougars are on solid legal ground to keep wearing the uniforms despite the NFL’s claims.

“We’re doing it,” Pezman told Joseph Duarte. “We’ve reviewed everything and come to the conclusion that we are going to proceed.”

Houston’s argument, according to Pezman, is that Columbia blue is part of the city’s heritage. In fact, the city’s official flag adopted way back in 1915, is primarily Columbia blue.

So, with that in mind, the Tennessee Titans make all the demands they want. Houston is going to rock their colors proudly, and that’s a big win; not just for Houston football, but for the people of H-Town.

“I knew it would be good,” Pezman said. “I didn’t know it would be what it was. We found a nerve, and we’ve got to mine that vein. It’s real. What’s cool about it, it’s not about us. It’s about the city. That’s what we have to continue to do.

When you do UH stuff, you limit your market. With the Houston script, it’s everybody. It’s our ability to have the Texas T-Shirt in the truck stop, to have our version of it in that Houston blue with the red and white script. It can be anybody.”

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