Retired Jersey Numbers
In the 49-year history of the Oilers/Titans franchise, only six players have had the distinction of having their jersey number retired -- Jim Norton (No. 43), Elvin Bethea (No. 65), Earl Campbell (No. 34), Mike Munchak (No. 63), Bruce Matthews (No. 74), and Warren Moon (No. 1).
Norton played nine seasons for the Oilers (1960-68) as a safety and as a punter, establishing team records at both positions. As a rookie from the University of Idaho, Norton was a member of the Oilers' 1960 AFL Championship team. A four-time league all-star, he holds the club record for most interceptions in a career with 45. Also an accomplished punter, Norton was tops in club history with 519 career punts for a 42.3-yard career average and a long kick of 79 yards (11/22/64 vs. Kansas City).
Bethea joined the Oilers in 1968 after an outstanding career at North Carolina A&T. He started at defensive end in the 1968 season opener and didn't miss a game until breaking his arm in November 1977. That streak of 135 consecutive games played stands third in team history. An eight-time Pro Bowler (1970, 1972-76, 1978-80), Bethea ranks second for most seasons played (16, 1968-83), while his 210 games played (1968-83) also stands second behind Bruce Matthews. Bethea led the team in sacks six times, including a career-best mark of 17 in 1973. The Oilers honored him with an "Elvin Bethea Appreciation Night" on Aug. 4, 1983. He became the sixth player in franchise history to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 3, 2003.
Campbell, the franchise's second leading rusher and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was honored by having his number retired at ceremonies on Aug. 13, 1987. He set a single-season club record with a league-leading 1,450 yards his rookie season. Campbell followed that performance with 1,697 yards in 1979 and an astounding 1,934 yards in 1980. Both those totals led the NFL and the latter was second only to O.J. Simpson's 2,003 yards in 1973. Campbell was selected to five Pro Bowls (1978-81, 1983) and retired as the NFL's seventh all-time leading rusher (9,407). He ranks second in franchise history in career rushing yards (8,574) and attempts (1,979), first in touchdown runs (73) and first in most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown (5).
Munchak joined the Oilers as a first-round draft pick in 1982 out of Penn State. He was the first offensive lineman selected in the draft and the eighth overall selection. Munchak won the starting left guard position as a rookie and went on to play in 12 campaigns (1982-93) and 159 games (156 starts) for the Oilers. He is tied for third on the team's all-time list for seasons played and ranks fifth in games played. Munchak became a fixture on an offensive line that helped the Oilers to seven consecutive playoff appearances (1987-93). One of the premier guards in the National Football League, Munchak was selected to NFL's "Team of the Decade" for the 1980s and was chosen in 1989 to Oilers' 30th Anniversary "Dream Team." He ranks second in club annals with nine Pro Bowl selections, seven as a starter. Munchak announced his retirement on July 21, 1994, and on the same day, K.S. 'Bud' Adams, Jr,. announced that jersey No. 63 would be retired on "Mike Munchak Appreciation Day" on Nov. 6, 1994.
Matthews played in more games (296) than any non-kicker in NFL history. Longevity and durability were his hallmark. And that, coupled with his unparalleled play, in which he tied a league record with 14 Pro Bowl selections (tied with Merlin Olsen) and earned All-Pro honors six times, made him one of the all-time greats. He rose to the challenges presented to him in playing every position on the offensive line during his NFL career (87 at center, 99 at left guard, 67 at right guard, 22 at right tackle, and 17 at left tackle). His number was retired during a halftime ceremony in Nashville on Dec. 8, 2002.
Moon, the fourth leading passer in NFL history, played 10 years (1984-93) with the organization and holds the franchise records for passing yards (33,685) and touchdowns (196), while leading the Oilers to seven consecutive playoff appearances from 1987-93. Moon's finest season came in 1990, throwing for 4,689 yards (363-for-584) and 33 touchdowns in only 15 games and becoming the third player in NFL history to produce consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons. He earned AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year for his efforts and his third Pro Bowl berth. His jersey was retired in a halftime ceremony in Nashville on Oct. 1, 2006.