|1961 Houston Oilers season|
|Head coach||Wally Lemm (9–0) and|
Lou Rymkus (1–3–1, fired)
|General manager||Don Suman|
|Home field||Jeppesen Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFL Eastern|
|Playoff finish||Won AFL Championship|
San Diego Chargers, (10–3)
The 1961 Houston Oilers season was the second season for the Houston Oilers as a professional American football franchise; For the second consecutive season, the Oilers scored a triumph in the AFL championship game over the San Diego Chargers (12–2), the Western Division champions.
The Oilers started slowly in 1961, with a 1–3–1 record. After a tie on October 13 with the Boston Patriots, head coach Lou Rymkus was fired by owner Bud Adams. Wally Lemm was hired, and the team went undefeated for the remainder of the season, including the championship game, a winning streak of ten games.
The Oilers set the AFL record for points scored in 1961, with 513 (36.6 points per game). They also set an American Football League record with a +271 point differential, by allowing only 242 points. The 1961 Oilers are the only team in AFL or NFL history to score 45 points or more six times in a single season.
On January 14, end Willard Dewveall played out his option with the Chicago Bears of the NFL and joined the Oilers. He became the first player to move deliberately from one league to another. Dewveall was the only one to move between leagues for five years, until placekicker Pete Gogolak moved from the Buffalo Bills to the New York Giants of the NFL in 1966.
- Houston Oilers draft picks (Selected eighth)
|1||Mike Ditka||Offensive End||Pittsburgh|
|2||Tom Goode||Center||Mississippi State|
|3||Walter Suggs 1||Tackle||Mississippi State|
|7||Dick Reynolds||Tackle||North Carolina State|
|8||Houston Antwine 1,2||Guard||Southern Illinois|
|9||Ralph White||Tackle||Bowling Green|
|11||Robert Bird||Guard||Bowling Green|
|12||Bob McLeod||Offensive End||Abilene Christian|
|13||Gerald Hinton||Guard||Louisiana Tech|
|17||Sam Fewell||Tackle||South Carolina|
|18||Mike Grimsley||Halfback||Michigan State|
|20||Lewis Johnson||Halfback||Florida A&M|
|22||Bob Kelly||Offensive End||New Mexico State|
|24||Ken Gregory||Offensive End||Whittier|
|26||Don Fuell||Quarterback||Mississippi Southern|
|29||John Frongillo||Offensive End||Lake Forest|
|29||Errol Linden||Defensive end||Houston|
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|AFL Eastern Division|
|New York Titans||7||7||0||.500||3–3||301||390||L2|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
|1||September 9||Oakland Raiders||W 55–0||1–0||Jeppesen Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 24||at San Diego Chargers||L 24–34||1–1||Balboa Stadium||Recap|
|4||October 1||at Dallas Texans||L 21–26||1–2||Cotton Bowl||Recap|
|5||October 8||Buffalo Bills||L 12–22||1–3||Jeppesen Stadium||Recap|
|6||October 13||at Boston Patriots||T 31–31||1–3–1||Boston University Field||Recap|
|7||October 22||Dallas Texans||W 38–7||2–3–1||Jeppesen Stadium||Recap|
|8||October 29||at Buffalo Bills||W 28–16||3–3–1||War Memorial Stadium||Recap|
|9||November 5||at Denver Broncos||W 55–14||4–3–1||Bears Stadium||Recap|
|10||November 12||Boston Patriots||W 27–15||5–3–1||Jeppesen Stadium||Recap|
|11||November 19||New York Titans||W 49–13||6–3–1||Jeppesen Stadium||Recap|
|12||November 26||Denver Broncos||W 45–14||7–3–1||Jeppesen Stadium||Recap|
|13||December 3||San Diego Chargers||W 33–13||8–3–1||Jeppesen Stadium||Recap|
|14||December 10||at New York Titans||W 48–21||9–3–1||Polo Grounds||Recap|
|15||December 17||at Oakland Raiders||W 47–16||10–3–1||Candlestick Park||Recap|
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
|1961 Houston Oilers roster|
Rookies in italics
|Championship||December 24||San Diego Chargers||W 10–3||Balboa Stadium||29,556||Recap|
AFL Championship Game
Houston Oilers 10, San Diego Chargers 3
- HOU – Field goal George Blanda 46
- HOU – Billy Cannon 35 pass from Blanda (Blanda kick)
- SD – Field goal Blair 12
- "Chargers challenge for AFL grid title". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 24, 1961. p. 2, sports.
- "Blanda stars as Oilers win AFL title, 10-3". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. December 25, 1961. p. 1S.
- "Blanda's arm and toe clear path as Houston takes 2d AFL crown". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 25, 1961. p. 14.
- "Lemm lifts Oilers back toward top". Sarasota Journal. Florida. UPI. November 2, 1961. p. 30.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1940 to 2011, in the AFL, in the regular season, sorted by descending Points For
- Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1960 to 1969, in the AFL, in the regular season, sorted by descending Points Differential
- Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1940 to 2011, in the regular season, requiring Points For >= 45, sorted by most games in season matching criteria.
- "Chicago Bears veteran Dewveall joins". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. January 14, 1961. p. 8.
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 282
- "Signing of Gogolak could trigger football battle". Ludington Daily News. Michigan. Associated Press. May 18, 1966. p. 12.