HOUSTON — “Repus.”
It’s a word you may hear during Sunday’s broadcast of the Texans and Jaguars on KHOU 11.
Where does it come from?
It’s another strange but true Houston sports story.
Houston’s never played in a Super Bowl. The next worst thing? A game played on Nov. 27, 1983 featuring the Houston Oilers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Both teams had a record of 1-11. Only one other game in NFL history has featured two clubs this bad.
Tom McEwan, the sports editor of the Tampa Tribune, decided his newspaper will make a spectacle of it; inspired by the Super Bowl, which Tampa was hosting at the end of the season.
Tom realizes Super spelled backwards is Repus. Thanks to him, the Repus Bowl was born.
“He decides that this matchup between the Buccaneers and Oilers is as far from Super as possible,” Dr. Denis Crawford, a member of the Pro Football Researchers Association, said.
“He was actually encouraging people go to the game, support the Bucs. Don't feel bad. This is history we're watching.”
It didn’t go well for Houston. The Buccaneers grab a 26-10 lead. Oilers quarterback Oliver Luck threw three interceptions. Tampa Bay was victorious, 33-24.
The Bucs were relieved. The Oilers? Attending that game for KHOU 11 was Matt Musil.
“I'm reporting from the locker room. And as I sign off, I said, It's now official. The Houston Oilers are the worst team in the NFL. Well, a number of years later, a quarterback on the team Giff Nielsen reveals to me that he said, ‘You know when I think back on that day, when you did that, all I want to do is punch you in the face,’” Musil explained.
Even now, when two teams with double-digit losses meet in the regular season, it’s a “Repus Bowl.”
“It is just a fun word. You know, ‘Repus,’ it actually kind of sounds like your body trying to expunge something.”
The first Repus Bowl, a strange but true Houston sports story.