Houston Texans Team History
Houston Texans' National Football League debut occurred in the
2002 AFC-NFC Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The game brought
to fruition a dream of the Houston community. The drive to bring
an NFL team back to the football-rich city was spearheaded by
owner Bob McNair.
His quest began in 1997. After being turned away by the National
Hockey League, McNair turned his focus to bringing an expansion
football team back to Houston. In just a few months, McNair’s
efforts began paying off. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue praised
his plans at the owners’ meeting in October of that year.
In June 1998, the NFL Stadium Committee made a visit to Houston
to see the plans for a new retractable roof stadium. Nine months
later, the league voted 29-2 to give Los Angeles six months
to work out a feasible ownership plan and stadium situation.
If the city could not do so, then the NFL would recommend Houston
as the 32nd franchise.
McNair, after stepping up his efforts to land the expansion
team, became encouraged in the summer of 1999 when it appeared
that Los Angeles’ bid was failing. In September, McNair
was instructed to prepare for the upcoming owners’ meeting
in Atlanta. Then, at that meeting held on October 6, 1999, the
NFL owners voted 29-0 to award the expansion franchise to McNair
for a record $700 million.
On January 19, 2000, the team began to form its front office
when Charley Casserly was hired as Executive Vice President/General
Manager. Casserly, who spent the last 10 of his 23 seasons with
Washington as the Redskins’ general manager, oversaw a
team that won three Super Bowl titles.
Next on the list was finding the team an identity. On March
2, after months of research and extensive focus group sessions,
the Houston franchise narrowed its choices of nicknames to five:
Apollos, Bobcats, Stallions, Texans, and Wildcatters. The following
month, the list of team names was thinned to three – Apollos,
Stallions, and Texans. Then, on September 6, the franchise was
officially named the Houston Texans. McNair, along with Commissioner
Tagliabue, were on hand at a downtown rally as the team unveiled
its name, colors, and logo to the crowd.
More pieces to the expansion puzzle continued to be put in place
when the Texans tapped Dom Capers as the franchise’s first
head coach on January 21, 2001. Building an expansion is nothing
new to Capers who served as the coach of the expansion Carolina
Panthers for the first four seasons of their existence.
The Texans wasted little time earning their first victory in
franchise history. Houston defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 19-10,
in the regular season opener at the state-of-the-art Reliant
Stadium. It marked the first time that an expansion club won
their opening game since Minnesota defeated Chicago in 1961.