When the Houston Oilers departed for the Music City in 1997, most thought the NFL would never return. Bob McNair is a wealthy oilman who wanted to bring the NFL back to Houston. Unfortunately, his efforts to bring the NHL to Houston failed in 1997.
He was determined to bring back the Oilers back to pro-football. McNair and his business partner Chuck Watson put together a plane with the officials from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLS&R) say they will push for the building of a retractable roof stadium that the Rodeo will share with an NFL team, as opposed to renovating the Astrodome.
However, despite the organized efforts the NFL wanted to expand to Los Angeles. The politicians in LA could not agree on what plan to go with, and the NFL who was so impressed with Houston's plan started to consider putting the 32nd team in Houston. In March of 1999, the NFL gave the city of LA a 6-month deadline to get their plans together. When the Los Angeles officials failed to get an organized plan together, the NFL decided to award Bob McNair and Houston the 32nd team that would begin play in 2002.
The NFL in 2002, returned to Houston as the expansion Texans faced the Dallas Cowboys in a Lone Star State showdown in Primetime on September 8 at Reliant Stadium the first stadium with a retractable roof in the NFL. It would be a magical night for the Texans and they became just the second expansion team since 1960 to win their very first game as the stunned the Cowboys 19-10 with Billy Miller scoring the first TD in franchise history.
After the jubilation of their first came the Texans came back to earth losing 5 straight before beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 21-19 on October 27th for their first ever road victory. After three straight losses the Texans would get their third win by stunning the playoff bound New York Giants 16-14 at Reliant Stadium. After a 19-3, loss on the road to the Indianapolis Colts the Texans got their fourth and final win by stunning the NFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers on the road 24-6 as Aaron Glenn returned two interceptions for Touchdowns as the Texans won despite being held to 46 yards total offense. The Texans would go on to lose their final four games to finish with a 4-12 record. Setting the tone for the Texans resiliency and toughness was QB David Carr who took every snap despite being sacked a NFL record 76 times.
The Texans in 2003 got their second season started in grand style as they stunned the Miami Dolphins in the first game of the season on the road 21-20, as they were listed as two Touchdown underdogs. After losing their next two games the Texans faced the prospect of a 1-3 start trailing the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-17 in the final seconds at Reliant Stadium. After three failed attempts at the goaline, Coach Dom Capers decided to roll the dice going for the win instead of the game tying FG.
The venture would pay off as QB David Carr snuck the ball past the goaline on the games final play to give the Texans a dramatic 24-20 win. After losing their next three games, the Texans played the roll of bad hosts for eventual NFC Champion beating the Carolina Panthers 14-10.
After splitting the next two games, the Texans gave the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots all they could handle as they led most of the way before the Patriots tied the game in the final minute. The Patriots would go on to win the game 23-20 in overtime, but they walked away knowing like the Panthers their Super Bowl Opponents at Reliant Field were no pushovers. A week later, the Texans would with five game of the season over the Atlanta Falcons 17-13. Numerous injuries would take their toll, as they would not win another game the rest of the way finishing with a 5-11 record.
The Texans in 2004 would get off to a slow start in their 3rd season, as they lost their first two games. Looking at 0-3 in the face the Texans rallied to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road 24-21 as Kris Benson nailed a 49-yard FG with 7 seconds remaining.
After beating the Oakland Raiders the following week, the Texans rallied to score 21 points in the 4th Quarter to force overtime against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings would win in OT 34-28. The Texans would rebound off the overtime loss to win their next two and peak over .500 at 4-3, but 3 straight losses would essentially end the Texans playoff hopes. The Texans would eventually fall to 5-8, before making run last run at respectability with two straight wins. Nevertheless, with a shot at .500 the Texans lost their season finale to the struggling Cleveland Browns 22-14 as they settled for 7-9.
Now 2005, the Texans are got better but in a rough division it will be difficult to get noticed as they finish in 3rd place once again. They could finish with a winning record if they can get an extra win here, as they are one year away from making a playoff run.