In an expansion deal that started with the NHL, moved to Tennessee, ping-ponged between Los Angeles and Cleveland, and included (of course) a rodeo, Houston was awarded the 32nd NFL franchise on October 6, 1999.
Building the team began with a stadium; in 2000, ground was broken for what would become the first retractable-roof football facility, to be shared with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Reliant Energy acquired naming rights for the complex, but in 2013, it changed monikers and became NRG Stadium.
Naming the squad itself fell to multiple focus groups held not only in Houston but in San Antonio, Austin, Galveston and Beaumont. Texans was officially chosen, beating out the Apollos, Bobcats, Stallions and Wildcatters, and the team was christened in September of 2000.
Under head coach Dom Capers, their 2002 inaugural season had its peaks and valleys. In a stunning 19-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Houston became the first expansion team in 41 years to win their opening game. This was followed, though, by five consecutive losses. Despite their eventual 4-12 record that year, the Texans sent both Aaron Glenn and Gary Walker to the Pro Bowl, tying the record for the most players selected from an expansion team.
In 2003, their record improved to 5-11, but when it fell to 2-14 in 2005, the Texans replaced Capers with head coach Gary Kubiak. By 2007, they had improved to 8-8, thanks in large part to wide receiver Andre Davis, as well as a number of flawless field goals by placekicker Kris Brown.
The Texans hosted a record-setting crowd for their first wild card playoff game in 2011, where running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson combined for 243 yards to rout the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10. They lost the next game to the Baltimore Ravens, ending one successful season only to begin another. Their 2012 record was 12-4, including their first Thanksgiving Day victory, which made them the first NFL team in history to win two overtime games in five days.
Kubiak was replaced after the 2013 season, and in 2014, Houston acquired both head coach Bill O’Brien and first-round draft pick Jadeveon Clowney.
Exciting things are happening for the Texans, and at home games, they begin well before kickoff. Fans roll in to NRG Stadium up to four hours early to set up epic tailgates that include smoked meats, enormous custom-made grills and entire slow-roasted pigs… hey, this is Texas! And before the team gets a chance at their opponent, the crowd is treated to a video of a herd of raging bulls thrashing the visitors, appropriately set to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” From pigs to pigskin, nobody does football quite like Houston.