Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair addressed the team for several minutes after practice on Thursday at the Methodist Training Center.
In the wake of the Texans' 34-28 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens, McNair said that he received an uncommon outpouring of support at the NFL owners' meetings in Fort Worth on Tuesday.
"I was just sort of overwhelmed by the comments that our competitors had to say about our team, because it had never happened before like this," McNair said. "They were all, frankly, pulling for us after the way we came back... They just said it was just one of the most impressive comebacks they had ever seen. What was interesting was they didn't talk about the overtime. They didn't talk about the interception. All they could talk about was the comeback. They could just not believe it.
"The level of respect that they have for our team and how close they think we are to really being not just a good team but an outstanding team, it was nice to hear your peer group say that about you. So I just wanted the team to know how close not only we think they are, but how close our competitors think they are, to being an outstanding team."
McNair was asked if all the positive remarks from other owners would have an effect on Texans coach Gary Kubiak's future with the team.
"I think what it does, it's sort of an affirmation that we're on the right track," McNair said. "Clearly, we have to do better, because what we've done wasn't good enough. But (it affirms) that we're on the right track, and I've felt that way all along.
"We'll review everything at the end of the year, and will we make some changes? I'm sure we will make some -- we'll see some things that need to be improved. But we're very, very close to having the kind of team I think that we can all be proud of, and we just have to keep working hard and push it over the top. I think we're close."
The Texans have set an NFL record this season by becoming the first team in league history to come back from a deficit of at least 14 points to take the lead or tie, only to end up losing, in four games.
Each of those four losses has come during a 1-6 skid that has dropped the Texans' record from 4-2 to 5-8, which has all but ended their hopes of making the playoffs for the first time in team history.
"It's a killer," McNair said. "I hurt more than anybody. To see that we're so close to being where we want to be and then to be denied is just very disheartening. But you know, it's like life. I mean, does everything work out in your life? I doubt it. You don't quit, do you? No, you just suck it up and go on. And that's what you have to do. That's one reason this game is such a great reflection of life. It's what we face every day. And our fans, I feel their frustration and what have you. I get letters. I write them all back and tell them, 'Hey, I'm just as frustrated as you are.' But nobody wants to win more than I do, or Gary. I'll tell you that."
One of McNair's primary messages to the players on Thursday was the same thing that Kubiak and his staff have been reinforcing: To step up and make plays in crunch time. Kubiak said that McNair told him before practice that he would like to address the team.
"I think it's good," Kubiak said. "Our guys know how much he cares about them. He's out here at practice all the time. He's in the locker room. He's very active from that standpoint with this football team and he doesn't say a whole lot, and when he does speak, people pay attention."