Call them villains, call them adversaries. However you want to describe them, they are the players who have given the Texans the hardest time over the two decades of franchise history.
John Harris and I went over our top five on Texans All Access. We'll let you decide who the fifth is but, having called every game, I'm very comfortable with the first four.
1. Peyton Manning
Sure, we like him now. He's funny. He did the best athlete stint on SNL ever. He's creative and his Monday night 'Manningcast' with his brother Eli is an entertaining watch. But to the Texans, Manning was the all-time enemy. As a Colt, he went 16-2 against Houston. The games at the RCA Dome were nightmares. And he presided over two comebacks from 17-0 deficits at NRG (including 'Rosencopter') to break Houston's heart.
2. T.Y. Hilton
You sensing a theme here? The Colts are 32-9 all-time against the Texans. This includes the playoff game where Hilton wore a clown mask while entering the building. He had yet another big game and the loss further solidified Indy as the greatest nemesis in team history. Hilton has always been a big thorn in the side.
3. Gillette Stadium
Johnny suggested Tom Brady or Bill Belichick but I'm here to point out that the Texans are 3-3 against Belichick at NRG Stadium and 2-3 against Brady. The real problems have occurred in the Foxborough where the Texans have lost two playoff games, a crushing MNF defeat in 2012, a Thursday night thumping to Jacoby Brissett in 2016, a heartbreaker in 2017 and losses in '06 and '18. The crowd gets obnoxious, the p.a. arrogantly cranks the Outfield's 'Josie' song when the game is in hand and the place is hardest to get in and out of in the league.
4. Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney
I'm putting them together because this is the Lennon and McCartney of tormenting opposing backfields. The scorched the RCA Dome turf and kept the good times rolling in the new digs. It wasn't just the Texans they harassed but the record is the way it is in large part because of their defensive prowess. Duane Brown once told us Freeney was the most difficult pass rusher to handle on a consistent basis.
5. (Fill in the blank yourself)
I'll give strong consideration to Albert Haynesworth or even Ndamakong Suh. It's too soon for Derek Henry (or is it?). There are plenty of others to choose from but I thought I'd let you weigh in and tell us on Twitter - @TexansVoice, @JHarrisFootball.