I'm embarrassed to admit it.
I've lived in Houston, off and on for the past 32 years, and I've never been to an NFL playoff game. No Oilers games. Neither of the Texans two games vs. Cincinnati. My pops wasn't one for fighting traffic and crowds and stuff when he could watch from his La-Z-Boy recliner. So, during the Oilers playoff runs in the late 1980s/early 1990s, we watched together from the house.
I had an overnight national radio show the two years the Texans played Cincinnati in 2011 and 2012. I slept through most of the first quarter of the Texans win in 2011, but through the magic of DVR, I was able to speed through the game and catch up to it in real time. The very first play I saw live that day was J.J. Watt's pick six that ignited that playoff win and, essentially, Watt's career. I've been envious of those that were in the building and, of course, working with the Texans, there are plenty that were there to soak in the playoff atmosphere that day.
I didn't and it ate at me for years. On my radio show, I used to do a nightly/early morning segment called the Ultimate 11. I would give people a topic each day and through calls or social media have them submit the best answers. So, a couple of years later on one of my shows, I came up with the topic "I was in the building when…" , asking people to fill in the best sporting event they had ever seen live and why.
I saw Chris Webber call the timeout he didn't have in the 1993 Final Four. I still shake my head recalling Alabama star George Teague chasing down the U's Lamar Thomas in the 1993 Sugar Bowl national championship game and taking the ball away from him. I saw Brett Favre play in college. I was in the Astrodome when The Punch was thrown.
I had affiliates across the country, Detroit, the Bay Area, Miami and, of course, Houston. So, I got some interesting and wide-ranging responses. Then, someone called from Houston.
"Yeah, John, I was in the building for J.J. Watt's pick six."
It hit me that night that no matter how little I slept or how tired I was, I wanted to be there for the Texans' next one and the one after that and the one...you get the point.
That one will be on Saturday. I never thought I'd be working down on the sidelines for it, but trust me when I say that I can finally answer my own question "I and 70k of my closest friends were in the building when…"
The Texans played in the playoffs.
Bring on the Chiefs!