Friday, December 8th
Wheels down in Houston.
After another tough defeat at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the franchise's 11th straight loss, the Texans charter plane touches down at George Bush International airport. It is 3 am.
After playing on a Thursday night in Jacksonville, Florida, it is Friday morning back in the Magnolia city.
Forty five minutes later, the team buses pull into Reliant Stadium, as players and staff make their way out of the facility and head home. As the cars file out into the city, all are unaware that merely seven hours later the seven past years of Texans history would become just that.
The Houston Texans business operations staff files into their offices at Reliant. An already unique week enters its final day, with normal postgame duties on the docket. A Thursday night game means a condensed schedule, so after fitting a week's worth of tasks into a three-day window, the page now turns to recapping the previous night.
Plans are also in motion for the future, with an upcoming game against the Indianapolis Colts only nine days away.
On my way in the building, I walk directly past the football operations offices. This space houses the coaching, public relations and front office staff. Lights are on and the pace is quick.
All appears normal. Business as usual.
From a website coverage standpoint, the only item on the docket is head coach Gary Kubiak's press conference at 11 am. Contrary to popular belief, this is a normal media session, held the day after a game. Today that means a Friday presser.
Kubiak's press conference is a half hour away.
News is starting to surface that today's normal session will be nothing of the sort. Six minutes later, esteemed NFL writer and MMQB creator Peter King tweets out this message.
I expect Gary Kubiak will be fired today as the coach of the Texans. — Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) December 6, 2013
That statement goes viral, retweeted over 700 times in the next 30 minutes. King's prediction causes other national NFL writers to weigh on, starting an online debate about the nature of Friday's press conference. As part of our normal process, the media session is set to air live on HoustonTexans.com. According to many, this has now become appointment watching
The clock strikes 11, but nothing happens. Our camera stream, which is now being carried live on the NFL Network, shows an empty stage, the podium normally used for event pushed off to the side. As the minutes pass, the outside noise rises. Fox's Jay Glazer appears to confirm what most who are following the situation believe is happening.
Just heard from a Texans member who told me Coach Kubiak has informed coaches he has been let go — Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) December 6, 2013
The door to right of the stage (as you watch) opens, and three men make their way onto the stage. Texans founder, chairman and CEO Bob McNair, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rick Smith and Vice President and COO Cal McNair all walk in, taking a seat at the folding table set up in the middle.
"This has been a very disappointing year for the Texans organization," Bob McNair begins. "We started out with such high hopes…"
Exactly a minute later, McNair utters the sentence that changes the course of the Houston Texans franchise.
"Gary Kubiak is no longer the head coach."
Eight hours after it began, in just eight words, the eight years of the Gary Kubiak era are over.