Two of the youngest franchises in the NFL will hook up on Sunday at NRG Stadium. The Carolina Panthers were born (with Jacksonville) in 1995 and the Texans began play in 2002.
Cleveland is the other team in this mix. And before you go talking about players like Otto Graham, yes, the Browns retain the history of the name but after the franchise moved to Baltimore, a new Cleveland Brown team came into being in 1999.
One thing the Texans and Panthers share is that they started with the same head coach, Dom Capers. Capers had been a highly successful assistant in Pittsburgh and New Orleans. He even coached with current Texans QB coach Carl Smith with the Saints and the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL.
Capers spent four years with Carolina then went to work for Tom Coughlin as defensive coordinator for the best Jaguar team ever; the 1999 14-2 bunch that lost to the Titans in the AFC championship game. He then got the Texans gig.
We always talk about the early games like the opening night win over the Cowboys or the game with three defensive TDs at Pittsburgh. But in Year 2, the Carolina Panthers were the guests for the very first Battle Red game. The Texans won that day against a Panther team that would eventually go to the Super Bowl in the same building.
Two other semi-notable connections between the clubs involve the quarterback position. David Carr's next employer after leaving the Texans was the Panthers in 2007. And in late in 2011, with the Texans suffering an epidemic of QB injuries, the team signed Jake Delhomme to back up T.J. Yates.