The Texans home opener is Liberty White Day at NRG Stadium and there have been some memorable moments in openers over the years.
In 2010, a relative unknown starting running back by the name of Arian Foster took the world by storm against the defending AFC champion Indianapolis Colts. He sliced through the Colts defense for 231 yards on the ground, still a Texans record, to lead the team to a victory over the Colts, just the second win over Indianapolis in the history of the franchise at the time.
In 2016, a fresh-faced rookie from Notre Dame announced his presence with authority against the Chicago Bears. Will Fuller V caught five passes for 107 yards and a touchdown on a tunnel screen to lead the Texans to a 23-14 win over the Bears. I remember interviewing Will after that game and he was just so calm and cool as if he had just played Wake Forest or USC.
But, my favorite Liberty White opener was in 2014 against the Washington Redskins. The Texans dominated the 'Skins in Bill O'Brien's first game as head coach. DeAndre Hopkins had a 75-yard touchdown to tie the game early in the first quarter and on the following possession, rookie running back Alfred Blue blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. From that point, the Texans never looked back.
I remember that opener more than any other because it was my first regular season game as the team's sideline reporter. That day also produced my favorite radio broadcast team story. During the third quarter, we got hit with one of the worst thunderstorms I can remember. Now, I was pretty much unaware the whole time this was happening because I couldn't see much from down on the field. Then, at some point, during the middle of a play, I hear nothing. Marc and Andre were just quiet and all I can hear was commotion going on the background.
See, the weather was so bad it knocked out the power to our broadcast and to our studio back at Sports Radio 610. This being my first game, I wasn't sure if that was unusual, considering that my former radio station getting knocked off the air happened ALL the time, even on 75-degree, sunny days.
So, commotion reigned for about 30 seconds and then I hear this loud bang on the desk and the words "GET US BACK ON THE AIR!!" No one, and I mean no one, gets in the way of Marc Vandermeer and a Texans game broadcast, not even Mother Nature.
I broke up laughing on the sidelines, while Andre stifled his laughter in the booth, because we rarely saw Marc get angry. I had never seen it to that point and have rarely, if ever, seen it in six years since. So, as our engineers tried to figure out the issues, Andre and I just watched the game together, discussing what was happening on the field trying to block out the chaos around him in the booth. About five to seven minutes later, we were back on the air, up and running as normal. Thankfully, we have not been knocked off the air due to power or what have you since (knock on wood). We've all joked about that day in the years since, especially when opening day is on the horizon and the weather does look fine for Sunday. Thankfully.