EDITOR'S NOTE:This article appeared in the Houston Texans Gameday magazine on Nov. 18, 2012, for the Texans' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium. Elvis may have left the building 35 years ago, but George Lazaneo has arrived at Reliant Stadium.
Lazaneo, also known as "The Texans Elvis," has been a Houston Texans PSL holder and ultimate fan since the start of the franchise in 2002. Every Sunday of a home game, the native Houstonian puts on his rhinestone-encrusted "King of Rock 'n Roll" getup and shakes his hips in the rowdy "Bull Pen" section of the Texans' stadium.
"In the Bull Pen, you got to stand up most of the game and cheer as much as you can, and they encourage fans to dress up," Lazaneo said. "That's why me and my buddies started dressing up. Ten years later, I think I'm the only one of them still doing it."
Lazaneo credits his grandmother, Sarah Eguino, and her 24-7 soundtrack of Elvis music for his costume concept. Eguino was the "biggest Elvis fan ever," according to Lazaneo, and made his first red, white and blue Elvis suit.
"There was also that little bit of connection where the Oilers moved to Tennessee, where Elvis came from," Lazaneo said. "It was kind of showing old (former Houston Oilers and current Tennessee Titans owner) Bud Adams that, 'Hey, we got our own Elvis!'"
Growing up a diehard Oilers fan, Lazaneo was crushed when the team kissed the Lone Star State goodbye and moved to a new home in Nashville.
"I cried like everybody else cried, but thankfully, Mr. Bob McNair made a move to help all of Houston," he said.
Lazaneo was inspired to step up his game as Texans Elvis when he won the Ultimate Fan contest in 2002 and received a complementary trip to San Diego for Super Bowl XXXVII.
"The Texans do everything super first-class, right down to our stadium," Lazaneo said. "I won those tickets and was sent four days, five nights, first-class, resort… the whole thing. I came back after that and said, 'Hey, I got to have the best suits possible, no matter the cost.'"
The cost was clearly not a factor, as Lazaneo admits to spending upwards of $8,000 on a brand new crystal-enhanced, "blinged-out" wardrobe.
"That was back when my wife didn't look at my expenses, so I was able to get away with it," Lazaneo said with a laugh.
The 2012 season has been a long-awaited one for Lazaneo, who can barely contain his excitement over the Texans' 8-1 record. He remembers struggling to find friends willing to accompany him to games but now has a waiting list a mile long.
"It's been 10 years just biding our time and paying our dues, and we're finally Super Bowl-caliber this year," he said. "Oh, my gosh. You better believe my tickets are already booked."
An intricately designed "Battle Red Elvis" suit is in the works, complete with bullhorn rhinestones and plenty of bling. The costume should be ready by the final regular-season game, just in time for playoffs.
"I'm going to have to be the best wanna-be super fan Elvis in the NFL," Lazaneo said. "I need to keep up with the Joneses and make sure I'm representing the Texans as best as I can."
The Texans thank you, George. Thank you very much.