Football 101: Forget Xs and Os, this is about team


Each week, I typically sit down with oodles of game tape and find something that I can put together in an X's and O's Football 101-type article. It never fails that I can find something, anything interesting to write about that occurred on the field.

I can't do that this week.

Well, I mean, I can but Thursday night really has nothing to do with X's and O's and football stuff.

Cliché though it may be, this one is about team.

It's not about the 46 guys that'll wear the pads on Thursday night. It's not about Bill O'Brien and the coaching staff. It's not about the thousands of fans that paid their hard earned money to support this team.

It's about all of us.

When the Lombardi Trophy is handed to the winner of the Super Bowl, it doesn't say J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. It doesn't say Bill O'Brien, coaching staff and the rest.

It says Houston Texans. Think about that for a second.

Houston. It's where most of you reading this right now reside. It's where you drive to work, earn a living, bought that jersey or came out to see Duane Brown at his Tuesday night radio show. It's the 713 or the 281 or the 832. It's the beach. It's the country. It's you.

I walk through this building every single day and I know everyone in it. Sure, it's easy to spot J.J. Watt and Arian Foster. But, the people around me have a role as well. The person a row of cubicles over from me sky jumped from the top of NRG Stadium in a blue suit and a bull's mascot head to get you fired up. Another person a few doors down has called every single Texans game in team history and is the best voice in the National Football League. My office mate has produced Emmy winning television shows and helps tell the story of the guys you see every Sunday. Around the corner is the sales and marketing teams that never stop working to help create raving fans.

We are all Houston Texans.

As a senior in college, I knew my football career was running short and I was really ready for it to all be over. We weren't very good and had only two wins through seven games at that point. Our second to last home game of the year was against Harvard. The Crimson's head coach was retiring at the end of the season, so our head coach went out early to make a presentation to him. So, instead of our head coach giving us a pre-game pep talk, it was one of our assistant coaches.

He stood up in front of the team and said something that has stuck with me to this day. He told us that it was ending for some of us rather soon. He reminded the seniors that we were essentially two weeks away from playing our last game ever. So, he challenged us to think about the guy next to us, the staff person behind us and everyone in that locker room. He said there was nothing more satisfying than coming together to win a game for each other. He said, you do this for each other and by doing it for each other, you'll have done it for everyone in this room. To me, that was the true definition of team.

We went out and drubbed Harvard that day. I'm convinced 20 plus years later that it happened because we set aside the nuances of football and X's and O's and truly grasped the value of a team – putting the team above all else, doing the job we were asked to do, appreciating the value of the guy next to you and valuing the people wearing Brown across their chest that day and every day.

The people you don't see when you walk into NRG Stadium that work for this organization are those people. The people at home tuned in cheering no matter what are those people. The people that'll tailgate all Thursday afternoon to get jacked up to be as loud as possible are those people. It's the military member overseas sporting the Texans flag 24/7. It's the breast cancer survivor who'll wear a number 99 jersey on Thursday night. It's Texans Chick. It's the End Zone King. It's the fan up in the 600 section that still screams his/her head off because it forces opposing quarterbacks to use a silent count.

As it says on the outside of NRG Stadium...We are Texans. We are this team. We are in this together. Sure, we'll never score a touchdown or make a catch or tackle, but we ALL have a role and we ALL have a job to do, no matter whether it's seen or heard.

Oh, that coach back at Brown was…Jim Bernhardt. He's now the Texans Director of Football Research. He truly taught me the value of team that day and there's no time like the present to recall that lesson.

Let's do it. All of us.

The Texans fans showed up in full force to support the good guys against Atlanta.

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