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H-Town Made: Why the Texans uniform redesign process had to be the most transparent and fan-driven in NFL history

After a season of mighty change that started with the hiring of Head Coach DeMeco Ryans and included an AFC South Championship and a Wild Card round playoff win, the Texans are continuing to bring to life Texans Chair and CEO Cal McNair's vision of an organization that fearlessly evolves.

McNair had ideas about where he wanted the Texans to go: excellence in all aspects was imperative in the hyper-competitive NFL. To get there, McNair believed the Texans must fearlessly evolve both on the field and upstairs in the NRG Stadium business offices. While that meant charging the organization with innovating, it also meant creating deeper connections with fans to find out what they wanted from the team.

In August 2022, early in Training Camp, the team practiced in Battle Red helmets. Since 2002, they'd worn the same Deep Steel Blue helmets with the bullhead logo, but that warm morning at the Houston Methodist Training Center they busted out the new look.

The players and coaches, media covering the team, social media, and most importantly the fans universally loved the new red helmets. It was a nice teaser for the one and only time they'd appear in a game that season, which was a Thursday-nighter at home against the Eagles in November.

In quieter fashion, however, while the players were practicing with the new red helmets, the team also started selling limited quantities of merchandise featuring a newly-designed "H" to represent Houston. The merchandise didn't last long on the shelves. Fans gobbled up the t's, sweatshirts and hoodies, and the also embraced the "Heart. Hustle. H-Town." marketing campaign that sprang up alongside it.

Texans fans loved the team. But they really loved seeing the "H" and representing their city.

Their Houston.

Their H-Town.

This response spurred McNair and the Texans to go further. They added HOUSTON to one end zone and leaned into the city's nationally-known car and music cultures.

Again, fans said: "Yes! This resonates with us."

And they asked the big question: "How can we incorporate Houston into our uniforms and update our look?"

McNair's response was unequivocal: "Let's run the most fan-inclusive and transparent uniform redesign process in the history of the NFL," he told his leadership team.

The Texans and the NFL conducted more than 10,000 surveys with fans groups, influencers, current players and former players. Across more than 30 focus groups, they sought to find out how far fans wanted the team to go: Should the new uniforms be all H-Town? Should they hold onto elements of the team's current look? The colors, the bullhead logo, everything about the brand was on the table.

When the data was analyzed, it was clear there was no consensus. A section of the fanbase wanted to stay traditional and keep a classic look. Another segment wanted to stay traditional but modernize the look. A third group loved the bullhead, and wanted horns incorporated into a bold bull design. A fourth group wanted H-Town front-and-center on the uniforms and wanted Houston's blue – the color in the city flag and on its streets – incorporated into the uniforms.

Oh, and the players? They wanted to feel bada** every time they stepped on the field.

Through meetings with the NFL and Nike – including a visit to Nike's Oregon campus to review samples – McNair and his team sought to bring something for everyone to the final locker of uniforms.

They also asked an important question: Can we do more?

Fans clearly loved the bullhead logo, but they also loved repping their city in a clear and direct manner: That "H" merch? It was still incredibly popular well over a year after it debuted.

The team produced over 300 options for a new "H" logo that could support the bullhead. Fans came to NRG Stadium and reviewed slide after slide of logo options and – luckily! – only one was preferred by fans old and young, new and tenured.

So, when you see the full set of uniforms, remember: they didn't come together overnight. Cal McNair charged the organization to fearlessly evolve, and thousands of fans had to give open, honest feedback for many months to ensure their voices could guide a complex, transparent process that no team had attempted before.

Every uniform design you'll see was driven by fans, Legends, and influencers who have repped H-Town for years.

We can't wait to share them with the people that inspired them.

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