The Texans' home opener will take place this Sunday at 3:25 PM and that's sort of a minor miracle, given the state of our city, state and country earlier this summer. It will happen, though, minus something unforeseen occurring between now and Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, fans won't be there for this one (however, we want to have fans for the Vikings visit in week four) and that bums me out a bit. They've been able to celebrate some memorable home openers over the past 18 years, dating back to Night One.
In 2002, the inaugural contest for the Texans, who will ever forget 19-10 against the Dallas Cowboys? Nothing like having "scoreboard" after the very first game against the in-state rival, huh? The people that I've met and talked to about that night think that was the loudest game in the history of the franchise. I regret not being there for that game.
The Texans didn't win another home opener until 2007 when quarterback Matt Schaub arrived and connected with the GOAT Andre Johnson in a 20-3 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. That was my first Texans game ever, even though I didn't get there until halftime (was in Baton Rouge the night before scouting Duane Brown and Tyrod Taylor from Virginia Tech).
The next home opener was one I'll never forget and it's often mentioned as fans' favorite - the Arian Foster Game in 2010. Bring up "2010" and "Colts" in the same sentence and the immediate response is "oh, the Arian Foster Game!" In that win over the Colts, Foster ran wild - 33 carries for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Matt Schaub threw only 17 times because Foster and the offensive line were just dominant against the Colts that day. The Texans then won the next four openers in 2011 (Colts), 2012 (Dolphins), 2013 (Titans OT win - last win that season) and 2014 (Redskins).
That 2014 home opener is one that stands out for me, personally. It was Bill O'Brien's first game as head coach and it was my first game as the team's sideline reporter. It was also the day that our broadcast got knocked off the air by a VICIOUS thunderstorm. It looked murky for a while, but we survived and the Texans won. It ended up being a glorious day.
The Texans won home openers in 2016 (Bears) and 2019 (Jaguars), two seasons in which they would emerge as AFC South champions. This year won't be easy, in the slightest, with the defending AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens coming to town for the first time since 2014. There have been some memorable home openers, so here's hoping for another one...with a positive ending on Sunday.
Look back at the Texans' 2019 home win against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Liberty White out game at NRG Stadium.