With all the tributes you're seeing about John Madden, it's only fitting to wonder if and how he fits into Texans history.
Madden called only one game involving the youngest NFL franchise and it was the very first – the Hall of Fame Game against the New York Giants in August of 2002.
This was a preseason Monday Night Showcase with Al Michaels doing play-by-play and Melissa Stark on the sideline. The game was a celebration of the birth of a new team. David Carr would hit Billy Miller for the first Houston touchdown (of course, they hooked up again five weeks later in the regular season premiere against Dallas).
Now you're wondering, 'wait, that game against Dallas was a Sunday nighter. Why weren't Madden and Michaels doing that one?'
ESPN had Sunday night football back then and ABC aired Monday Night Football. The Texans debut in Canton was the first Monday night broadcast for Madden as well. He came over from FOX, where he had been since 1994. At one point, he was earning more than any NFL player.
Madden owns the distinction of having worked for all four major networks. When FOX got the NFC package, he and Pat Summerall joined the new network. After ABC shifted Monday Night Football to ESPN in 2006, Madden and Michaels went to NBC to call Sunday Night Football, which prior to that was a cable-only national game on ESPN (cable vs 'over-the-air' meant something back then).
Suddenly, it was SNF that would get the best matchups and Madden and Michaels were the best duo to deliver the call.
The Texans played on ESPN's Sunday night football several times, including the historic opener. And when Monday Night Football went to ESPN, Houston made it onto the schedule by 2008 with a win over then-hot Jacksonville.
Finally, in 2012, the Texans made their debut on NBC's Sunday Night Football in a game against Green Bay. But Madden was long gone from network TV by then, having departed in 2008.
As far as the Hall of Fame game went, it was a day to remember as the first game for the Texans. And on this day, we remember it as a time when the Texans and John Madden crossed paths. RIP Coach.
Check out some photos of Houston Texans players warming up at NRG Stadium to take on the Chargers in Week 16.