Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair was at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.
As he watched the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers to earn the Lombardi Trophy, one thought persisted at the forefront of his mind.
"I was thinking we need to be there," McNair said on Tuesday in his office at Reliant Stadium. "That was the main thought.
"That was two good teams that are both balanced, and really, they try to do things in a way that's quite similar to what we do. They both have good running games, they both have good defense and they both have the ability to throw the ball. So it's a well-balanced attack, and that's what we try to do."
The Texans were one of two teams in the NFL to finish in the top-10 in offense and defense this season, ranking seventh in yards on both sides of the ball. They were eighth in rushing and 11th in passing on offense.
McNair said he got plenty of feedback from other owners and league observers last weekend about how much they respect the Texans and what the team did this year. The Texans went 12-4 and won the AFC South for the second consecutive season after going 10-6 in 2011.
"They thought we had a super season and, of course, we did have a very good season," McNair said. "We improved over the prior year, but we're disappointed because we're wanting a Super Bowl. But it was still a very good year."
Three weeks after losing in the Divisional Round of the playoffs at New England, the Texans have shifted their focus to 2013. McNair and his son Cal, the Texans' vice chairman, will meet with executive vice president of football operations/general manager Rick Smith and head coach Gary Kubiak throughout the offseason as free agency and the draft approach.
"We're gonna go back and analyze," McNair said. "We're gonna look at New England and how was it that New England beat us twice; what did they do that was different? What was it that we could have done that might have been different? How was it that Baltimore beat them twice and we beat Baltimore by 30 points (43-13 in Week 6 at Reliant Stadium)? Is it that Baltimore is doing something different than we're doing? On offense or defense, do they have a different wrinkle? What is that difference?
"We've just got to analyze everything we're doing in any place where we feel like we didn't perform where we wanted to perform. We've got to change that and get that performance up. That's the sort of thing that we're doing now.
"That leads you to the next question, which is in order to do that, do we add personnel, or what are our priorities? Do we need another defensive back so when we're playing nickel defense, we're stronger? If people are gonna do this dinkin' and dunkin' on these short passes, we need to be able to cover those better. Do we need more speed at linebacker? Do we need a little more pass rush? Do we need a little better ball-catching ability in the secondary? Do we need something on offense? We know we need another wide receiver, to add some more speed there. We've got an offensive line that we want to see improve, and our young guys are gonna improve."
The Texans also have their own group of free agents to potentially re-sign. Among them are free safety Glover Quin, outside linebacker Connor Barwin, cornerback Brice McCain and fullback James Casey.
"We're already reviewing that, and they're part of this whole process," McNair said. "We first look at where we are and determine what our needs are, and then what are the priorities in terms of re-signing players that fit those needs? And if we don't have 'em, then are there any in free agency? Can we upgrade by replacing a player with somebody in free agency? We look at that all the time, and we look at what's in the draft. So we really evaluate all of the players, and anytime we can improve our team, that's what we do."