As the NFL embarked on executing games in the era of COVID-19, 73-year old Romeo Crennel opted into a season of unknowns with a goal to help out the team and the defense in any way he could.
Four weeks into the season, Crennel was named interim head coach. He led the team to its first win in Week 5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans finished with a 4-12 record, three more wins and five one-score losses. In his seventh season with the Texans and 38th in the NFL, Crennel looked back at some of his favorite moments with the team.
Best Game: Week 5 win against Jaguars
"Well, the best game probably was the Jacksonville game we won right after I became the coach. That was a good feeling. Enjoyed that."
Worst Game: Week 14 loss at Chicago
"The worst game I think was Chicago because I don't think that we gave the kind of effort that we needed to give to give ourselves a chance to win. I think that was the worst one."
Favorite memory of J.J. Watt: The pick-sixes*
"Some of the best times are when he intercepts the ball and runs it in for a touchdown. When I first got here, he did that quite often. Those were good times because it turned the game around. It helped us win games and so that was definitely a positive."
What impressed him about Deshaun Watson: His optimism
"A lot of guys in the situation we were in and the way we were losing games, their attitude would go downhill. His attitude never went downhill. He was always upbeat. He was always looking to make a play. He was lifting the guys around him, and so that impressed me quite a bit about him."
What he enjoyed the most: The people
"Well, you enjoy the players. You enjoy coaching. You enjoy the staff. In my experience, most of the staff are good guys and, on this staff, I think they're all good guys. You enjoy being around them. You enjoy the staff meetings, the competition, but this year's a little different because of Covid and social distancing, Zoom meetings and all of those things. The interaction with your staff and interaction with the coaches was not as great. That made the year difficult. Covid itself made the year difficult."
So what's next for Crennel?
Now that the season is over for the Texans, coaches have conducted their exit interviews with players. Lockers have been cleaned out and Crennel will take some time to reflect on his career and what's next for him. If the new head coach wanted to keep Crennel on staff, he would be "amenable" as long as their coaching philosophies matched.
If not, Crennel will decide what is next for him and his family.
"Well, at the end of the year – and I started this a couple years ago by going year-to-year with my contract, and at the end of the year take time to sit down, review and think about what I wanted my future to be," Crennel said Monday. "Immediately after the game, immediately after the season, I don't think is the time to make that decision. Maybe a week later after you've had time to reflect and think and talk with family and decide what you want to do, then you can make that decision."
Check out the best photos from the Houston Texans Week 17 game against the Tennessee Titans in the Bull's Eye photo gallery presented by Whataburger.