The season opener is just 12 days away. That's right, we are less than two weeks away from games that actually count in the standings. Excitement is running high, and that feeling carried over from the football field to the ballroom-turned-luncheon.
The Houston Texans hosted the 12th annual Texans Team Luncheon presented by Amegy Bank of Texas on Tuesday afternoon at the Hilton Americas. The sold-out event, which benefits the Houston Texans Foundation, is the only function that brings all Texans players and coaches together to interact with fans.
Fans and team sponsors got the opportunity to socialize with players at their tables for an hour over lunch during an event that acknowledged last year's accomplishments, recognized the tremendous fan support and celebrated the beginning of the upcoming season.
"Excitement is at an all-time high," said Voice of the Texans Marc Vandermeer, who emceed the luncheon. "Who's ready for the 2015 season?"
Texans founder and CEO Bob McNair and head coach Bill O'Brien addressed the crowd, followed by an informative Q&A with coordinators Romeo Crennel and George Godsey.
"This is going to be a fun year for all of us," McNair said to those in attendance. "I'm happy with the progress we've made. I think you'll be pleased with what you see on the field."
"It's great to see all the support," O'Brien added. "It's a great day for this organization. We are so lucky to play in front of such a passionate fan base. The fans are responsible for the incredible energy on game day. They make NRG Stadium one of the toughest places to play."
On a humorous note, O'Brien debuted a swear jar filled with cash to be donated to the Houston Texans Foundation for his language captured throughout the HBO show Hard Knocks.
"They are keeping a swear count," O'Brien joked. "I don't even swear that much."
All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown was honored with the 5th annual Spirit of the Bull award for his commitment to excellence both on the field and in the community.
"As professional athletes, we are role models," Brown said. "There are a lot of kids that look up to us. I think it's only right for myself and others to give back to the community and those that are less fortunate."
The luncheon concluded with a fun best-of-seven Texans trivia contest between the offense and defense. Brown, center Ben Jones and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins represented the offense, while linebacker Brian Cushing, defensive end J.J. Watt and cornerback Johnathan Joseph represented the defense.
Questions included the proper names for the Texans team colors (Liberty White, Battle Red, Deep Steel Blue), Houston's record in the division last year (4-2), the last three teams to appear on Hard Knocks (Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins), the five Texans players from Michigan State (QB DeAndre Hopkins, LB Max Bullough, S Kurtis Drummond, WR Keshawn Martin, WR Keith Mumphery), the lightest Texan on the roster (Chandler Worthy), and which opponents the Texans play back-to-back at home this season (Jets, Saints).
In a controversial, uber-competitive battle, the defense prevailed 4-2.
The Texans open the regular season at home for the Liberty White Out game against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 13.