In September of 2000, the newest NFL franchise officially announced that it would be named the Texans.
There were many names submitted by over 65,000 fans to be evaluated by the team. 'Identity packages' of several were made, including logos, colors and other appropriate information.
Among the names were the Apollos, Stallions, Wildcatters, Bobcats and Texans. Focus groups were held to help narrow the selection down.
Nothing seemed to resonate fully until the name Texans was matched with a bull logo, not in its current form.
"Everybody loved the name Texans." said Texans President Jamey Rootes, who led the team's search. "But how do you do represent Texans? If you're going to be the Bobcats or the Stallions, that's pretty easy." The bullhead captured an essence of how people feel about the region.
The five key words to describe Texans were determined to be pride, courage, strength, tradition and independence, each represented by a point on the Texas star. "It was really important to (Founder) Bob McNair that the color scheme have tremendous meaning." Rootes said. The Texas flag motif, the bull and the star all came together to form the logo.
The Texans nickname had been used before by several teams, including the NFL's Dallas Texans in 1951. That team struggled and relocated during the season, eventually ending up as the Baltimore Colts. That means when the Texans play the Colts, they are playing the former Texans.
The Chiefs were also the Dallas Texans in the early days of the AFL before Lamar Hunt relocated the franchise to Kansas City. There was a team called the Houston Texans in the World Football League in the 1970s. And San Antonio had a Texans franchise when the CFL briefly expanded into the United States in the 1990s.
When I got to Houston in 2002, McNair explained to me that the team wanted to appeal to Houston and the entire state with the name. He wanted to be the Lone Star State's team and knew how significant it would be to defeat 'America's team' on opening night. On September 8, 2002, the Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboys to begin their on-field history.