This is a subjective list. Like saying the Eagles are the greatest American rock band is a subjective statement (but true). Here are my top five memories of the 2015 Texans season. Compare and contrast with your own.
**5. The Jets Game
It wasn't just the bomb to DeAndre Hopkins or the Cecil Shorts III pass to Alfred Blue. It was seeing all the fans have a terrific day at NRG stadium watching their resurrected Texans defeat a good team. The Texans were coming off the win over the Bengals and everyone wanted confirmation that the magical Monday Night victory was not an aberration. It wasn't. T. J. Yates returned home, Bill O'Brien went to the back pages of the playbook and the Texans pulled up to .500 for the first time in 2015.
4. Yates on Texans Late NightThis is a show you need to be watching Saturday nights during the season after the late news on ABC-13. We don't talk much football, just lifestyle stuff with the players. T.J. joined us before the Colts game and was terrific. I've called him a Texans folk hero. For the context of this franchise's achievements maybe we should drop the 'folk' part of it. Having him 'home' doing great things on the field and being as entertaining as ever on that show will be a memory I'll keep for a long time.
3. Hard Knocks
It seems like a hundred years ago, I know. Your experience was watching it on TV. Mine was seeing the 30-plus crew members virtually everywhere around the offices trying to get any kind of meaningful shot. They lived with us for more than a month. It was bizarre to watch the show one night and be in the very building where the drama takes place the next morning. Think about seeing your offices on TV every week and seeing managers' private 'closed door' discussions. That was Hard Knocks. They set up a room right next to our radio studio that looked like NASA mission control. They could eaves drop on just about anything. Oh how I wanted to hang out in there! But they had it locked down like Fort Knox.
2. Quarterback Drama
I have a great memory. I can reminisce about Tony Banks beating Super Bowl bound Carolina in 2003 or Sage Rosenfels coming off the bench to throw three TDs in a loss at Tennessee in 2006. I remember watching Ben Sankey (who?) throwing in practice before David Carr was even drafted. And I can tell you that the Texans once had a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback (Danny Wuerffel, who was picked in the expansion draft and promptly traded to the Redskins. Impress your friends!).
But the last two years are going to need some serious review for me to keep them together in the memory banks. It's hard to even remember this whole thing got started with Ryan Fitzpatrick being traded, Brian Hoyer signing, Case Keenum going to the Rams in a trade, Ryan Mallett losing, winning and losing the starting job, Tom Savage looking good in preseason only to get hurt late in game four and exit for the year, T.J. Yates returning and Brandon Weeden losing a gig in Dallas and later leading the Texans to a gigantic win at Indy. Oh, I left out B.J. Daniels who completed a pass less than a week after signing in December.
1. Wins at Cincinnati and Indy
That's right. I put them together. They were similar. Of course the then undefeated Bengals were higher in degree of difficulty. But can we really say that when the Texans had never won at Indianapolis? Both games featured phenomenal defense. And both had quarterbacks coming off the bench to construct a TD drive to grab the lead. The Yates TD throw to Hopkins was like James Braddock knocking down the big heavyweight in his return fight in Cinderella man. I'll never forget that play.
But I'll also never forget walking out of the broadcast booth in Indy. Feeling as good as I've ever felt about this team. Thirteen long, slow walks to the bus all but erased by this one afternoon of joy describing that win. Two months prior, virtually the whole sporting world had turned its back on the Texans. Perhaps for good reason. But the players and coaches turned things around. No matter how it ended, it's a run that we'll always appreciate.
The Texans faced the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 15.