For the second time in their history the Texans are the Super Bowl 'host team.' Naturally they'd rather be playing in the game but you'll see plenty of current and former Texans around town doing some entertaining and taking in the events.
Last time the game was here the Texans were coming off season two of their existence. Although they only won five games there was plenty of talk about how this could be a team to watch with the trio of David Carr and rookies Andre Johnson and Domanick Williams (Davis) leading the way.
And a big focal point was of course, the city itself. Houston shined with a brand new light rail downtown and Main Street having undergone a major renovation. The George R. Brown convention center housed 'Radio Row' as it does this week. NFL Network was making its debut as curious onlookers wondered what it was going to be like.
Flash forward to 2017 and Houston is light years ahead of 2004 in terms of development and national 'splash.' The restaurant and overall cultural scene has exploded as well as the population. And the Texans have yet to play in this game but they are miles closer than they were the last time the NFL champion was crowned here. In the last six seasons your Texans are in the top 8 of the league in winning seasons, playoff appearances and division titles.
The common denominator of the last two Super Bowls here is the Patriots and their coach and quarterback. It's easy to look at New England and note the similarities because of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. But the Patriots have flipped their roster several times in the last decade plus. All teams do. They have just done it better.
Which makes the Texans' loss a couple of weeks ago extra tough to put in the rearview mirror. There they were going toe to toe with the premiere franchise in sports. They were harassing Brady, hanging around on the scoreboard, still within one touchdown in the fourth. Only to watch the Pats pull away down the stretch.
They'll get at least two shots in the next two years as Houston will travel to Foxborough in '17 and '18 (yes, that's correct). But for now the Texans will have to 'host' their AFC foes and their frenemies from Atlanta.
We won't talk about the first Super Bowl played in Houston following the 1973 season because I wasn't born yet (writers note: Yes I was but I'm not going there!).
Incidentally, in 2004 Houston was coming off a season in which they actually played both of the participants at NRG Stadium. They had lost to New England in overtime and defeated Carolina on the very first Battle Red Day. This will be a fun week as our city becomes the center of the sports culture and pop culture universe. Houston is primed to put on a fantastic show off the field. On the field, it's up to Brady and Matt Ryan to do their thing.