As a sports fan, once you turn eighty years old, you want to tell your kids and grandkids all of your favorite stories from the “good ole days.”
As a kid, I remember hearing stories about Bobby Orr’s Bruins and Bill Russell’s Celtics. That is part of what made me fall in love with sports and everything that comes with it.
It sparked an idea. I asked the writers of Battle Red Blog to reminisce about their main highlights and memories from cheering on the Texans, albeit a brief history compared to every other NFL franchise.
Here is what they had to say:
The first time I saw the Texans live, we lived in Phoenix and the Texans came to play the Cardinals back in ‘09. I’ll never forget watching Brian Cushing lay a hit on a Cardinal and LAY HIM OUT. The crack of Cushing’s facemark against the Cardinals players shoulder pads echoed through the whole stadium.”
Fast forward to 2010 when we all learned Andre Johnson’s childhood nickname was “Sugar Ray” as he put Cortland Finnegan on the ground and proceeded to whoop him. The only other NFL fight that left hat sort of impression on me was watching the Steelers Jack Lambert beat the snot out of a Cowboy player back in the late 70s.
And, the aforementioned J.J. Watt interception in the playoffs. That play was the key moment that took the Texans from expansion team to playoff contender. Sadly, we’re 8 seasons later and Houston hasn’t gone any further, but at least J.J. is still around padding his Hall of Fame highlight reel with more footage every time he takes the field.
Attending the Texans’ Inaugural Playoff Game at home will go down as my all-time favorite sports moment ever (to date).
Three moments in particular:
Arian Foster’s 42-yard touchdown tightrope down the sideline was like watching him script poetry off his shoes that morphed into daggers for the Bengals.
Andre Johnson’s 40-yard touchdown reception felt like the most quenching gulp of success ever served for a fan base and player who had waited so many damn years to finally experience that playoff moment for our beloved #80.
Finally, and most notably, J.J. Watt’s interception that he returned 29 yards for a touchdown ensured victory for Houston in their first ever playoff game, and I can’t remember a louder moment in any sporting event in my life. My wife and I stared at each other in shock as the entire stadium literally shook like an earthquake in thunderous ceremony for the greatest football player I have ever had the honor to watch play the game.
I took our two tickets from that game and had them mounted along with signed images of each of the above milestones in that game. It hangs on my wall as an incredible memory for this Houston franchise.
Some of my favorite moments in Texans history...
I wanna say the first game as a starter for Matt Schaub was at home against the Chiefs, and in that game he hit Dre for a long TD. I thought ‘Oh damn, we finally have a quarterback...’ and we did! But, well, you know. At least that 2011 team was by FAR the best in team history. Maybe we should raise a banner.
All of the blowout wins over the Titans - especially the ones that happened in front of their idiot fans in Nashville. I recall one several years back that I wanna say included a Brice McCain pick six near the end - I wore my DVR out on that play.
Obviously, the Watt pick six at home in the playoffs against Cincy. To this day I think that is my favorite play in the history of my fandom for Houston professional football. The eruption of noise in that building (well, via watching on TV) was incredible.
As far as individual players, Watt for sure is up there for what he does on and off the field. I know all the cool kids like to hit JJ for his #brand and how corny he is. That’s fine. It’s what the cool kids do.
That said, I think my favorite Texan of all time has to be Arian Foster. Obviously his performance on the field speaks for itself. What I loved was all the other stuff. The way he wouldn’t just play nice with the media. The way he challenged people for their typical questions. The way he would give more honest answers to reporters and later, more honest thinking on Twitter. I haven’t always agreed with his stances on things, but I love this dude as a personality. It always was so hilarious to me when people would criticize him for how he treated the media when there are 52 other people who will give you the boring, deadline-fulfilling answers they all crave - but one guy - ONE guy is a different cat, with a different perspective and he’s a bad guy or a jerk? Because he’s not a robot and has his own thoughts? Get over yourselves, clowns.
I don’t care if it’s not unique and unusual. I don’t care if it’s already been mentioned in this here thread.
My favorite moment as a Houston football fan, however? Of course, it must be something live and in person. And, of course, it must be something unique (Petey Faggins getting a defensive hold, pass interference, and still giving up the touchdown was definitely unique!).
Our tickets were on the home sideline looking right down the 20 yard line. On the final TD, you could see the field open up after Tim Wilson’s block. It was, to use a tired cliche, like watching the Red Sea open. And it was glorious.”
There’s one game that stands out in the history of this franchise, and that’s the playoff win over Cincinnati in 2011. Whether it’s Andre Johnson’s touchdown catch, or J.J. Watt’s end of half pick six, that’s the biggest moment in franchise history. After failing to break .500 for eight years, the team finally made the postseason after ten years, now after seventeen years they still have yet to break past the Divisional Round. It’s still the penultimate moment. Since then we’ve just been waiting around for anything to surpass this, and it still hasn’t happened.
There are other pretty moments still sloshing around up there: like Arian Foster’s wild game against Baltimore in the 2011 Divisional Round forever buried by T.J. Yates interceptions and Jacoby Jones punt fumbling, Danieal Manning’s opening kick off return v. New England in 2012 only to wallow off the field with three points, Yates’s pick six against St. Louis to carry on Matt Schaub’s streak, Brian Hoyer starting a playoff game, A.J. Bouye’s interception against New England in 2016 and an incredible defensive game ruined by [NAME REDACTED], and Deshaun Watson’s break out game against Seattle in 2018. But, overall, that game has been the highest point of the franchise, and everything else that reached it, lies there in a dimmer light.
Despite it coming against my hometown team, when the Texans beat the Patriots in Week 17 of the 2009 season to capture their first winning season in franchise history, it felt different. It felt like the franchise was no longer the laughing stock of the division. I know it didn’t lead to the postseason but it felt like the first legitimate milestone in Texans history.
Already mentioned, but when Andre Johnson went full Mike Tyson on Cortland Finnegan. It wasn’t Malice at the Palace, but it was Violence at Reliant. Andre was the first non-Patriots jersey I ever owned.
I’m only 22 so I was really young during the Schaub-Foster-Johnson era. They were some of my favorites to play with in Madden, and what 11-12 year old kid doesnt play Madden all day? Even using Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter was fun too. I just set the thing on rookie mode and got each of them four touchdowns a game.
Deshaun’s game up in Seattle last season. Richard Sherman called it the best game a quarterback has ever played against Legion of Boom.