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BRB GroupThink: The Houston Houstons

The Masthead gathers around to discuss our favorite football team’s name.

NFL Draft X Carr

The Washington Redskins Football Team changed their name. “Football Team” was too good, too pure, too perfect for a league, culture, and world poisoned by marketing, that most malicious, terrible thing, created to create new markets, to force needs that we never had to unleash upon the masses, and to differentiate products that are all the same. It isn’t about the good or service. It’s about how the good or service makes you feel, how it relates to your identity, how using Tom’s Toothpaste makes you a good person despite it being a subsidiary of BIG Colgate.

Football Team was beautiful. It was a football team. It was inclusive. Anyone can cheer for a football team. That is what we do every Sunday, but by being The Football Team, Washington turned away all those thoughts of local history and city pride. It was fun to say Football Team. Literally, it’s the only team that actually describes what the product does and is. It’s a football team.

Washington needs to sell more shirts and jerseys, and rolling out a new team name was the way to do it. So now they are the Commanders. What do they command? Nothing. They play football. What is a Commander? No idea. It’s a vague noun that is thrown around that has something to do with a leader or the military. The jerseys are the remnants of a University of Maryland brainstorming session. The giant ‘W’ on the front of the helmet will have you playing Warioware during the game instead of paying attention to Montez Sweat defending the rim. I love Football Team. I hate Commanders. Long live The Football Team.

The creation of a new team name brought to mind the creation of other team names, including our favorite football team, which I believe is called the Houston Texans. The other names reportedly on the table were Stallions, Apollos, Wildcatters, Hurricanes, and Bobcats. Which name was or would have been your preferred choice? If you could re-brand the Texans, what name would you give the team?

These were the questions I asked the masthead. These were their responses:

MATT WESTON:

The only original name I liked was Wildcatters, but that’s because of a correct and moral banking system before the Federal Reserve was created, and started the ruination of the entire globe. Stallions reminds me of Ponyta and Rapidash and the bizarre creeps who fetishize My Little Pony. Apollos is silly because space is fake and the moon is merely a holographic projection. It isn’t real. Imagine thinking the moon causes tidal waves. They are created from the spinning of the Earth. Hurricanes are already associated with a more successful college football program, and has brought ruination to the city of Houston multiple times. The football team already does enough damage to begin with to be associated with property damage and death on top of it. And Bobcats are beautiful animals, but there are dozens of teams called the Bobcats. Texas State, Ohio University, Charlotte’s basketball team, well maybe, dozens is hyperbolic.

None of those names are good. The Texans isn’t good either. It’s like a fake name printed on a jacket that Old Navy sells. It’s something that gravitated me towards the team since it’s Texans, and I’m from Texas, back when I was a fat kid when the team detonated from Bob McNair’s womb. But now as an adult, it’s silly and redundant. America Amercians, Texas Texans, Houston Houstons, whatever it is, Bob McNair was proud to be a Houstonian and proud to be a Texan, so here we are, cheering for something called the Texans.

I’ve always been a fan of gunslingers. It pays homage to the wild west days, it sounds cool, the logo can be morphed in a wide variety of ways, and it always makes me want to watch Tombstone. As someone born in San Antonio, I’ve always loved this guy. The navy and bright green are slick, and his holster looks like a carrot. This is what they took from us.

MIKE BULLOCK:

Personally, I prefer the Texans over any of those other choices. Houston is a far better representation of the average Texan than Dallas is, so I’m ok with the aspect of “it’s a representation of the whole state, not just H-Town”.

Unfortunately, as the ever wise Steph Stradley has said recently, what’s going on within the organization’s front office isn’t a good representation of the citizens of Texas.

It might be fun to rebrand the uniforms, helmets, etc. In fact, I’d love to see an all black Texans uniform with the logo size/orientation/placement altered on the helmets themselves.

Either way, when I think of Houston, I think of good, hard working people who embody what a Texan is in my mind. So, the name works great as far as I’m concerned. If they could regain the name Oilers, I’d be all for that, but that got all BESF’ed up, so...

Thankfully, no matter what name was chosen from that list, they’re all better than “WFT” and “Commanders”.

L4BLITZER:

As far as rebranding the Texans, well, I guess the name has grown on me. Kinda fun to slightly irk Dallas, given that we have the declaration of being named for the state. Probably doesn’t hurt that the Texans, since they’ve been in playing existence, still have more playoff wins than the Cowboys since 2002. However, the way that the Texans are going, Dallas may supersede that sooner rather than later (provided they learn some degree of clock management). I would be in favor of some alternate color schemes (I get keeping it the same as the Texas flag, but a black and bold red alternate scheme would be pretty cool).

If the team did decide to rebrand a name, or something to that effect, I am for the Houston space theme. You have the Rockets and the Astros. Why not something space-related. Granted, some could be cheesy (The Houston Galaxy, the Houston Black Holes), but there is power in space and some ad exec better than I could make it happen.

At present, I think that the team should avoid any rebranding exercises. The last two instances, the Guardians (former Indians) and the Commanders (former WFT, former ethnic slur) don’t exactly move the Q rating. Why Cleveland didn’t go back to the Spiders, with its history (back in the days of yore, there was a Cleveland Spiders franchise), the lack of offensiveness (unless you represent the fly lobby) and the potential for some kick-[Easterby] logo designs, I will never know? As for the Commanders??? The Cobra Commander memes are a nice touch, but that is the name the Fightin’ Snyders came up with? I would have gone with the Americans, but given how much that issue was debated for years, I guess we’ll just have to leave as is.

UPROOTED TEXAN:

I’d probably stick with my original answer of “none of the above.” My preferred choice, and the one I submitted way back when, was Hurricanes.

It would’ve been a departure from the space theme we have going here with Rockets and Astros but it would still be thematically correct with Houston since it does get a bunch of hurricanes. Although after Ike and especially Harvey, I suspect the name would’ve lost a lot of its luster.

If it couldn’t be Hurricanes, then I say we steal the XFL name and watch the Houston Roughnecks take the field. Because that name kicked some ass.

BIGFATDRUNK:

I always kinda liked the Apollos, being the science geek I am. The Texans, to me, sounded too much like the old Dallas Texans, and I despise Oklahoma.

I don’t care about the name of the team as much as I care about the gross incompetence of the front office, though.

CAPT. RON:

I agree with Uprooted Texan, “The Houston Hurricanes” would have been epic. It’s far better than “Texans” which was clearly an overt effort to capture as much market share in the state from the well-established Cowboys as possible. It didn’t work. San Antonio, Austin, and the majority of the state of Texas held firm with their Cowboy loyalty (if they had it) or with a non-Texas NFL team for a variety of other reasons, not the least of which was when many fans were orphaned by the Oilers exit to Tennessee and band-wagoned over to the Packers, Steelers, Patriots, etc. It also didn’t work at attracting the transplanted people living in Texas from other U.S. locations and/or loyalty passed down through a family.

Drinking a “Category 5 Hurricane” mixed alcoholic beverage at a local Cajun-inspired restaurant in Houston while the team played is a lost marketing opportunity. Having a “Hurricane” themed thrill ride during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is another missed opportunity. Instead, here we are with two decades of a lackluster basement-dwelling entity that is a complete embarrassment to the city of Houston and the game of football primarily because of terrible ownership that keeps making horrible decisions based on personal relationships rather than on results.

On that note, there are only about 8 teams in the NFL who are obviously serious and intent on winning Super Bowls with every calculated action and investment they make and with meaningful progress and results season after season. The other teams, including the Houston Texans, are owned by a select club of billionaires who absolutely don’t care if their team wins or not. As long the money keeps pouring in, mostly through the broadcast contracts and shared revenue models, they could seriously care less. They will “say” they want to win championships to keep the fans engaged, but when only one out of 32 gets to earn bragging rights each year, so as long as the bank is swollen, they really don’t care in the end.