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Houston Texans – Established 1999

While the Houston Texans didn’t debut until the 2002 AFC-NFL Hall of Fame Game, their story begins in 1997 with two guys trying to start an NHL franchise. Bob McNair and Chuck Watson were bypassed by the NHL when they tried to launch a franchise in Houston. The NHL passed because there was no suitable arena at the time in Houston, but there was soon a need for an NFL team in the region.

Just two weeks after the NFL denied the pair, Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams got final approval to move the team to Tennessee. McNair made the call to pivot and founded Houston NFL Holdings with Steve Patterson serving as head of the group. Still, progress was slow and the group watched as others in the league were awarded expansion teams. But, in 1999, McNair’s persistence paid off and he was awarded the 32nd franchise in the NFL with a bid of $700 million.

During the first months, many names were tossed around as options including the Colt 45’s, Roughnecks, Roughriders, Stallions, Texans, Wildcatters, and Wranglers. After almost a year of waiting, the name Texas was announced in 2000, and the team would debut in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in 2002.

The Texans did not waste any time and became just the second expansion team to win their debut game after beating the Giants 19-10. The Texans lost their next five games and finished the year 4-12. Rookie QB David Carr was sacked a record 76 times and there wasn’t much hope for this new franchise.

The team did get better over the course of the next decade, specifically when Gary Kubiak was hired in 2006 as head coach. The Texans finished at .500 in 2007 and 2008 before finishing 2009 at 9-7. Things fell apart and they finished 6-10 in 2010 before drafting J.J. Watt during the offseason.

The franchise hit their stride and they made the playoff for the first time in history in 2011 with Watt leading the defense. They won their first AFC South title along the way and then beat the Bengals in the Wild Card round for their first playoff win. The Texans made the playoff for most of the next decade but never made it out of the Divisional Round once. During this time, the team was led by QB DeShawn Watson. But, since his suspension from the league, this franchise fell apart. Since Watson began his suspension, the Texans are 8-25 overall and need a change of fortune to get back on track.