H O U S T O N, Sept. 7, 2000 -- They can no longer be called the HoustonWhatchamacallits, Whozits or the Whatevers.
Owner Bob McNair revealed a not-too-well-kept secret Wednesdayin announcing the nickname of the NFL’s 32nd franchise will be theTexans, winning out over the Stallions and Apollos.
“Are you ready for some football?” McNair shouted to adowntown crowd estimated at 16,000 who turned out to learn theteam’s name, logo and colors.
The colors will be battle red, steel blue and liberty white withthe bull head shaped logo that included a Texas lone star for theteam that will begin play in 2002.
“We’re so excited about the return of the NFL to Houston,”McNair said. “We don’t want to be stereotyped as cowboys. We areproud of our past but we don’t want to be bound by it.”
Looking out over a stretch of downtown Texas Avenue that wasturned into a football field, complete with goalposts, NFLcommissioner Paul Tagliabue revealed the team name and logo on alarge screen.
“With teamwork you can achieve the impossible,” Tagliabuesaid. “Not many years ago, you thought ‘it’s not going to happen,’but it did happen and you can be proud of yourselves. You made ithappen.”
McNair paid $700 million for the franchise in a lengthy battlewith Los Angeles, a favored place for the NFL because of the sizeof its media market. But Los Angeles never presented a unified planand McNair won the team.
The crowd that showed up on a steamy afternoon reactedpositively to the new name. Several spectators grabbed their cellsphones to spread the word. “Yeah, it’s the Texans,” one manshouted into his phone.
Another fan, Chris Lockeridge, beamed beneath his hard-hat whichbore a sign with the year 2002 and a question-mark attached.
“I rooted for the Oilers and now I’ll be rooting for theTexans,” Lockeridge said. “It doesn’t matter what they’re called.I’ll root for them.”
The team labeled the day “The Big Return,” with the Texansreplacing the Houston Oilers, who left for Tennessee after the 1996season.
“We’ve developed a name and logo that fans throughout the areaand around the country and world will embrace for years to come,”McNair said. “It is a logo worthy of the name and the brand offootball I expect our team to play.
“The name and logo embody the pride, strength, independence,courage and achievement that make the people of Houston and ourarea special.”
Earlier, former NFL kicker Raul Allegre staged a kickoff in theAstrodome to former players from Texas Southern, University ofHouston and Rice University to symbolically get the day ofcelebration started.
Retractable Roof Stadium
McNair said the footballs would be delivered to the mayors inAustin, San Antonio and Beaumont as part of the nicknameannouncement in those cities. Presentations to other cities wereplanned for Thursday.
A 69,500-seat retractable roof stadium is under constructionadjacent to the Astrodome that will house the new NFL team and theHouston Livestock Show and Redeo beginning in 2002.
McNair has even bigger plans for his new playpen. He ispreparing a presentation to the NFL and expects not only to get the2004 Super Bowl in Houston, but to become a part of the Super Bowlrotation.
Several former Oilers players and former coach Bum Phillips werepresent at the ceremony.
University of Texas fans, noting the similarity of the Texans’bull logo and their on Longhorn mascot, immediately started wavingtheir “Hook ‘em horns” hand signal, including Lockeridge.
“We’ll just have to shorten it a bit for the Texans, “ hesaid.