Houston has a rich and proud history of professional sports. With football being such an important part of life in Texas, the city of Houston boasts a rich tradition of professional football going back 50 years. With the loss of the Oilers in 1996 it was only a matter of time before pro football would be restored to the city and its loyal fans.
The first professional football team in Houston was the Houston Oilers. The team was started in 1959 by owner Bud Adams who was also a co-founder of the AFL. The Houston Oilers took part in the first ever AFL championship match and beat the then Los Angeles Chargers to claim the title. The oilers and their fans continued to enjoy many years of football in Houston before their owner decided to unceremoniously move the team to Tennessee in 1996 with the lure of a new state of the art stadium which they moved into in 1998. Despite huge public outcry against the move the owner decided to move the team anyway and pay millions to the city of Houston for damages for the loss of the team to the city. With football being such a huge part of Texas it would not be long before professional football would be returned to the city of Houston and their great and loyal fans. However, it was not easy to get a new team and many obstacles had to be overcome before the NFL would grant Houston with a new franchise.
In 1997 the now current majority owner Bob Mcnair began a push to bring professional football back to Houston by establishing a new organization called Houston NFL Holdings. In 1998 the NFL announced that it had narrowed its search for a new location for its 32nd franchise to three possible locations. These were Toronto, Los Angeles and Houston. Los Angeles quickly became the front runner to get the new franchise mainly because of its huge media market. Houston officials announced that they would build a new domed stadium as part of their plan to compete for the new franchise. At the same time entertainment guru Michael Ovitz announced plans to a new state of the art stadium in Los Angeles. Both Mcnair and Ovitz would put pressure on the NFL to make a decision on the new franchise by early 1999 so as to keep public support from waning. Meanwhile Ovitz would receive competition in his own market from real estate developer Ed Roski whose proposal involved renovating the Los Angeles coliseum.
In early 1999 the NFL owners voted in favor of Los Angeles with their decision being contingent on the city putting together an acceptable ownership team and stadium deal. If they were not able to accomplish this, the NFL announced it would then turn its attention to awarding Houston with the new franchise.
Subsequently the city of Los Angeles decided it would not permit tax dollars to be used to help build a new stadium and neither Roski nor Orwitz were willing to work together or build a new stadium on private financing alone. Since Houston was prepared to build a brand new state of the art stadium, they then became the front runner to get the new NFL franchise. Despite late efforts by Los Angeles to secure a deal the NFL finally decided to award Houston with the new team in October of 1999 and accepted Mcnairs 700 million dollar offer as well as award Houston with the 2004 Super Bowl.
Thanks to persistence and hard work professional football had been restored to Houston where it belongs. The new franchise would decide upon the name Houston Texans after receiving permission to use the name from Lamar Hunt who had previously founded the name Dallas Texans and which later would become the Kansas City Chiefs. With former Denver Bronco assistant Gary Kubiak now in place as the head coach and quarterback Matt Schaub signed, the Houston Texans hope to establish a winning tradition for years to come. Along with their loyal fans they are looking toward the new season as a breakthrough year.