Dec. 11, 2011: The best day in Houston Texans history (so far)
Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 is — without a doubt — the best day thus far in Houston Texans franchise history. There is no simpler or better way to explain how exciting this day truly is, not only for the team, but for longtime Texans fans like myself. The Houston Texans are AFC South Champions, and they’re going to the playoffs!
I’ve been a fan of this young team since Sept. 8, 2002, which marks the first game — and victory — in franchise history. It was against the Dallas Cowboys, and I fell in love with the Houston Texans instantly.
Since that day, I — like every other devoted Texans fan I know — have been on an emotional roller coaster with this team. The nine seasons of ups and downs, inconsistencies and trying to understand why “idiots” were put in power to make such terrible draft picks and coaching decisions was something I had to suffer from the beginning. I expressed my heartbreak and frustration by writing letters to Bob McNair and my “Declaration of Independence from the Houston Texans” in Sharpie on an old football (it was an assignment for my government class during my senior year of high school).
But the past has been easier to tolerate this season, especially after watching my team overcome injury after injury, having them put rookies in the most crucial games and going against all the haters and/or nonbelievers. It’s taken a long time to get to a point where Texans players, coaches and fans can say, “WE’RE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!” Now that we finally can, the feeling is so unreal.
I was at the victory against the New England Patriots Jan. 3, 2010 when the Texans posted their first winning season in franchise history. I remember watching Andre Johnson smile when talking about how great it was to finally reach this milestone, but he was cautious. He craved playoffs. He wanted a chance to play in the Super Bowl. Now he has that chance, and no one can take it away.
I thought watching the Titans lose for the Texans to clinch the AFC South was the best part about the victory. It was sweet revenge with the former Oilers losing for Houston to become division champions. But it’s certainly not the best part about the win. The best part is knowing No. 80 will get to experience the playoffs. He — more than any player on this team — deserves to be in the playoffs after all he’s done for the franchise and everything he’s been through. Watching videos of fans cheering his name outside of Reliant Stadium gave me goosebumps, and I can only imagine what that moment was like for him.
I will never forget Sept. 8, 2002, nor will I forget Jan. 3, 2010. And now, Dec. 11, 2011 is forever etched in my mind as one of the greatest days of my life. Perhaps Feb. 5, 2012 will also be a day I’ll never forget for similar reasons. 🙂