By Seth Payne

Dear Houston Texans rookies,

I welcome you to the great city of Houston. It is the fourth largest city in the United States, and the place that some of you will call home for the next several years. Like any large city, we have a few things that make us unique. Familiarize yourselves with these little quirks, and the transition will go smoothly. Here are 9 things you should know.

1. Humidity:

I spent my first 5 years in the NFL in Jacksonville, which is the 2nd most humid city in the country. Houston is technically 3rd, but having played in both places I would say that Houston is the hands down winner of that sweaty race. I was miserable during training camps here. If the difference isn’t the humidity, maybe it’s the air quality (our air has character, dammit!), or maybe it’s the fact that when I got here I gained 25 pounds of avocado and kolache fat while transitioning to the nose tackle position. Don’t be a hero. When the occasion arises at training camp, treat yourself to a refreshing IV.

2. What is a kolache, you ask?

Kolaches were originally a Czechoslovakian pastry, consisting of sweet dough stuffed with a fruity center. They are now sweet dough filled with whatever the hell we please. My favorite is the sausage, egg, and cheese kolache. The risk here is that you can easily convince yourself that 9 sausage, egg, and cheese kolaches make a healthy and well rounded breakfast. Look at all that protein! I doubt Bill O’Brien agrees.


That is pretty easy, right!? The Texans have the lowest arrest record in the NFL. Some people claim that owner Bob McNair needs to take more chances on more players that are character risks. THAT IS NOT YOUR CONCERN. Leave that to us schmucks on sports talk radio. You just focus on keeping your nose clean.

4. Multiculturalism:

Houston is the most diverse city in the country. There are 90 different languages spoken here. The catch is that we’re also very spread out. If you want to sample all these different cultures, you’re gonna have to move around a bit. Go to the festivals, try different restaurants, date a woman your great-grandmother would have hated on sight.

5. The different “cities”:

From the air, it’s hard to identify where the “city” of Houston is. Clusters of skyscrapers are scattered about the vast flatness. We have downtown, The Galleria, The Medical Center, Memorial City, and more. Then there are the gigantic suburbs: The Woodlands, Pearland, Sugarland, and Katy, among others. By 2070 I expect that Houston will have no less than 7 NFL franchises, including the Tomball Raiders and Clear Lake Chargers.

6. Critters:

What are those gigantic rats you see along the bayous? They’re nutrea! The name sounds misleadingly appetizing. The word “nutrea” is actually derived from two Greek words that loosely translate to mouse beaver. They are an invasive species that destroys wetlands. In researching these vile creatures, I discovered that there’s a burgeoning movement to eliminate them by encouraging people to eat them. One of you rookies need to make this your charity. You can enlist the help of veteran offensive lineman Ben Jones, who is reputed to be willing to eat anything on this earth (for a price). You’ll see these glorified rats near bayous, ponds, and waiting in line at clubs on Washington Ave.

7. Lightrail:

Many people will be taking the light rail to watch you play. Here’s what you need to know about the light rail–If you live to be 1,000 years old, you will never make a left turn in the medical center.

8. The feeder road system:

These roads run alongside some of our major highways. They help funnel traffic on and off the interstates, and they allow businesses to have a more visible presence. The best part, though, is that there are a boatload of lanes specifically for U-turns. Your whole life, signs and people have been telling you “No U-turns” every chance they get. Here in Texas they’ve institutionalized them! God bless the feeder road. They will confuse you at first, but within 6 months you’ll be writing your old congressman asking why he hasn’t done this for the good people of your hometown.

9. O&G:

You might hear these initials tossed around casually in conversation. They stand for Oil and Gas, which is the industry that drives this city. That’s why people around here don’t get as excited as other places do when gas is $2 per gallon. $2 gas is the reason your Uber driver is an unemployed chemical engineer. So enjoy the cheap gas, but don’t be outwardly gleeful about it.

There’s plenty more to know, of course, but this will get you started. Your biggest concern right now should be knowing the playbook. Seriously, that is the simplest and most crucial advice I give every rookie. Know the damn playbook–inside and out, forward and back. Everything falls into place if you just know the freaking plays. Also, you should get a vasectomy.