Saturday the Houston Texans will host a playoff game at NRG Stadium. If I would have told you that in October you would have laughed at me. But it happened. To quote Marc Vandermeer “Back from the abyss of a 2-5 start to capture the division championship.”
I’m excited. This is my first playoff game since coming to Houston three years ago. I started with SportsRadio 610 before the true abyss season of 2-14. Then witnessed the “almost” of last season. Now, here we are. The Houston Texans are in the NFL Playoffs.
The game should be close. Vegas puts the Texans at 3.5 point home underdogs. This could boil down to a 4th quarter field goal or a last second interception. But even if it’s not a close game, I’ll be there till the very end.
Monday, Coach Bill O’Brien was asked in his press conference “How big is it to have this game at home with this crowd?”. Coach O’Brien said, “This crowd is I think the best crowd in the league, and I’m not just saying that. I’ve been to just about every stadium. This crowd is loud, they’re here early, they never leave, seems like they’re always in their seats, except for right after halftime, sometimes they’re a little late getting back from wherever they’re at, but no they’re a great crowd and we need this crowd. Our players really feed off of this crowd. You can see it on the field, and our players get really excited to play in front of this crowd. I know what it means to the city of Houston to be in this situation. Part of our motivation is to go out and play well for this crowd.”
I agree with coach that the fans are loud and the players feed off it. I agree that a lot of fans get there early for the games. I spend the first three hours of gameday in Bud Plaza watching all the great fans stream into the stadium. There is one aspect I have to disagree with. “They never leave.”
On Sunday, January 3rd, the Texans won the division in a glorious blowout over the Jaguars. When Kareem Jackson got a pick-six with 3:09 left in the game to go up 30-6, I left the SportsRadio 610 suite to go down to the media work area. This is typically about the time in every game I leave the suite or press box in order to get things ready for the postgame show. Typically other fans are also leaving during this time. Which I don’t understand in general. But as I was making my way down the escalator and my excitement was already building towards the playoffs, I was disappointed to be packed on the escalator with so many other fans leaving early.
Your team is about to win the division. I understand there is no trophy or celebration after the game. But stay till the end. This doesn’t happen every day or every season. Stay till the end.
Now you and I are fortunate enough to get a home playoff game. Something only 4 other cities can say this weekend. I don’t know if the Texans will win. If I could predict that I’d be living in Vegas. To me, it doesn’t matter. If they are up by 24 with 3 minutes left, stay till the end. If they are down 20 with 3 minutes left, stay till the end. This is more than likely the last time you’ll see this team at NRG Stadium this season. (Unless Texans vs. Steelers) Stay till the end and applaud this team on a season that a mere 3 months ago we all thought would be picking 1st in the draft again. Let’s prove coach right and be the best crowd in the league and stay till the end.