The Houston Texans are playing in their 19th season in the NFL. Their brief existence has been mediocre overall, having made the playoffs 5 times (3-5 in postseason play), and failing to advance to the AFC Championship game thus far. Their best record came in 2012, when they finished 12-4 before losing at New England in the divisional round.
The Texans are perhaps best known for individual performances. Be it the defensive performance JJ Watt, Arian Foster amassing 47 TDs from 2010-12, or Matt Schaub let the NFL in passing yards in 2009. But the wide receiver position is where the Texans have shined most, as Andre Johnson made 7 Pro Bowls, leading the NFL in receptions and yards twice. Johnson accumulated over 1,000 rreceptions and 13,000 yards in his 12 years in Houston. It would seem to be impossible to replace such production at WR, but DeAndre Hopkins has managed to continue the tradition with gaudy numbers and back to back All-Pro seasons in 2017-18.
These personal accolades notwithstanding, what have the Houston Texans accomplished as a team? They’ve often been an afterthought in a division that was won by Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck’s Indianapolis Colts nine times from 2003-2014. On more than one occasion, the Texans have gone into the playoffs following an injury to their best player.
To the neutral football fan, they’ve often been viewed as a waste of a playoff team, with no real chance of taking out the Patriots in the AFC. So what better way to change that identity than to literally change their identity to the Houston Oilers?
This would require a few things: permisson of the league, the team’s owners, and cooperation from the Tennesee Titans, which might be the biggest obstacle. The Titans are the original Oilers, who moved there after the 1996 season in a messy divorce with owner Bud Adams. Adams died in 2013 at age 90, and his daughter Amy Adams Strunk now owns the team. Should they allow the Texans to become the Oilers 2.0, this would not be without precedent: after the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens in 1996, the expansion team awarded to Cleveland in 1999 became, the Cleveland Browns. The team’s history and records prior to the move were transferred from the Ravens to the (new) Browns. A similar transfer could occur, with the Titans record books starting in 1997, when they played one season as the “Tennesse Oilers” in Memphis, prior to moving to their permanent home in Nashville for 1998.
Other sports have seen teams return as others, just ask the 1961 Washington Senators (original Senators became the Minnesota Twins) or the Winnipeg Jets, who became the Phoenix Coyotes, only to be later replaced by the Atlanta Thrashers. In that case, the original Jets history has remained with the Coyotes. In the NBA, the Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans, only to see Charlotte get the expansion Bobcats. When New Orleans changed their name to the Pelicans, it allowed the Bobcats to reclaim the Hornets moniker, as well as their history.
It’s uncertain whether the Texans, their fans, the league, or anyone wants to see this name change take place. But one thing is for certain; those classic powder blues and iconic oil derrick logo would be a welcome change from the otherwise drab and indistinct Texans logo and history.