How did the Houston Texans get their nickname? Full history & timeline

Everything you need to know about the Houston Texans nickname.
Wild Card Round - Oakland Raiders v Houston Texans
Wild Card Round - Oakland Raiders v Houston Texans / Thomas B. Shea/GettyImages

The year was 1997. The Houston Oilers were dead and were on the move to Nashville to officially become the Tennessee Oilers for two seasons, before changing their name to the Titans. Bud Adams moved the squad after a disastrous 1996 season, where five of eight home games garnered less than 30,000 fans. The final game had under 15,000. The radio station was cutting away to broadcast the Houston Rockets.

Pro football, for better or worse, was dead in Houston. Jump cut to 2000 and Houston was announced to have football once again. Just one year after the last franchise team (the Cleveland Browns) arrived in the NFL, The city of Houston was granted the 32nd franchise in the NFL, belonging to Bob McNair. No relation to former Houston quarterback Steve McNair.

The non-quarterback McNair was now tasked with building a brand new team from scratch. He'd need a general manager, a head coach, a quarterback, a stadium, and of course, a nickname. But what to call the team? The Houston Oilers were so renowned that you'd need to match the gravitas of such a name. Yet, the Oilers weren't an option, as the Titans still owned the name, color scheme, logo, and history of the franchise.

So what would become of this new franchise? Well, McNair would end up settling on the team being called the Texans. While it seems like it was simply named after the state in which Houston resides, Texas, the name is pretty historic.

The nickname of the "Texans" was used by several defunct pro football teams. Franchises in the Canadian Football League, World Football League, the National Football League, and the American Football League all had teams who used the nickname the Texans. The CFL's attempt to gain traction in the American market saw them set up shop in San Antonio. The WFL had a team in Houston called the Texans, but they'd moved to Louisiana and changed their name to the Shreveport Steamers. There was a team in Dallas that stuck around for just a season in 1952 called the Texans. The NFL had a second team that also used that name, however, and that team would end up becoming the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs used this name in the early days of the AFL.

Due to the Chiefs' historical relevance to the name, McNair asked for and received permission from then-Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt to use that name.

The team then became to be known as the Houston Texans from then forth. I think it's safe to say that it was the best of the bunch, with the other four being the Apollos, Bobcats, Stallions, and Wildcatters. Though, the Apollos would've been hilarious, considering he was a Greek god who helped imprison the Titans under Mt. Tartarus.