HOUSTON - Bob McNair, the man who brought professional football back to Houston, was honored Friday in a “Celebration of Life” event hosted by the Texans at NRG Stadium.
McNair centered his life around faith, family, philanthropy and football – all of those on display during his public memorial.
“He’s created a world-class organization, a franchise that I think will stand for many years,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
McNair’s vision to bring the NFL back to Houston was approved on Oct. 5, 1999 after a 29-0 vote by the NFL’s owners. On Sept. 8, 2002, the Houston Texans played their first game at then-Reliant Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys, beating their in-state rival 19-10.
McNair’s counterpart on the other side of the matchup, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, attended Friday’s memorial. He was emotional while talking about McNair.
“The only other time I ever teared up was right on this field when the Texans and Bob kicked our butt the first game that was ever played in this stadium,” Jones said. “The Texans put it on the Cowboys and it was a glorious night to begin the Texans. Bob was so special. I was so excited for Houston to get an NFL franchise, but I was particularly excited when I saw the character and the person that was going to lead the way in Bob.”
Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt said McNair’s role as a philanthropist and a businessman impacted him and his teammates.
“Mr. McNair embodied what the American dream is all about,” Watt said. “I consider myself and all my teammates lucky that we were able to accomplish our dreams.”
Watt after the ceremony said this season is dedicated to McNair. The Texans, who have won nine consecutive games, face the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at NRG Stadium.