Sean Pendergast

The Case for the Houston Texans as the Popular Choice for New NFL Fans

C.J. Stroud is an easy player to root for, for longtime or brand new NFL fans.
C.J. Stroud is an easy player to root for, for longtime or brand new NFL fans. Photo by Jack Gorman
Over the past few years, soccer has become a more popular sport here in the United States, and a big part of the surge in popularity stems from the early weekend morning telecasts of English Premier League soccer, arguably the highest level of the sport played anywhere worldwide.

Now, when you're watching a sport, it helps to have a rooting interest, and while gambling can certainly provide that mercenary high, some folks like to have a team they can call their own. Thus, an offshoot of the soccer surge phenomenon has been Americans asking longtime EPL fans "What team should I root for?" Of course, the correct answer depends on one's criteria, but the campaigning done by fans of some teams to welcome folks onto their squad's bandwagon can be informative and entertaining.

With the National Football League continuing to rise in global popularity, and with the league exporting games to two continents outside of North America (and perhaps more in the future), we will undoubtedly see a similar phenomenon with neophyte NFL fans in South America, Europe, and elsewhere ask that same question American EPL fans ask — who should I root for?

As recently as a year ago, I never would have said this, and there is still part of me that can't believe I'm about to type it right now, but you novice NFL fans looking for a team upon whom to grasp should absolutely throw your support behind the Houston Texans.

Sure, you can root for a ready made Super Bowl contender in the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers, but there are degrees when it comes to bandwagon jumping, and choosing either of those teams is flat out lazy.

Sure, you can climb aboard one of these franchises whose fan base already spans the globe, or at least every major metro area in the United States, with teams like the Cowboys, Steelers, Raiders, Packers, Giants, and Patriots, but half those teams suck and the other half don't need you, or may not even want you.

Instead, I would encourage you to choose the Houston Texans, one of the few franchises who've never been to a Super Bowl, and the only NFL franchise to never make the conference title game, yet they have a stacked, young nucleus. It's the perfect balance between jumping on a bandwagon and possibly choosing futility. In short, you can look yourself in the mirror, if you choose the Texans.

Here are some more specific reasons for my case for the Texans:

The Texans are young, elite, and likable at the two most important positions
The trajectory of an NFL franchise is largely determined by two people — the head coach and the franchise quarterback. Last season, the Texans became the first team in NFL history to win their division with both people in those jobs operating as first timers. DeMeco Ryans, a first year head coach, came within one vote of winning Coach of the Year, and C.J. Stroud was named NFL Offensive Rookie fo the Year in a runaway. It's expected that these two will be working together for a very, very long period of time. Both are among the bets at their jobs already, and each would tell you they have plenty of room to grow. Choosing an NFL team with stability and elite performance at these two spots is a wise move of fandom.

The Texans have a young, vibrant core foundation in place
Beyond Ryans and Stroud, there are the makings of a very good football team across the rest of the roster. In addition to Stroud at quarterback, the offense has two young wide receivers who should be here for the long haul, in Nico Collins and Tank Dell. Practically the entire starting offense is under team control for three more seasons. On the defensive side of the ball, young players DE Will Anderson and CB Derek Stingley, Jr. are good bets to become the highest paid players at their respective positions sometime down the road. General Manager Nick Caserio is one of the bright minds in the NFL, and the influx of young talent should continue for many years to come.

If you care to attend a game, the Texans are an easy visit for home games
Part of being a fan of a team is eventually fulfilling the fantasy of seeing them play in person. Choosing a cold weather prevents travel from going smoothly for a majority fo the season. Choosing a blue blood like the Cowboys or Steelers can make tickets get awfully expensive. The Texans are in that sweet spot to where they're an ascending team, but ticket prices are still reasonable on the secondary market. Additionally, year round warm weather makes Houston an easy travel spot, and if I may say so, the folks here in Houston are welcoming and friendly. Also, from a souvenir standpoint, the new uniforms are widely considered the best uniform upgrade of the last few NFL seasons, so you'll look good rooting for your new team!

So there you go! Case closed. Welcome to the Texans bandwagon, world! See you at a big Super Bowl celebration very soon!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast, on Instagram at instagram.com/sean.pendergast, and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast