Time for the Astrodome to Step Up?

Yes, this was a pretty lousy weekend for those of us in the Houston area. But there could be some cheery news for the Astrodome. Reliant Stadium, that so-called state-of-the-art marvel of engineering and technology, was rendered unusable this weekend when Hurricane Ike blew off five of the panels of the retractable roof.

I’m sure the Superdome in New Orleans is laughing its ass off right now. Hurricane Katrina was a Category Three when it impacted. Reliant wasn’t able to withstand the winds of a Category Two – even though it was supposedly designed to withstand Category Five winds. The Superdome had a few panels pulled off of its roof, but its roof damage was nothing compared to that suffered by Reliant.

My good friend, the Astrodome, didn’t suffer any damages. And need I point out that the Dome was built in 1965 and that it had to be replaced because it was supposedly no longer a state-of-the-art facility? And need I remind everyone that the powers that be seemingly want to destroy the good old Dome because it’s old and useless?

The Astrodome was built back in the day when design and function actually meant something. Hell, they even designed a nuclear bomb shelter to be built in the Astrodome. The Dome withstood the winds of several hurricanes. Reliant couldn’t make it through one. When the Superdome, another ancient relic, was damaged during Katrina, it was the Astrodome that stood up and provided shelter to those refugees, not Reliant Stadium.

The Houston Texans were scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens in Reliant this weekend. That game didn’t happen. It has, instead, been rescheduled for November. And the Texans aren’t scheduled to play again in Reliant until October 5. The question, though, is whether Reliant Stadium will be able to fulfill its duties when that time comes. I’m not counting on it.

Chron scribe John McClain wrote that the Texans and the NFL are discussing alternate plans in case the Texans can’t play in Reliant Stadium when the time comes. One of the suggestions was that the Texans play their games at Rice Stadium. And Rice Stadium is a perfectly nice stadium. But it’s just hard for me to believe that the most obvious choice wasn’t discussed. That stadium right next door to Reliant Stadium.

That’s right. The Astrodome. If the Texans can’t play inside Reliant, then just move them over to the Dome. We know that it’s structurally sound. And they’ve got three weeks to get it spruced up. I just know that the Dome would be happy to host a few thousand people for a nice little football game.

So let’s do the right thing. Let’s restore the Astrodome to its rightful place. -- John Royal

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