Texas' NFL owners chummy -- for nowPosted: Wednesday May 15, 2002 9:06 AM
The Cowboys want the new Texans to become the adversary to replace the Oilers, who moved from Houston to Tennessee after the 1996 season. The Texans like the idea.
Jones and McNair got together at the NFL owners' spring meeting Tuesday to promote their scrimmage Aug. 2 -- which used to be a frequent Oilers-Cowboys matchup -- at the University of Houston's Robertson Stadium.
"It's a dream come true," Jones said. "A lot of people might think it's a competitive thing and the Cowboys might not want an NFL team in Houston, but that's not true. We want the Houston Texans to be in Houston led by Bob McNair.
"That's what you say and the way you say it before you get ready to go on the football field. You soften them up. But seriously, our scrimmages can be such an attractive thing for people that enjoy the teams."
Jones is anxious to get back to the competitive fires that burned between the Cowboys and Oilers. In fact, Jones still had the Oilers on his mind.
"It's really a neat thing for the Dallas Cowboys to get to come here and scrimmage the Houston Oilers," Jones said.
"Excuse me, I was referring back to when we did play them," Jones said.
The Texans are nearing their first season in the NFL after years in the planning. The scrimmage will be their first work against an opposing team.
"This is going to be the first chance we've had to see how bad we are," McNair joked. "We're a young team, and this gives us a wonderful opportunity to introduce the NFL back to Houston."
The Cowboys will be back in Houston on Sept. 8 as the opponent for the Texans' first regular-season game. It will be played at new Reliant Stadium, the only retractable roof stadium in the NFL.
Jones says he missed having an in-state rival.
"We've all come to appreciate [the disadvantage of] not having an NFL team in Houston, Texas," Jones said. "Now we can all celebrate."
At his first Texas news conference, quarterback David Carr, the No. 1 pick in last month's NFL draft, fueled the competitive environment between the teams by saying he was ready to beat up on the Cowboys.
"There's no question there's already a rivalry," Jones said. "And, there's no question that it feels better to get a win from the Houston Texans than from 99 percent of the other teams in the NFL."
The owners hope to eventually take the newest rivalry back to at least one place where the Oilers and Cowboys once opposed each other.
The teams played an exhibition game in Mexico City in 1994 that drew an NFL record crowd of 112,376. The Oilers and Cowboys also played at the Tokyo Dome before 51,058 in 1992, and they drew 51,118 in El Paso in a 1996 exhibition.
Jones and McNair are interested in returning to Mexico City.
"It's a natural that the Houston Texans and Cowboys create an interesting game," Jones said. "I don't know of anything standing in the way of us doing it."
McNair would like to see such a game, but he's not sure when it might happen.
"We'd love to do that eventually," he said. "We've just been focusing on this year. When people ask if you've done anything about it, the answer is, 'no.' We've got enough to do this year, trying to get 11 players on the field at the same time."