Commentary

Ultimate Standings 2009: No. 39

Houston Texans

Updated: July 1, 2009, 11:45 AM ET
By Morty Ain | ESPN The Magazine

Last Year's Rank: 56
Title Track: 67
Ownership: 37
Coaching: 54
Players: 39
Fan Relations: 25
Affordability: 67
Stadium Experience: 20
Bang for the Buck: 48

If everything is bigger in Texas, then everything about Reliant Stadium is Costco-size. Behold a tailgating experience that would drop Emeril to his knees: So many meat smokers fill the parking lot that it deserves its own Food Channel program. For a party that would make Blutarsky blush, fans flock to the Yellow Lot to shotgun beers every 30 minutes to the blast of an air horn. Inside, the stadium boasts four "Wow Wall" HD projection system towers and 1,600 TVs. A radio feed even follows fans into the bathrooms. Comfort doesn't come bite-size either: The Upper Deck Gridiron features extra leg room; fans are closer to the action than at the Astrodome; and 20,000 tons of air conditioning capacity turn Reliant Park into what may be the largest refridged space in Texas. Surprising then that stubs plus parking are about $12 thinner than average. A young, explosive team armed with Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson is poised to make the Texans contenders, though we caution: Are these fans truly hungry for anything?