Transcript of the Final Meeting to Select a Name for the Houston NFL 2002 Expansion Team

Monday, May 29th, 2000

Conference Room B at the Ramada Houston Intercontinental, Houston, TX

Attendees:  Bob McNair (Majority owner, Houston NFL Holdings LLC)
                      Steve Patterson (Minority owner, Houston NFL Holdings LLC)
                      Arlen Kantarian (Advisor, NFL Properties LLC)
                      Carl Bassewitz (Owner & Consultant, Bassewitz Group)
                      Guy Kirkland (Agency Principle, Push Graphic Design)

Meetings commences at 14:32. Carl Bassewitz is not yet present.

Bob McNair: Did you find that place that serves the deshebrada?

Arlen Kantarian: I did; I did. Good call. Some great deshebrada.

Bob McNair: Yeah, the place looks like shit from the outside, but that deshebrada is some of the best in Houston.

Arlen Kantarian: I agree.

Steve Patterson: I agree as well. I went there once too.

Bob McNair: I'm glad you liked it, Arlen. Anyway, as I'm sure you know, we've narrowed the potential team names down to three now, and we're not leaving this room until we're down to one. Isn't that right, Steve?

Steve Patterson: Yes it is.

Guy Kirkland: Wait, which are the three that are still on the table? I wasn't aware we had cut two.

Bob McNair: I thought we had kept everyone in the loop on this [looks at Patterson]. We decided against the Toros and the Teamy McTeamfaces. Teamy McTeamfaces polled very strongly in our online surveys, but Arlen brought up a good point that the "Mc" might make people think of Burger King, and we don't want people to associate our franchise with a greasy, cheap fast food restaurant.

Guy Kirkland: Wait... did I... did you say that people will associate the "Mc" prefix with Burger King?

Bob McNair: Well yeah. What was that you were tellin me, Arlen?

Arlen Kantarian: Uh, yes, we were talking about how the "Mc" will probably remind people of Macbeth, which as we all know is about a Scottish general who wants to be king, and Scotland of course is directly across the North Sea from Hamburg.

Steve Patterson: Oh, yeah. I see it now.

Arlen KantarianI mean, it just screams Burger King. [laughs] I mean, the first time Bob told me that Teamy McTeamface was the most popular choice from the questionnaire I said, [laughs] that's a great name, Bob, if you want people walking up to the stadium saying, "Hey, where can I order a Whopper around here?"

Bob McNair: [laughs] I honestly didn't even think about it until you pointed it out.

Guy Kirkland: Isn't Macbeth spelled M-A-C?

Bob McNair: I couldn't tell you for the life of me. What're you drivin at?"

Guy Kirkland: ...so you're telling me that the only reason you didn't take Teamy McTeamface was because the name sounds like a popular hamburger fast food chain... and that chain is Burger King?

Bob McNair: I think that's pretty clear. Is it not? Teamy McTeamface is definitely out, right? [looks at Kantarian].

Guy Kirkland: I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. And what was wrong with the Toros?

Bob McNair: Toros was a little too...

Steve Patterson: ...Mexican.

Bob McNair: I didn't want to say it... but it's out there now. Thank you for being direct, Steve.

Steve Patterson: You're welcome, Bob.

Arlen Kantarian: It didn't poll well in the online survey either, so... I mean either way...

Guy Kirkland: You've got to be kidding me. Toro was the best name you had. What are we left with now?

Bob McNair: The Texans, the Stallions, or the Apollos.

Guy Kirkland: I'm not going to lie, I only brought a logo for the Toros. I wasn't able to comprehend any of the other names being chosen. They're just so dumb.

Bob McNair: I think you're dead wrong there, partner. 

Guy Kirkland: This is all I've got. [motions towards a manila envelope] 

Bob McNair: Well... show us your bull then.

[Kirkland pulls out a sheet of paper from a manila envelope]

Bob McNair: That's not bad. You've got all the little things in there; it looks like the Texas flag...

Arlen Kantarian: That is a nice piece of work. Too bad you spent so much time working on the Toros concept.

Bob McNair: Maybe we can work it in somehow. We could use this for one of the finalists. You could change it a little to look like a Stallion, or an Apollo... or a Texan.

Guy Kirkland: What does a Texan look like?

Bob McNair: Independant, strong-willed...

Arlen Kantarian: Maybe a little overweight. [McNair scowls in his direction] I'm kidding, I'm kidding, of course. But of the three final names, I have to say, I'm especially fond of... the Apollos [hands spread to the sky]

Guy Kirkland: There is literally a professional sports team in this very city already named the Houston Rockets. You'd just be a more specific version of a name that's already in use... in Houston!

Steve Patterson: Houston, we've got a problem. [Kirkland and Kantarian stare at Patterson]

Arlen Kantarian: How do you know we're even referring to the rocket program?

Guy Kirkland: Because people in Houston are always referring to the rocket program. You looked to the sky as you introduced the name; don't pretend like you're not... [interrupted by Kantarian]

Arlen Kantarian: Maybe Apollo refers to the Greek god.

Bob McNair: That would also be good.

Guy Kirkland: In the plural? It's a team. Fifty-three copies of one mythological character? Really? No one needs more than one Apollo.

Bob McNair: He's a god. I reckon he could do whatever he wants, isn't that right, Steve?

Steve Patterson: I suppose that's right.

Guy Kirkland: The Houston Zeuses. Does that sound good to you?

Arlen Kantarian: Not really, but that's only because Zeus already ends with an "s." I wouldn't name the team the Houston Dr. Suesses either.

Guy Kirkland: Tennessee already has Titans. They're already using characters from Greek mythology and at least Titans doesn't sound ridiculous when used in the plural.

Arlen Kantarian: Yeah, but there aren't fifty-three Titans in Greek mythology either. So according to your logic I guess that's wrong as well.

Bob McNair: That's just about enough talk about the Titans. If I had my druthers there'd be one name on our agenda today, and it'd be the Houston Oilers. Damn you to hell, Bud Adams. And I'll tell you what, that Paul Tagliabue can go to hell too.

Steve Patterson: He's the worst commissioner we've ever had.

Arlen Kantarian: Guys, [raises his hands] let's not waste time talking about what we like or what we don't like about the commissioner.

Bob McNair: Steve likes the Stallions, don't you Steve?

Steve Patterson: I do. They're majestic animals.

Guy Kirkland: There are already three horse teams in the NFL. Do you really want to be the fourth horse team? I love horses, but come on.

Arlen Kantarian: Three?

Bob McNair: I'm counting the Broncos, obviously. And then you've got... uhh... who else we got, Steve?

Steve Patterson: ...the Colts!

Bob McNair: Exactly. That's a sorta horse, I guess. A young one at any rate. But who's number three?

Guy Kirkland: The Chargers.

[groans from all parties present, Kirkland excepted]

Arlen Kantarian: That hardly counts. No one knows that the Chargers are supposed to be a horse. 

Guy Kirkland: Aside from it being unoriginal, from a metaphorical angle, do you really want Houston's mascot to be the animal that Dallas' mascot rides?

Arlen Kantarian: ...ahhh. That's true.

Bob McNair: What do you mean?

Arlen Kantarian: The Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys ride stallions to work every day.

Bob McNair: So you're sayin we would be their bitch, or what?

Guy Kirkland: Metaphorically speaking, yes. I could imagine a lot of jokes.

Arlen Kantarian: You want to step out of Dallas' shadow, not play into the butt of a Cowboys joke.

Steve Patterson: [Snickers] Into the butt of a cowboy... [cackles]

Bob McNair: Daggnabit. What about the Texans? I personally like the Texans. It panders, but in a good way. Like you said, Guy, we have to step out of the Cowboys' shadow. We have to be more Texan than the Cowboys, and I can't think of anything more Texan than a Texan.

Arlen Kantarian: I like it. I like the Apollos more, I've got to say, but I also like the Texans.

Guy Kirkland: But Houston is already part of the name. People know where the team is from. In fact, they already have a very specific location. Texans is redundant after you say Houston. You might as well name the team the Houston Houstonites or the Texas Texans.

Bob McNair: Houstonians, is what we're called. Guy, I know you're from Texas, but I have to question whether you really understand Texan pride.

Guy Kirkland: I understand Texan pride. My front door growing up had a Texas star etched in the glass. There was a steel star on the living room wall. My parents had Texas flag pillow covers. But it doesn't make any sense. Imagine if the Eagles called themselves the Philadelphia Pennsylvanians or the Lions called themselves the Detroit Michiganers. You're just saying the same thing twice; less specifically the second time. It's dumb.

Bob McNair: Well I'll tell you who didn't think it was dumb- Lamar Hunt. Had to buy the name off him.

Guy Kirkland: Lamar Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs? Why did you have to buy the name Texans from the Kansas City Chiefs?

Bob McNair: Because before they were in Kansas City the team was in Dallas, and they used to be called the Dallas Texans. This was back in the AFL days.

Guy Kirkland: Wasn't there another Texans team?

Arlen Kantarian: Oh, do you mean the San Antonio Texans? That was a CFL team. They folded up about five years ago.

Guy Kirkland: So every major city in Texas with a football team has recycled this name and you'd like for Houston to give it a go as well?

Bob McNair: Actually there's already been a Texans football team in Houston as well. [Kirkland rolls eyes and throws hands into the air]

Arlen Kantarian: That's right... The World Football League, right? I remember them. Seventies, right?

Bob McNair: Damn right. You remember the Houston Texans, right Steve?

Steve Patterson: That's right.

Bob McNair: So you see, Guy, there's a long history behind the name. It's heritage here in Texas to have a football team named the Texans.

Arlen Kantarian: It's the place so nice they named it twice; like New York, New York.

Bob McNair: Let's not start comparing Texas to that rat's nest.

Guy Kirkland: [Looking at laptop] Other team names in the WFL included the Birmingham Americans, the Honolulu Hawaiians, and the Memphis Southmen, formerly the Toronto Northmen. This league was a Who's Who of laughably bad team names. It folded up after two years. Is this the magic we're trying to rekindle?

[Carl Bassewitz enters the room, obviously flustered]

Carl Bassewitz: I'm so sorry for being late. My secretary is... [throws hands into the air] she's a mess right now. Scatter brained...

Bob McNair: Well better late than never I always say. Uhh, say, Carl, is that salsa on your shirt?

Carl Bassewitz: It... is not. That's actually something else.

Guy Kirkland: Something else?

Bob McNair: You came at just the right moment. Carl, we find ourselves at something of an impasse on these names here. I like the Texans, Arlen likes the Apollos... [Kantarian interrupts]

Arlen Kantarian: Although I think the Texans is a very good choice as well...

Bob McNair: Yes, and Steve here prefers the Stallions.

Steve Patterson: I like horses.

Bob McNair: Yes, he likes horses. And Guy doesn't like any of the names but he did bring us a picture of a bull. You've got to break the tie here.

Carl Bassewitz: [sits down at the table and reaches back to the drink cart] Which one did you like again, Bob?

Bob McNair: I'm partial to the Texans.

Carl Bassewitz: So it would be the place the team is from... twice?

Guy Kirkland: This is exactly what I said.

Carl Bassewitz: I like it.

Guy Kirkland: What?

Bob McNair: Here's a man who knows his stuff. [Points at Bassewitz]

Carl Bassewitz: You know what they say- to pander is to slander with candor.

Guy Kirkland: No one says that. Nor does it make any sense.

Steve Patterson: I've heard it before.

Carl Bassewitz: Texans is very inclusive; we might pull off some Dallas fans.

Guy Kirkland: ...and no one from Mexico, New Mexico, or Oklahoma.

Carl Bassewitz: The name plays off Texan pride, and from a marketing standpoint, I think that's a very savvy move. Your gut is leading you right here, Bob.

Bob McNair: What about the logo? [pushes the sheet of paper to Bassewitz]

Carl Bassewitz: It's clearly a bull... or a steer of some kind.

Steve Patterson: Maybe a horned cow.

Carl Bassewitz: Yes, perhaps... [sideways glance towards Patterson] I think it works. That could be a Texan. Cattle are Texans too, aren't they? After they cross the border?

Bob McNair: Yes, that's correct. As long as they've established residence here, they're considered Texan cattle.

Guy Kirkland: So you're not going to use the Toros name, but you're still going to use the Toros logo anyway?

Bob McNair: You mean the Texans' logo? Cause now it's the Texans' logo. [Looks around the table] Do we have consensus on that?

Arlen Kantarian: I love it.

Carl Bassewitz: You know my opinion.

Steve Patterson: I like horses.

Bob McNair: We know, Steve. I'll get you a horse. Maybe someone can ride a horse around the field before the game starts if it's not too dangerous.

Carl Bassewitz: That could pose liability challenges.

Bob McNair: And Guy, I know you're still bullish on the Toro name. [chuckles] How about we name the mascot Toro?

Guy Kirkland: This meeting makes less and less sense the longer it goes on. But you know what? Ok. That sounds good. Let's do that. Toro the bull, official mascot of the City-in-Texas Texans, who have a bull logo on their helmet.

Steve Patterson: [laughs uproariously] Bullish on Toro! That was a good one, Bob! [continues laughing]

Bob McNair: All this bull talk is getting me hungry for deshebrada. Whadyou say we a-journ this meeting and go eat?

Carl Bassewitz: Yeah, I think we've found our solution.

Arlen Kantarian: I actually just ate deshebrada.

Guy Kirkland: Fuck it, I'll have some deshebrada. Bring on the deshebrada. We should have named the team the Houston Deshebradas.

Steve Patterson: [shakes head] Too Mexican.

[meeting attendees all stand]

Meeting concludes, 14:43


Dear Cornucopia of Olympic Bodies,

The activities we do every day shape our bodies accordingly. It's why most of us exercise- the endorphins may or may not be enough motivation in and of themselves to jog twice a week, but what most of us really want are the corresponding corporal effects which we enjoy in between the jogs. We want to look like someone who jogs, we want to feel like someone who jogs, we want to enjoy the longevity of someone who jogs. We're after the adaptations which jogging forces our body to adopt.

And that's what makes the bodies in the Olympics so interesting. These are not joggers, or CrossFit devotees, or casual weight lifters. These are the bodies of people who do really weird stuff at an extreme intensity, all day every day.

Archaeologists can identify English longbowmen nearly a millennium after death based upon their skeletons alone. The nearly 200-pound pull of the heaviest longbows twisted the humerus, stretched the shoulder blades, and prompted the growth of bone spurs.

I can identify swimmers by their wide, flat, V-shaped upper bodies, giant extremities, and all the used razor cartridges clogged with body hair in their bathroom trashcan.

Of course not all of the physical hallmarks of each type of athlete are adaptive. Nearly all sports also self-select for a certain type or types of body. There are probably some great 6'4" gymnasts out there, but none of them make it to the Olympics because their big ungainly feet slap the floor when they try to make a complete rotation on the parallel bars.

Whether selective pressure or adaptive pressure, the end result is groups of crazy-looking freaks who all look crazy in the same way, all hanging out together, and I love it. The form of the athletes' bodies also tells us a lot about the sport that they play. Take the following four sports for example-

Synchronized diving, when you think about it, is mostly about falling. I mean, yes, you have to climb up the stairs to the 10 meter platform, and yes, you have to jump and turn, but let's be honest- at the end of the day, gravity is doing most of the heavy lifting. Which makes it all the more surprising that synchronized divers are so damn ripped. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you don't get a body like that from diving every day. I suspect the average diver's training day comprises three hours of diving and six hours of Pilates, P90X, protein shakes, staring into floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and tastefully erotic towl snapping in the changing room with plenty of giggling. It's an entire field of underwear models out there, and there's an undercurrent of unbridled sexuality running through the whole event that tells me those rock hard abs are more about pulling ass at the Olympic Village than jumping into a pool. I just hope special considerations have been made and the divers are getting considerably more than a normal Olympian's daily ration of two condoms and 30ml of Astroglide.

On the other side of the spectrum we've got the Olympic shooting sports. We know you guys don't need to be in peak physical condition to squeeze a trigger with a one pound pull. We know a 600-pounder could pull up on a Rascal, have an attendant position a pistol in their sweaty slab of a palm, and then win a gold medal in the 10 meter air pistol, but come on. We had a gentleman's agreement; you take a jog every other week and keep up appearances, at least within the realm of respectability, and in return we pretend that winning a gold in pistol shooting is every bit as admirable as landing a triple inverted whatever-the-fuck on the gymnastics vault. You've been slipping on your end of the deal recently.

The completely disgusting picture above comes to us by way of the poorly thought-out sport of Olympic weightlifting. The two weightlifting events in Rio are the clean-and-jerk and the snatch, both of which involve lifting increasingly heavy weights directly over your head with a heaving, jerky, eye-bulging strain of effort. It's everything anyone showing you how to lift weights for the first time would tell you not to do- sudden, jerky motions; lifting barbells to failure over your own body without a spotter; focusing on single-rep/high-weight sets to the exclusion of more balanced training. Eventually someone's going to take a weird fall and have their skull popped like a water balloon by a 470 lb. barbell on live television, and maybe, just maybe, as the crowd stares on in horror at the gurgling stump of a neck disappearing into a dent in the floor where a face used to be, those in the front rows dazed and splattered like Carrie on high school prom night by the brains, blood, and bone fragments of what used to be an Olympian's head, someone will finally whisper with a sense of alarm, "This whole thing was a bad idea."

Sometimes, when you've trained all you can train and you've prepared all you can prepare, you just run out of things to do. But preppers need to prep, and for them there are J.C. Whitney options and OCD busywork like cryotherapy, cupping, and kinesio tape. None of it's scientifically proven, and the studies that do exist generally suggest that these extraneous devices and therapies are about as effective as the pair of lucky socks which I assume Phelps won't be washing for the next two weeks. But that doesn't mean these superfluous rituals don't work great as placebos (which do have scientifically-observable effects on performance) so keep getting those Qi meridians unblocked, Michael.

Sebastian Braff