NFL Nation: Reliant Stadium

Reliant video screens will top Dallas

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
5:35
PM ET
Everything is bigger in Texas, right?

We heard that a lot when Jerry World opening in Dallas, and the biggest Jumbotron imaginable hung over the field.

Now Houston’s going to top Dallas.

The necessary approval’s been granted for an update of the video boards in Reliant Stadium. Currently video boards are part of end zone-wide panels that include a bunch of advertising. In the new setup, that entire space will be video board. The two combined will amount to 29,098 feet of display surface.

Cowboys Stadium center-hung board has a total of 23,040 feet of display surface.

The Titans installed new video boards in their end zone that debuted this season. They total 24,000 square feet.

Prices have gone down for such large-scale HD and teams are trying to enhance the stadium experience to keep people coming.

The Texans are also hoping to enhance their bid for a Super Bowl in 2017.

Wrap-up: Panthers 28, Texans 13

December, 18, 2011
12/18/11
4:12
PM ET

Thoughts on the Carolina Panthers' 28-13 victory against the Houston Texans on Sunday at Reliant Stadium:

What it means: A lot more than you think. This was a turning point for Ron Rivera and his young team. The Panthers went on the road and beat a good team. That’s a step toward bigger and better things for next season. The Panthers had come close to doing something like this a bunch of times this season, but they always built a lead and let it slip away. This time they didn’t. A defense that’s been decimated by injuries and struggled all season stepped up and held a good offense to 13 points. Imagine what Rivera, a defensive coach, can do next season when he gets some injured defenders back and fills a few holes through the draft and free agency? Even the present is much brighter than it was before. The Panthers are 5-9 and no longer are in last place in the NFC South. That honor now belongs exclusively to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Play of the day:DeAngelo Williams’ 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. It came at a time when the Panthers looked like they were starting to collapse again.

Unsung hero: Jordan Senn, who would have been about seventh on Carolina’s depth chart at the start of training camp, came up with a huge interception. Carolina lost linebackers Thomas Davis and Jon Beason to injuries early in the season. The Panthers then went through a bunch of linebackers. But Senn finally earned a starting role. Even when the Panthers get healthy at linebacker next season, Senn should have a job.

Disappointment of the day: Cam Newton came in needing only 167 yards to break Peyton Manning’s record for passing yards by a rookie. Newton came up a bit short, getting 149 against Houston. I think it’s a safe bet Newton will get the record in his next game. Newton threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions.

What’s next: The Panthers host the Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday.

Wrap-up: Texans 17, Falcons 10

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
4:26
PM ET

Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons 17-10 loss against the Houston Texas on Sunday at Reliant Stadium.

What it means: This one’s not going to help Atlanta’s chances of getting to the playoffs or catching the Saints in the NFC South. They’re 7-5 and could fall two games behind the Saints in the win column if New Orleans wins on Sunday night against Detroit.

What I didn’t like: The Falcons came out and tried to be very aggressive on offense early on. Nothing wrong with that. But Matt Ryan and his receivers weren’t in sync, and that got Atlanta off to a rough start. Ryan was intercepted twice in the first half. The Falcons never really got running back Michael Turner and the running game on track.

Wasted opportunities: The Falcons had two 12-play drives in the second half that didn’t result in any points. The defense played a decent game, but wasn’t able to force many mistakes by rookie quarterback T.J. Yates, who was making his first NFL start.

The streak is over: The Falcons had a streak of 14 consecutive games without allowing a running back to rush for 100 yards. That’s over. Arian Foster rushed for 111 yards.

Festival of flags: The Falcons were their own worst enemy. They had two apparent defensive touchdowns wiped out by penalties. They also weren’t able to get a play off before the play-clock expired on a fourth down in the fourth quarter. Rookie Julio Jones also had a critical penalty late in the game as he made an apparent catch that was wiped out because he went out of bounds and came back inbounds.

What’s next: The Falcons travel to Carolina to play the Panthers next Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

Wrap-up: Falcons 24, Vikings 14

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
4:14
PM ET

Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons24-14 victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

What it means: The Falcons continue to be a hard team to figure out. They came out and started fast. They looked like they were going to have a very easy time with the Vikings. But Atlanta let Minnesota back in the game in the third quarter and that made things more interesting than they should have been. That’s kind of been the story of Atlanta’s entire season. The Falcons have been maddeningly inconsistent and nothing has come easy for them. But the bottom line is the Falcons are 7-4. They’ve pulled even with the Saints, who play Monday night, and they’re very much a factor in the NFC South race.

Roddy’s on a roll: After starting the season very slowly, receiver Roddy White has come on strong in the past two games. White had his second straight 100-yard receiving game and caught a touchdown pass. Fellow receiver Julio Jones also returned from a hamstring injury. Jones didn’t show up big on the stat sheet, but his presence helped White, Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez have big games. That’s a big part of the reason the Falcons traded up in the draft to get Jones.

What I didn’t like: I don’t think it was by design, but middle linebacker Curtis Lofton wound up in deep coverage on Percy Harvin on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter. Lofton is a solid linebacker, but he shouldn’t ever be put in a situation where he has to cover a speed receiver downfield.

Defense rising: I’ve said several times throughout the season that the NFC South race will come down to defense. I realize the Vikings were playing without Adrian Peterson and were starting rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. But the Atlanta defense shut the Vikings down. Minnesota had only two first downs in the first half. It took some time for things together, but Atlanta’s defense has played well in recent weeks and seems to be improving. If that continues, it could help the Falcons tremendously down the stretch.

What’s next: The Falcons travel to Houston to play the Texans next Sunday at Reliant Stadium.

Final Word: NFC South

November, 25, 2011
11/25/11
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 12:

[+] EnlargeCam newton
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesCarolina quarterback Cam Newton has excelled under pressure this season.
Newton’s better under pressure. Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton has been far better this season when opposing teams have blitzed. When opponents have sent five or more pass-rushers, Newton has averaged 8.1 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. But when opponents have sent four or fewer pass-rushers, Newton has averaged 7.9 yards per attempt with five touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Sweet Dome Atlanta. The home game with the Vikings will mark the seventh straight game the Falcons have played in a dome. That could reach eight next week when the Falcons travel to Houston, where Reliant Stadium has a retractable roof, which probably will be closed. Other than that, the Falcons have only one outdoor game left on their schedule. That comes in Week 14 when Atlanta travels to Carolina.

Defensive woes. The Bucs were 3-1 after four games, but now are 4-6 and have lost four straight. They haven’t lost five straight since 2009. You can blame most of Tampa Bay’s problems on the defense. Since Week 5, it has been particularly bad. In that span, the Bucs have allowed an average of 31.8 points per game. Only Indianapolis (32 points per game) has been worse.

Chasing 2009. Any time you talk about the Saints, the 2009 season is the ultimate measuring stick. That’s the season in which New Orleans won its only Super Bowl. In one regard, this year’s team is keeping pace with the 2009 squad. The Saints are 4-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season. If they win against the Giants on Monday night, it will mark only the second time in history the team has started 5-0 at home. The other time, of course, was in 2009.

Playing to the camera. The Saints have won five straight Monday night games. They’ve played the Giants twice on Monday night and lost both. But those loses came before quarterback Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton arrived in 2006. Since then, the Saints are 7-2 on Monday night.

AFC South: Rating the stadiums

September, 17, 2009
9/17/09
11:47
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky


Houston Texans (Reliant Stadium, capacity 71,054)

Reliant Stadium is an impressive building that fits right into the love Texas has for all things big, though it’s not to the scale of Cowboys Stadium. The one-time Eighth Wonder of the World, the Astrodome, sits beside Reliant, and seems like a small pod preparing to dock with the mother ship.

Upstairs is pretty steep, but it seems to me there is a good view from everywhere in the building, which also serve as the team’s headquarters. When the retractable roof is closed, it can be awfully loud in there. Ticket-buyers just need more to cheer about. Smartly designed to fit soccer games, too.

Wow factor: 4.5 wows (out 0f 5)

Indianapolis Colts (Lucas Oil Stadium, capacity 63,000)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
The Colts are in their second season playing in Lucas Oil Stadium.

Entering its second season as the replacement for the RCA Dome, Lucas Oil Stadium has an exceptionally airy feeling for a retractable roof stadium even when everything is closed. The roof parts side to side rather than end to end, and a gigantic window facing the city also opens. (Shadows cast on the field with the roof open last Sunday made for some difficult TV watching, some viewers said.)

You can walk to it from virtually any downtown hotel or restaurant, and you’re better off eating before the game because the food offerings are one giant weakness. It’s a unique building that surpasses Reliant by just a touch as the division’s best.

Wow factor: 5 wows

Jacksonville Jaguars (Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, capacity 67,164)

I’ve long said it’s an underrated venue, but it’s a pretty straightforward building with no discernible bells and whistles, which is why it would be better if it had more neighborhood surroundings. It also serves as home to the Jaguars' headquarters and the annual Georgia-Florida game.

Lots of people like to point out that the team’s ticket-sales struggles come despite the tarps covering large sections of seats. But even minus those seats, the place holds more than either Soldier Field and Heinz Field. I’d put it at the top of the bottom tier, but I’d sure rather watch a game there than in venues like the ones in San Francisco, San Diego, St. Louis or Minnesota.

Wow factor: 1.5 wows

Tennessee Titans (LP Field, capacity 69,143)

The best thing about LP Field is location. Fans can park or party in the heart of downtown, then walk over one of a couple bridges in 10 minutes and get to the game. The building that’s been known as Adelphia Coliseum, the Coliseum and now LP Field was not overbuilt. Open concourses behind just one level of stands in both end zones provide a nice, open feel.

Recent updates improved the scoreboards and JumboTrons. It's also soccer ready. But measured against many other buildings we’ve seen pop up since 1999 -- like those in Indy, Houston, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia and New England -- LP doesn’t rank as a place for pizzazz. I rank it middle of the pack.

Wow factor: 2 wows
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

The way coaches will experiment with different ways to use him, James Casey may end up feeling like a lab rat, writes John McClain.

McClain's blog on Casey, which includes some good links.

Reliant Stadium's name appears to be safe for now, says Alan Burge.

Indianapolis Colts

A rundown on the Colts' undrafted free agents, from Mike Chappell.

Jim Caldwell says it's about more than size on the interior defensive line, writes John Oehser.

Pat McAfee hopes he can match the play of the franchise's last kicker from West Virginia, Mike Vanderjagt, says Chappell.

Caldwell's first impressions of the rookie class on the field, from Oehser.

The Colts have had no conversations with Marvin Harrison about returning, writes Oehser.

Freddy Keiaho's role is TBD, says Oehser.

Rookie uniform numbers, courtesy of Oehser.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Gene Frenette says the Jaguars must repair their defense first.

Derek Cox isn't reading much that's written about him now, says Michael C. Wright.

Wright examines the shifting landscape of the offensive line for veterans Tra Thomas and Tony Pashos.

Ex-Jags assistant coach Joe DeCamillis was among those injured in the Dallas Cowboys' practice bubble collapse.

Rookie receivers Mike Thomas and Jarett Dillard come in with a reputation as polished receivers, according to Wright.

Some at minicamp don't even rank as undrafted rookie signees yet. They are just vying for a spot, writes Wright.

Tennessee Titans

In the one rookie practice open to the media, Kenny Britt and Jared Cook made some impressive catches, says Jim Wyatt.

On first impression, Cook was as impressive as Britt, blogs Wyatt.

Learning the system is a rookie's major hurdle, writes Gary Estwick.

Ryan Mouton needs a little time for his hamstring to be fully recovered. A notebook from Wyatt and Eswick.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

  • A theme story from David Haugh that will resonate with fans of the Jaguars and Titans.
  • Nancy Adams, wife of Titans owner Bud Adams, will be remembered for her generosity, writes Jessica Bliss.
  • Joe Biddle says Bud Adams will have a tough time moving forward.
  • Repairs to the Reliant Stadium roof are nearing completion, writes Dale Robertson.
  • The Super Bowl wasn't as popular on TV in Houston as in a lot of other places, says David Barron.
  • I missed this a few days ago. Gene Frenette plays a dangerous game looking at Jacksonville's drafts. It's easy to look at any failed draft pick and find better players who were taken later. You can do it with virtually anyone.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

HOUSTON -- They are used to indoor football here, but Hurricane Ike tore up the retractable roof at Reliant Stadium and the Texans are playing this season with the roof open.

The crowd is a bit spotty, partly because the Texans are a disappointing 4-7, partly because Houstonians aren't eager to bundle up and partly because club seat holders are in the club. It was 53 degrees at kickoff, and it is expected to be in the 40s before we're finished here. (Bears fans would have their shirts off.)

It's Battle Red Day and the team handed out red T-shirts to match the head-to-toe red uniforms. If the giveaways are the outside layer, it's only because they've been put on over jackets instead of under them.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Good morning.

Please read up. There will be a quiz later.

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • It's Dirty Job Day at the Indianapolis Star. A look at the life of a punt-team gunner, by Phil Richards.
  • Bob Kravitz says the Colts aren't in Panic City, but they are residing in the suburbs.
  • With an open roof, the weather at Reliant Stadium will be in the mid-80s, says Mike Chappell.
  • Dwight Freeney looks back on his high school career.
  • Phillip B. Wilson's matchup page.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • The Steelers' injury report has 12 players on it, notes Michael C. Wright.
  • Derrick Harvey is hungry for his first sack, according to Vito Stellino.

Tennessee Titans

  • Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has Albert Haynesworth as Defensive Player of the Year and Chris Johnson as offensive rookie of the year in his first quarter awards.
  • Despite the fact that they are most analysts' choice as the best team in the AFC, the Titans hold on to silly idea that they are disrespected underdogs.
  • Like a lot of young linebackers, Stephen Tulloch grew up a big admirer of Ray Lewis, according to Gary Estwick.
  • It's looking like Vince Young will be the Titans' No. 2 quarterback on Sunday, says Jim Wyatt.
  • Keith Bulluck contemplates Ernie Davis, at the behest of Estwick.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

  • A look at Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew from the Texans' perspective, courtesy of John McClain.
  • Some good details about Matt Schaub's contract from Alan Burge.
  • Reliant Stadium gets a thumbs up to host Colts-Texans next week. The roof will be open the rest of the year.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Seven players have started their first NFL game for the Colts already this season, the second highest total in the league according to Phillip B. Wilson.
  • One side note: The NFL had no issue with Drayton Florence's hit on Dallas Clark late in last week's game. I thought it might and checked with the league, but no fine was issued.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Jerry Porter's long-awaited debut is expected tomorrow against Houston, says Michael C. Wright.

Tennessee Titans

  • Chris Hope was fined $7,500 for a horse-collar tackle of Steve Slaton last week, reports Jim Wyatt. I think that's steep. Seemed more like a $2,500 in fraction to me.
  • Old, but interesting. Slate looks at the idea of how a guy like Vince Young might just not be suited to play in the NFL, and Stefan Fatsis says that would be OK.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Did I miss something good while surfing around the division? Please point me to it.

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Bob Sanders is out four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, dealing a big blow to the Colts, writes Mike Chappell. Sanders may have a knee scoped while he is out.
  • Gary Brackett and Freddy Keiaho are having a tackling competition, according to Phillip B. Wilson.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Among perceptions that have already been blown up: The Jaguars can run against anyone. Don Banks examines that and more.
  • Khalif Barnes believes the Jags can turn it around, writes Michael C. Wright.

Tennessee Titans

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

The Houston Texans might be able to play in a Reliant Stadium with a hurricane-damaged roof open, owner Bob McNair said Tuesday.

"I understand there's an issue with drainage; if it's open and you have a lot of rain, it's an issue," he said. "But if you have good weather like this, there's good possibility that you could just play with it open. Certainly that's what was anticipated. But I think the drainage is something that is a concern if you had a tropical deluge. Just two or three inches of rain in a very short period of time, that could create a problem."

Evaluations of the building are not complete. But some employees were back in stadium offices and facilities today, and all are expected back Wednesday.

McNair said the Oct. 5 home game against Indianapolis is still possible.

"We've got engineers looking at it now and so far no one has noted any structural damage," he said. "But that's really what they're looking for. In terms of the roof panels, we don't know how long it will take to replace them. We'll just have to get further update on that."

For more from McNair, check out my AFC South Blog post from earlier today.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

A morning drive around the division.

What do you want to read about? Let me know by heading for the mailbag.

Houston Texans

  • The team reconvenes today, with only team employees allowed in Reliant Stadium. Officials continue to assess damage and it's not yet known if the team will be able to play there on Oct. 5, writes John McClain.
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans: "I think it's going to be tough to focus on football at a time like this, when you consider some of the things that happened to your family members, friends, teammates and neighbors. We've got to concentrate on getting ready for Tennessee, but I think Ike's still going to be in the back of everyone's minds."

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • In the salary-cap era, 78 teams started 0-3 and only two of them made the playoffs. Sixty-eight of them had losing seasons, says Vito Stellino. That means the Jaguars better win in Indianapolis on Sunday.
  • Cole Pepper says the Jaguars need to keep it simple.

Tennessee Titans

  • Kerry Collins is the guy for the Titans for the foreseeable future, says Jim Wyatt.
  • Cortland Finnegan busted out an "85" shirt the day after the win in Cincinnati, a tribute to Chad Ocho Cinco.
  • Joe Biddle likes Jay Cutler best out of the options from 2006, an easy choice right now.

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