|2002 Houston Texans season|
|Head coach||Dom Capers|
|General manager||Charley Casserly|
|Home field||Reliant Stadium|
|Division place||4th AFC South|
|Playoff finish||Did not qualify|
The 2002 season was the Houston Texans' debut season in the National Football League and the first NFL season for the city of Houston since the Oilers moved to Tennessee to become the Titans in 1997. Their coaching staff was headed by Dom Capers, who previously coached the expansion Carolina Panthers when they debuted in 1995. The divisional realignment also placed the Texans and Titans in the same division.
The Texans won their inaugural regular season game against the Dallas Cowboys 19-10 on Sunday Night Football. They were the first to do this since the 1961 Minnesota Vikings won their inaugural game. The Texans finished their debut season with a 4-12 record.
In June 1997, Bob McNair and Chuck Watson's plans for a National Hockey League expansion team fell apart due to the lack of an arena in the Houston area. Afterward, the Houston Oilers moved to Nashville to become the Tennessee Titans. The discussion eventually began to create a new NFL expansion team, with the 31st being awarded to the reformed Cleveland Browns. Houston and Los Angeles were the two finalists, and on October 6, 1999, the league's owners voted unanimously to award Houston the 32nd franchise. In 2000, the new team, tentatively known as "Houston NFL 2002", decided on five potential team names: Apollos, Bobcats, Stallions, Texans and Wildcatters. This shortlist was eventually reduced to Apollos, Stallions and Texans. On September 6, the team name was officially revealed as the Houston Texans.
On January 19, 2000, the team hired former Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly to serve in the same position. In the search for a head coach, Miami coach Butch Davis was involved in discussions with McNair, but elected to stay with the university. In January 2001, the Texans hired Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Dom Capers as head coach; Capers had previously worked with the expansion Carolina Panthers as their HC. On January 20, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Vic Fangio joined the staff in the same role, followed by former Cleveland Browns head coach Chris Palmer as offensive coordinator on February 3.
On November 5, 2001, the Texans held workouts for defensive backs at the Reliant Astrodome. On December 29, the team signed ten players: running back Michael Basnight, safety Leomont Evans, tackles Robert Hicks and Jerry Wisne, defensive tackle Jason Nikolao, quarterback Mike Quinn, fullback Matt Snider, cornerback Jason Suttle, linebacker Casey Tisdale and safety Kevin Williams. On March 6, 2002, Colts offensive lineman Steve McKinney became the first unrestricted free agent to be signed by the Texans.
To fill the Texans roster, the NFL held an expansion draft on February 18. The team was permitted to select 42 players from the other 31 teams, each of which allowed five players to be drafted. Houston were required to select 30 players or spend 38 percent ($27.24 million) of the $71.7 million salary cap.
The first player that the Texans selected was Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli; however, the five-time Pro Bowler had been suffering from shoulder injuries during the 2001 season and never played a snap for the Texans. Houston also selected 18 more players.
On February 26, quarterback Danny Wuerffel was traded to the Washington Redskins for defensive tackle Jerry DeLoach. The Texans had intended to draft DeLoach, but the Redskins replaced him with Matt Campbell.
|1||Tony Boselli||Offensive tackle||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|2||Ryan Young||Offensive tackle||New York Jets|
|3||Aaron Glenn||Cornerback||New York Jets|
|4||Gary Walker||Defensive tackle||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|5||Jamie Sharper||Linebacker||Baltimore Ravens|
|6||Jermaine Lewis||Wide receiver||Baltimore Ravens|
|7||Marcus Coleman||Defensive back||New York Jets|
|8||Seth Payne||Defensive tackle||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|9||Matt Campbell||Offensive guard||Washington Redskins|
|10||Matt Stevens||Safety||New England Patriots|
|11||Jeremy McKinney||Offensive guard||Cleveland Browns|
|12||Ryan Schau||Offensive guard||Cleveland Browns|
|13||Charlie Rogers||Running back||Seattle Seahawks|
|14||Sean McDermott||Tight end||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|15||Jabari Issa||Defensive end||Arizona Cardinals|
|16||Avion Black||Wide receiver||Buffalo Bills|
|17||Danny Wuerffel||Quarterback||Chicago Bears|
|18||Brian Allen||Linebacker||St. Louis Rams|
|19||Johnny Huggins||Tight end||Dallas Cowboys|
|2002 Houston Texans draft|
|1||1||David Carr||Quarterback||Fresno State|
|2||33||Jabar Gaffney||Wide receiver||Florida|
|2||50||Chester Pitts||Offensive tackle||San Diego State|
|3||83||Charles Hill||Defensive tackle||Maryland|
|4||99||Jonathan Wells||Running back||Ohio State|
|5||136||Jarrod Baxter||Fullback||New Mexico|
|6||173||Demarcus Faggins||Cornerback||Kansas State|
|6||190||Howard Green||Defensive tackle||LSU|
|7||229||Greg White||Defensive end||Minnesota|
|7||261||Ahmad Miller||Defensive tackle||UNLV|
|Atnaf Harris||Wide receiver||Cal State Northridge|
|Joey Knapp||Tight end||UTEP|
|John Minardi||Wide receiver||Colorado|
|Jimmy McClain||Linebacker||Troy State|
|Eric Parker||Wide receiver||Tennessee|
|Ed Stansbury||Running back||UCLA|
|HOF||New York Giants||L 17-34||0-1||Fawcett Stadium||Recap|
|1||at New Orleans Saints||W 13-10||1-1||Louisiana Superdome||Recap|
|2||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 9-19||1-2||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|3||Miami Dolphins||L 3 -24||1-3||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 13-17||1-4||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|1||September 8||Dallas Cowboys||W 19-10||1-0||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|2||September 15||at San Diego Chargers||L 3-24||1-1||Qualcomm Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 22||Indianapolis Colts||L 3-23||1-2||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|4||September 29||at Philadelphia Eagles||L 17-35||1-3||Veterans Stadium||Recap|
|6||October 13||Buffalo Bills||L 24-31||1-4||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|7||October 20||at Cleveland Browns||L 17-34||1-5||Cleveland Browns Stadium||Recap|
|8||October 27||at Jacksonville Jaguars||W 21-19||2-5||Alltel Stadium||Recap|
|9||November 3||Cincinnati Bengals||L 3-38||2-6||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|10||November 10||at Tennessee Titans||L 10-17||2-7||LP Field||Recap|
|11||November 17||Jacksonville Jaguars||L 21-24||2-8||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|12||November 24||New York Giants||W 16-14||3-8||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|13||December 1||at Indianapolis Colts||L 3-19||3-9||RCA Dome||Recap|
|14||December 8||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24-6||4-9||Heinz Field||Recap|
|15||December 15||Baltimore Ravens||L 19-23||4-10||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|16||December 22||at Washington Redskins||L 10-26||4-11||FedExField||Recap|
|17||December 29||Tennessee Titans||L 3-13||4-12||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
Note: Division games are in bold text.
The Texans had one of the worst offensive performances ever in an NFL game, only having 47 total yards of offense while the Steelers had 422 yards. The Texans' defense forced five turnovers and scored three touchdowns. Pittsburgh quarterback Tommy Maddox threw two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns by Houston cornerback Aaron Glenn; Maddox also lost a fumble that was recovered by Texans cornerback Kenny Wright for a touchdown.
Despite being in their first season, Football Outsiders calculated that the Texans were, play-for-play, the least successful team in the NFL in 2002.FO also stated that the 2002 Texans had the worst offense and third-worst run offense they have ever tracked.