When DeMeco Ryans stepped into to our studio on Monday for his weekly show, I knew that things would be different. This was a head coach who understood the Colts rivalry in a way no other possibly could.
Ryans played in the first-ever win over Indy, a three-point buzzer-beater on Christmas Eve, 2006. It was his rookie year and the celebration felt playoff-like.
Three more years of Colts sweeps followed that. But in Ryans' last two home games vs them, 2010 and 2011, the Texans got victories over 'the Horseshoe' and things began to change.
He played at the deafening RCA Dome. He played in the 'Rosencopter' game. He played in the following year's 17-point blown lead heartbreaker at home. He understands that beating the Colts is among the most special accomplishments any Texans team can pull off.
I'm glad Gary Kubiak was able to enjoy the wins in '06, '10, '11 and a division-clincher in '12 against rookie Andrew Luck. He certainly knew how difficult it was to beat Peyton Manning. Then saw how Luck got off to a terrific start.
Dom Capers saw his expansion squad battle the Colts close at home but struggle mightily at in Indy. I'll swear on a stack of playbooks that the RCA Dome was the loudest stadium I've ever heard.
Bill O'Brien was at the helm when the Texans first knocked off the Colts in Indy. O'Brien was 3-3 against the Colts in his first three seasons and finished 5-8, including the playoff loss in '18. Coming off a winning season in his first year, he said something like 'we haven't done anything yet if we haven't beaten Indy.'
I remember telling him that the Texans vs. the Colts was something like Red Sox-Yankees prior to Boston being able to get over on New York in the 2004 post season. The Houston '15 triumph that broke a 13-game at-Indy losing streak is a day I'll never forget.
The two coaches between then and now went 1-2-1 against the Colts. Lovie Smith can claim he never lost to them as a Texan, with an opening day tie last year and a closing day dramatic (and oft-debated) victory.
Having familiarity with the series as a coach and a player gives the current mentor a unique perspective. But Ryans isn't likely into the history of it all right now. He knows it's a key division game and all eyes are on a match-up of two rookie quarterbacks - and the Texans playing at NRG Stadium in the first game of his tenure.
A packed house awaits. This will be the biggest Texans crowd in years and everyone is ready for the show. If you're lucky enough to go, wear Liberty white and be in your seat early. There's a new pregame spectacle at the stadium that's electric and you won't want to miss any of what we hope is an unforgettable day.