Remembering Houston Texans Owner Bob McNair

As I watched the Texans earn their eighth win in a row last night on Monday Night Football, a franchise record, I was moved by the memorial in honor of my friend Bob McNair. I’ve known Bob for two decades. He went to be with the Lord on Friday. Bob’s story is legendary. Path breaking businessman, generous philanthropist, a pillar of the community. 

When the Oilers left Houston for Tennessee, my hometown was left without a football team. For the fourth largest city in the country, in a state where football is nearly a religion, that was a devastating blow to the City of Houston. Bob stepped into the breach, leading the effort to bring football back to the Bayou City. In September 2002, the Texans played—and won—their very first regular season game. 

"All he wanted for Houston was a winner," J.J. Watt said after last night’s win. And Bob worked tirelessly, night and day, to build a team that could bring a Super Bowl championship to Houston. We haven’t gotten there yet, but we will. Building on the team that Bob built. 

Beyond football, Bob loved Houston, he loved freedom, and he loved America. Bob believed passionately in the American free enterprise system—that freedom is the most powerful means to defeat poverty and enable people to achieve their hopes and dreams—and he invested heavily in defending our economic liberty. He and his beloved wife Janice endowed Centers for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at colleges across the nation, and he served as the Chairman of the Board of the Free Enterprise Institute here in Houston, which has taught and inspired thousands of teachers and students on the blessings of liberty. I served with Bob on that board, and saw first-hand his dedication to freedom.

And Bob loved his family. Janice and their four kids carry on his legacy, with the Texans and with philanthropy that makes a powerful difference. It’s a family affair. Indeed, just this past year, Heidi and I were thrilled that two of his grandkids got married, both of whom had met their spouses on my campaigns.

Bob was a leader, a fighter, a giver, and a champion for Houston. Our prayers are with the entire McNair family as they grieve his loss and together we celebrate the remarkable life that was Bob McNair. Rest in Peace, my friend.

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