HOUSTON -- It has been almost six years since the Houston Texans, then 11-1, wore their infamous matching letterman jackets to play the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The Texans lost 42-14 and haven't won a game in New England since.
In fact, since that defeat in December 2012, the Texans are 0-6 against the Patriots, including three losses in New England over the past two seasons. Houston gets a chance to turn that record around when it plays the Patriots -- again on the road -- to open the season on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (CBS).
Connor Barwin models the Texans' new letterman jackets pic.twitter.com/WCyM1XI5— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) December 7, 2012
The two games in 2016 weren't close, including a loss in the playoffs in the divisional round, but last season, with Deshaun Watson under center in his second career start, the Texans were competitive. Houston lost a 36-33 thriller in New England after Tom Brady got the ball when trailing by five points with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left and began a drive that ended with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.
In 2012, the Texans' impressive 11-1 start inspired nose tackle Shaun Cody to have letterman jackets made for the whole team. The jackets were navy blue with a huge Texans logo on the left side and numbers and positions in large letters on the right sleeve. They were oversized with leather sleeves ... exactly what you'd expect a high school senior to be wearing. Several of the players even completed the look by wearing khaki pants on the plane and to the game.
When the jackets debuted, outside linebacker Connor Barwin said the inspiration came from how close everyone on the team was.
"I used to say before the season it feels like we're on a college team," Barwin told the Houston Chronicle. "Everybody gets along, we have so much fun. And this jacket, you feel like you're on a high school team where it's all about winning, it's all about being around a group of guys. This jacket is just another symbol of that. There's no names on it. You just have your number, your position group and the Texans logo."
Of course, the jackets are ancient history to the 2018 Texans as they head to New England for Week 1, because only five of the current Texans were on the roster for that 2012 regular-season debacle.
In 2016, before the Texans played in New England during the regular season for the first time since the 2012 loss, defensive end J.J. Watt said he had no clue where his jacket was, adding he hoped he didn't still have it laying around.
"Those are some bad memories," Watt said at the time. "I don't want to bring that back up at all. Those were some bad days."