By Terrance Turner
Jan. 13, 2022
The Houston Texans have fired head coach David Culley.
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter and NFL reporter Ian Rapoport broke news of the move. (According to the Houston Chronicle, the Texans have also fired offensive coordinator Tim Kelly.) Fox 26 sports reporter Mark Berman shared Culley’s reaction to the news. “I’m just disappointed, but this is the business,” Culley was quoted as saying. “I understand this is part of the business.”
The decision on Culley was reportedly made by Texans general manager Nick Caserio and senior executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby, who recommended Culley be fired. Chairman and CEO Cal McNair signed off on it.
Culley, 65, was hired in January 2021, becoming the oldest first-time head coach. He was also the only Black coach hired in the NFL last offseason, according to ESPN. Around the time Culley came on board, quarterback Deshaun Watson requested a trade — and then was hit with a flurry of lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. (There are still 22 lawsuits active against Watson, who did not play at all this season.)
Less than a month later, star defensive end J.J. Watt requested a release from the team. In February, Watt and the Texans mutually agreed to part ways. Watt later signed with the Arizona Cardinals — the same team to which former Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was traded in March 2020. (That controversial trade was engineered by former head coach/GM Bill O’Brien, who was later fired after the team went 0-4 to start the 2020 season.)
The Texans began the 2021 season strong, dominating the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener before losing veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor in Week 2 with a left hamstring injury. Taylor was replaced by QB Davis Mills, who went 0-6 in his first six starts. Taylor also struggled after returning from injured reserve and was later benched in favor of Mills. But it hardly mattered.
This season, the Texans went 4-13 (including eight straight losses, most notably a 0-40 beatdown by the Buffalo Bills in Week 5). But the team’s lowest point was perhaps in December, when the Texans were blown out by the Indianapolis Colts, 31-0. The Houston Chronicle reported at the time: “The Texans got booed off the field at halftime of their game against the Colts on Sunday by a crowd that looked only about a third-full.” (The Chronicle adds that the Texans rank 16th in the league in official attendance, with an average of 67,201 tickets sold. Resale tickets for the game were available on Ticketmaster for just $6.) One fan even covered his face while in attendance, wearing a brown paper bag with a message: