Houston – Robert "Bob" McNair, founder of billionaire and owner of Houston Texas, died. He was 81 years old.
One of the most influential NFL owners, McNair has struggled with both leukemia and squamous cell carcinoma in recent years, before dying in Houston on Friday. The team did not immediately release the cause of death, but said he had died peacefully with his wife Janis and his family on the side.
"He was a very caring, considerate and passionate individual," said coach Bill O'Brien in a statement. "As far as he was concerned about winning, I think that something I will most remember about Mr McNair is the way he cared for the players."
When Houston lost Eilers to Tennessee after the 1996 season, McNair made his mission to return the NFL to the city. He formed the Houston NFL Holdings in 1998, and on October 6, 1999, he was awarded the 32nd NFL franchise. The Texasians began playing in 2002.
"It was because professional football came back to Houston and he (led) our franchise with a laser focus on honesty, integrity and high character," said team president Jemi Rutes in a statement. "He was an incredible champion for Houston and worked hard to ensure that our city got maximum value from the Texas and NFL presence."
A powerful force in the NFL, McNair was president of the Financial Board of the League and as a member of the Audit Committee.
In August 2014, he spoke openly about his battle with cancer, and highlighted the many procedures and treatments he had withholding to recover.
"In the past, if you mentioned cancer, people thought it was a death sentence," McNair said. "That's not nearly the case."
Then he revealed that he would deal with skin cancer for about 20 years.
He also noted that he would then remain in charge of the team, but would work to transfer the responsibilities of other members of his staff.
"We are in great shape," McNair said. "I will continue to be an executive and I will continue to do everything I can to make up the winning football team, that's what it is about. We won this battle, and now we have to win the battle for football.
"I go to all competitions and I plan to continue doing that," added McNair. "I think I'll enjoy it more and I'll leave it to other people in the organization to worry more. I'll skip the troubles and enjoy."
He continued to attend many games on this statement and was often seen on practice under the shadow of a golf cart or interviewed various staff members around the building.
After several difficult construction years as an expansion team, Texas won its first AFC South title and first playoff post in 2011. They also won the division title one year later when they found the best 12-4 franchise. Both years lost in the division of the playoffs.
McNair made an agony decision to fire a longtime friend and coach Gerry Kubiak late in the next season as Texans limped to 2-14, tying the franchise record for losses. He hired O'Brien in 2014 and the team improved to 9-7 in his first year but missed the post-season. Houston set an identical record in 2015, but this time in weak AFC South was enough to reach the post-season for the third time. That season ended with an unfortunate loss of 30-0 with wild cards in Kansas City.
In March 2016, McNeair appeared as it was at the head of Brock Osweller on the day the team presented it in Houston and it seemed not surprised by the incredible $ 72 million, four-year deal that Oswiller gave to attract him from Denver.
"We just want to improve every day," McNair said. "Of course this is the day we got much better."
Not exactly. Oswaler struggled and his name was added to a long list of quarterfinals that could not help the owner to get the title he so longed for. Oswaler was better than the end of the 2016 season before returning the work (via injury to his replacement) in time for the playoffs. But he threw three interceptions at the loss of New England in the division, and Houston saw enough and sent him to Cleveland a few months later.
Texans drafted Deschan Watson in the first round in 2017 to replace Oswaler, but he continued knee injury for one season in a year when the star defensive ended J.J. Wat also missed most of the season with a broken leg. Houston went 4-12 in the last season, which McNair will see.
McNair was shot dead in 2017 when he said that "we can not put prisoners in jail" during a meeting of NFL owners for players protesting against social and racial injustice by kneeling during a national anthem. McNair has issued two apologies after the objections became public, calling it "a very appalling comment".
In response, almost all Texasians kneeled during the anthem before their game against the Seahawks on October 29, 2017, after no one in the squad begged before.
McNair was born in Tampa and graduated from South Carolina in 1958 with a bachelor of science degree. He received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from South Carolina in 1999, and in 2010 he received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities in Medicine from the Medical College Baylor.
He and Janice moved to Houston in 1960 and created his fortune as the founder of Cogen Technologies, an energy company that was sold to Enron in 1999 for $ 1.5 billion.
The couple is committed to charity in the city, and he was chairman of the Robert and Janis McNair Foundation, the Robert and Jenis McNair Foundation in Forest City, North Carolina and the Houston Texas Foundation. Through these efforts, McNeyers has given over $ 500 million to scientific, religious, educational and literary organizations.
He also founded AdvoCare Texas Bowl, which provided more than $ 700,000 in DePelchin Children's Center in Houston.
Along with his wife, McNair survived four children, 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.