Texans Host First Preseason Game

The 2011 NFL pre-season officially kicks off tonight as the Texans host the Jets on Monday Night Football. Take a look behind the scenes at Reliant Stadium and see what it takes to put on an NFL game.

(sound of vacuum)

That’s the sound of a large vacuum picking up freshly mowed grass clippings. If you’re like me, you may have thought the Texans played on artificial turf, since Reliant is constantly changing its surface for things like the circus or rodeo. But Reliant Park General Manager Juan Rodriquez says they bring in new grass each game . They’re cut in squares just like the sod you by at the nursery only much bigger.

“It’s an eight by eight square weighs about 25 hundred pounds each between soil and grass and you’re actually standing on grass. We are natural gas.”

Rodriquez says they take the grass out after each game and water and grow it at another location then bring in back. Walking on the field we go up the tunnel and into an area where employees check in.

“So you have about five thousand employees that will come through these doors, get checked in, ID’s schedule wise, uniform distribution, and then from here they head out to their briefing areas to get their daily bring on what’s happening.”

Rodriquez says Reliant employees take pride in making sure the fans have a great time regardless of what the scoreboard says.

“What happens on the field sometimes doesn’t really matter. What  matters is actually the memories we create for those families and people that are coming today. You might not remember who wins tonight, but that first game for a father and son, or mother and son, or a whole family, that’s what they’ll remember the experience.”

Finally Rodriquez shows me the commissary.  A big room where all the food comes in before going  out to the concession stands.

“Hot dogs alone you’re talking 20 to 2500 hotdogs on a regular basis. Napkins you’re talking about 100,000 on a regular basis per event. We’re running keep in mind that if you were to pick up Reliant Park and put it in downtown Houston we’d take up three quarters of downtown Houston. So we’re running a miniature city here.”

Rodriquez says they’ll do their part to make sure tonight goes well. The rest is up to the team.