Originally created 09/07/00

Houston' to announce nickname



HOUSTON -- The NFL's newest franchise has a host city and the framework of a new stadium. It has a scouting system and a general manager, Charlie Casserly.

And it has an owner who paid $700 million to bring professional football back to Houston to replace the Oilers, who left for Tennessee in 1996.

What the team does not have is a nickname.

That changes Wednesday, when owner Bob McNair will announce the team colors and logo for the NFL's 32nd franchise, after months of research with the league.

"We'll finally have an identity," McNair said. "We'll no longer be the Houston Whatchamacallits."

Former NFL kicker Raul Allegre will begin the ceremonies with a ceremonial kickoff in the Astrodome, where the Oilers played. Former Oilers coach Bum Phillips also is expected to take part.

McNair will go to baseball's Enron Field, where the Houston Astros face the Florida Marlins, to throw out the ceremonial first "pitch" with a football to Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr.

A 69,500-seat retractable roof stadium is under construction near the Astrodome for the new team, and McNair will try to land the 2004 Super Bowl.