These gridiron warriors know how to make an entrance.
Last night, the Houston Texans’ linebackers strutted into Houston’s NRG Stadium to take on the New England Patriots dressed like a SWAT team, complete with tactical vests.
The defensive crew led by Zach Cunningham included Tyrell Adams, Peter Kalambayi and Benardrick McKinney, who tweeted “No Hostages,” along with a photo of the fearsome foursome.
They looked more like a bunch of strippers hired to fulfill a middle-aged bachelorette’s kinky law enforcement fantasy, but their outlandish outfits paid off.
The Texans handed the Patriots only their second loss of the season with a 28-22 victory over Tom Brady’s squad.
Because it was the Sunday night match-up, the video caused a stir on social media, but this isn’t the first time the linebackers have gone into battle looking like they’ve raided the sales rack at Party City.
In fact, it’s become a tradition for the linebackers. Previously this season, they’ve dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and as characters from Mortal Kombat, “Men in Black” and “Space Jam.”
The creative director is Cunningham, who carefully chooses and supplies his teammates with costumes. “This is a big ask. He buys a lot of the stuff the night before [that week’s final team meeting],” Kalambayi tells the Athletic of Cunningham’s process.
In recent seasons, more attention has been given to NFL players’ clothing as they walk into the arena or off the team plane. Many, such as Cleveland’s wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and LA Chargers’ backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, have hired stylists to score style points or pave the way for a post playing career. Others, such as Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew or Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones — who shows up to games in a sombrero — favor more flamboyant looks.
But the Texans linebackers have taken the concept to insane levels with their extended Halloween. And it seems to be working. The team has a record of 8-4 and have only lost one game where their defensive crew showed up in costumes.