KPRC 2 Investigates: NRG’s roof that rarely opens

HOUSTON – Wait… NRG has a retractable roof?

That’s a question some Texans fans are asking sarcastically after KPRC 2 Investigates told them the franchise hasn’t opened the roof at NRG Stadium for a game in more than five years.

The last time fans and players got to see the sky from their seats at NRG Stadium was Nov. 30, 2014, according to team officials.

The construction costs for the NFL’s first retractable-roof stadium included nearly $450 million public dollars to be generated through tourists, stadium users and tenants.

Before a recent Texans game, KPRC 2 Investigates asked longtime fan Leo Ramirez for his perspective.

“To each his own, but if you have to use it,” Ramirez said. “I’m not going to buy a convertible and not take off the top.”

What are they saying

“We have picture-perfect weather outside, but the roof is closed," a CBS commentator said during the Oct. 27 Raiders vs. Texans broadcast.

“If the Texans keep the roof closed Thursday night, they are organizational losers,” Charlie Pallilo said during his Nov. 18 broadcast of the “Charlie Palillo Show.”

“It’s my understanding that they made the choice that the crowd noise is worth more to them than the open air,” said Ed Emmett, former Harris County Judge and political analyst for KPRC 2.

“I guess the physics of it, the sound like stays in more so it definitely helps out our defense,” said Texans Center, Nick Martin.

“I mean we get to play all of our home games in 72-degree weather, perfect conditions, which I would call it an advantage,” said Texans Linebacker Brennan Scarlett.

What about other stadiums?

Four other NFL franchises have retractable roofs but they have opened them up many more times than NRG Stadium.

The Indianapolis Colts opened their stadium roof 27 times since 2008, including eight games since 2015.

The Dallas Cowboys have opened their roof for 22 games since 2009.

The Atlanta Falcons moved into their new stadium two seasons ago and have opened the roof eight times.

And the Arizona Cardinals say their roof has been open 102 times since 2015 for a variety of events, including NFL games.

KPRC 2 Investigates asked to see the button or computer system that controls the roof at NRG Stadium but officials denied the request citing security reasons.

Of the 10 loudest stadiums in the NFL, only four are enclosed, and two of those have retractable roofs.

1. Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO (Outdoor)

The Kansas City Chiefs stadium (Image from Chiefs' website) (KPRC)

2. CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA (Outdoor)

CenturyLink Stadium in Seattle (Image from Seattle Seahawks website) (KPRC)

3. Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (Retractable)

Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN (Image from Indianapolis Colts website) (KPRC)

4. Mercedes Superdome, New Orleans, LA (Dome)

5. US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN (Dome)

U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN (Image from Minnesota Vikings website) (KPRC)

6. Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA (Outdoor)

Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, MA (Image from New England Patriots website) (KPRC)

7. Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI (Outdoor)

Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI (Image from Green Bay Packers website) (KPRC)

8. AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX (Retractable)

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX (Image from Dallas Cowboys website) (KPRC)

9. Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO (Outdoor)

Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, CO (Image from Denver Broncos website) (KPRC)

10. FedEx Field, Landover, MD (Outdoor)

FedEx Field in Landover, MD (Image from Washington Redskins website) (KPRC)

Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium holds the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium in the world. But the crowd may not have had an impact on the Texans when they played there in October and won 31-24.

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