Have you ever watched a postseason college all-star game and said to yourself, "You know, this game is fine, but I could go for more 'one state takes on 49 other states' action in my all-star football experience"? The Texas vs. The Nation Game is for you, then, football fan! The Texas vs. The Nation game takes place Saturday, February 2 at Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas.
The premise of Texas vs. The Nation is simple: Team Texas, made up of collegiate seniors who either attended high school or college in Texas, faces Team Nation, who all grew up and played college football elsewhere. The game was created by American Football Coaches Association head Kenny Hansmire in 2007 "as an idea to bring a sense of rivalry and teamwork back to the all-star arena." The inaugural game was played in El Paso, Texas, and won by The Nation 24-20. The two all-star teams played in each of the next four years, with Texas winning three of those four games.
In 2011, the NFL Players Association signed on as a sponsor for the game, and was the title sponsor for the last Texas vs. The Nation contest. The next season, the game was rechristened as the NFLPA Game, pitting two teams (National and American) against each other that were not based solely on their tangential relationship with Texas. While the NFLPA Game remains, Texas vs. The Nation is making its own comeback this season.
The game has not produced a particularly high quantity of NFL talent; no player in Texas vs. The Nation has been drafted higher than the third round, though the game's promoters are quick to say that more than 90% of the participating players receive an NFL workout or contract. More remarkable has been the string of excellent coaches who have participated in the game, a list that includes such football luminaries as Howard Schnellenberger, Buddy Ryan, Gene Stallings, and Jerry Glanville. In the 2010 and 2011 games, Texas was coached by former Cowboys safety Bill Bates, who has no actual head coaching experience yet led the state to victories over Schnellenberger and Glanville. Neither coach returned for a rematch.
This will be the first game played in Allen, Texas. Previously, the game was played in El Paso. After attendance fell by half for the 2010 game, Hansmire moved the game to San Antonio, a move that ruffled a few feathers in West Texas. When the NFLPA took over, the game moved to Carson, California.