WHAT'S NEXT?

After Correa situation plays out, here are the next challenges for Houston sports

Don't be surprised if Correa heads to Detroit. Composite image by Jack Brame.

We can all use a breather after the thrilling, heart-pounding 2021 Astros season that propelled them – and the City of Houston – to a third American League pennant in five years and another visit to the World Series. Even though we – and the Astros certainly qualify as a citywide "we" –came up short in the Series, it was a fun run that made us proud. Simply, Houston loves our Astros.

Thankfully, here come the Houston Rockets and Houston Texans to lower our heart rates and bring us thudding down to reality. If the Astros were Red Bull, the Rockets and Texans are Xanax, the 2 mg. sticks.

The way things are looking, there won't be any must-win games leading to the post-season for either team. Hell, there'll only be most-lose games chasing No. 1 picks in future drafts.

While the NFL is in full swing, and the NBA is getting serious, the only sports excitement in Houston still revolves around the Astros. Will the Astros make a competitive bid to keep Carlos Correa? According to reports, the Astros have offered the hottest free agent since Macho Man Savage $160 million over five years. It's a fair offer … per year. But in baseball's current economic climate it's like the contestant on Price is Right bidding $1 hoping the other contestants are high-balling the price of a Whirlpool washer-dryer. While bidding $1 may be a douchey (it's in the Merriam-Webster dictionary) move, it works more than you think. And Correa definitely is the top prize in the showcase showdown this year.

Mark this down, but only if it comes true: I have friends in high places (low places, too) in Detroit – the Tigers will do whatever it takes to land Correa. That's where he's going.

Now Houston turns its lonely eyes to the Texans and Rockets.

The Texans are 1-8 in solid command of last place in the AFC South. They have scored the fewest points and given up the most points in the entire NFL. That's not good. Rookie Davis Mills is the lowest-rated quarterback in the league. The defense is porous and the offense is a bumbling mess of inefficiency and bad decisions.

Before the season, I predicted that the Texans would go winless, the first 0-17 team in NFL history. The Jacksonville Jaguars screwed up my clean slate by losing to the Texans in Week One. But the Jags have since won two games, while the Texans are reeling on a well-earned 8-game losing streak … and sinking fast. I say they'll finish the job and end 1-16 and get the No. 1 draft pick. Naturally there doesn't appear to be a lock star quarterback looming. Just the Texans' luck.

If the NFL relegated losing teams like English soccer does, the Texans would be playing in the SEC next season, and I'm not sure they could beat Georgia or Alabama. Let's make the Texans +350 to make the college football playoff.

The Texans have zero star power in Houston. How many pictures of Texans are on kids' bedroom walls? How many would you recognize? The coach looks like he's just woke up from a coma and fumbles for excuses in post-game press conferences. Wait, fumbles are something the Texans are good at. There's a positive.

While the term "clown show" is bandied about on sports talk radio, here's the biggest joke at NRG Stadium. According to official league records, the Texans are averaging 67,722 fans at their four home games so far. Seriously? Do the crowd-counters at NRG have double vision, which still wouldn't reflect the accurate crowd size? NRG is one step from tarping the upper deck, which still would leave plenty of elbow room for fans in the lower bowl. On the positive side, lines are short at restrooms and there are no traffic jams leaving the parking lot, except maybe in the third quarter.

It's a sad situation. You've got the highest-paid player, the only recognizable star on the team, sitting home on game day, the fans think the owner is a goofball, the real boss is an evil mystic who doesn't know a lick about football personnel. The Houston Texans are a civic embarrassment. Good thing Texas isn't a football state. Oh, wait.

Put it this way, the only team in the NFL with a worse record than the Texans is the Detroit Lions, and the Lions would be favored to beat the Texans.

Now the Rockets. Last year, the Rockets finished with the disastrous record (17-55), one of the worst seasons in NBA history. This year's Rockets (1-9) are off to an even worse start. And the same person who counts the crowd at Texans games must be pulling double-duty at Toyota Center.

Admittedly, this year's Rockets, led by high-flying rookie sensation Jalen Green, are a faster, more exciting team. But faster and more exciting don't win games. Like that game show, it's wins that count, and you are the weakest link Rockets, good-bye.

Now back to something that Houston fans actually care about …think Justin Verlander wants to stay with the Astros?

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