Have Houston teams sapped fans of their last glimmer of hope?
Coming off what might have been the most hopeless day in the history of Houston sports last Thursday, things only went downhill from there.
The Astros, the one great hope for the city before the season, are hovering around .500. The Rockets were ousted by the Lakers and now need a new coach and maybe an all-new vision.
The Texans? Still no match for the elite of the AFC.
It is as if the city's sports teams are stuck in a Dr. Strange style time loop, where everything is the same.
The Rockets are just good enough to give people hope, but never good enough to get over the top. As long as James Harden is the best player on this team, this is the ceiling. They can tweak the pieces around him, but they will never do enough. Chris Paul's hamstring is as close as they will get. It doesn't matter who the next coach is. As long as Harden is the main guy, this will be the Rockets every year.
We also know what the Texans are. Good enough to compete for the division every year. Maybe win an occasional playoff game. But no real threat to do anything more.
The Astros have joined the circle of mediocrity as well. Their title window appears closed, and without Jeff Luhnow to re-tool the roster, there is no real hope for another title.
And that's what seems to be lost. Hope.
Rather than results, these teams are left to sell hope. Hopefully a coaching change and another roster retool makes the Rockets real contenders. Hopefully the Texans figure this out and Bill O'Brien's total power grab works. Hopefully the Astros will turn it around if Justin Verlander comes back. But with the one exception of the Astros 2017 title, nothing ever really changes. These teams aren't bad; they just aren't good enough to compete for the top prize. Whatever the Rockets do won't be enough. The Texans under O'Brien just won't be good enough. The Astros appear to have regressed and will not be good enough. It feels like we know the outcomes of the season before the games are even played.
Even the Dynamo offered some brief hope over the past few weeks with a win streak, but does anyone buy it?
How many times have you thought "this year will be different?" It isn't.
Yes, there is still time for the Astros, and the Texans have only played one game. But watching them against the Chiefs, did you not think we have seen this act before?
At least hope is something every fan has been able to hold onto when it comes to Houston teams. But with one team already eliminated, it sure feels like another year in the time loop.