4th and a mile with Paul Muth

Help me sound cool: A Super Bowl guide for the casual fan

Tom Brady is looking to win his 7th Super Bowl. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

If you've been counting down the days until February 7th, 2021, this string of text probably isn't for you.

If you're...a little less invested...you've come to the right place.

This is and has always been a primer for those that just need a little backstory before the game. I've made a career off of faking it until I make it, so I'm just here to pay it forward.

This is what you forward to your friends that heard there was going to be a party in early February, but just now realized that it was a football thing.

Let's go.

What's going on

The Super Bowl, no need to act that naive.

Who's playing?

The Kansas City Chiefs versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Help me sound cool

The Kansas City Chiefs are looking for the first back to back Super Bowl Championship since 2004. Guess who won it?

The dude quarterbacking the team they're facing, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Who's quarterbacking the Bucs? (yes that's how it's abbreviated)

Tom Brady. The Uggs spokesman. Gisele Bündchen's less successful spouse. Also the most successful quarterback in NFL history. Look him up.

He's a good looking dude.


What about the other quarterback?

Patrick Mahomes? Well he went to Texas Tech, he's already a league MVP, Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP and he's only 25. He also throws no-look passes like a robot and sounds like Kermit the Frog.

What about the rest of the Chiefs?

You'll hear the name Tyreek Hill a lot. He's the fastest man on the planet. I think. His nickname is "Cheetah," which means a lot considering that professionally fast people gave him a fast nickname.

On defense look for a guy named Tyrann Matthieu. His nickname is "The Honey Badger," which is just cool as hell. He's from LSU, and he used to play for the Texans. Since he left Houston, the Texans have finished the past two seasons with one of the worst rated pass defenses in all of football.

Seems like a guy worth keeping around, but I digress.

Sure, ok. What about the Bucs?

Watch for Mike Evans. He's a giant wide receiver who's basically a basketball player that just jumps over everyone and catches everything. He's an A&M alum, and is so unabashedly Texan that he catered Whataburger at his wedding. You can't root against that, unless you're from California or something.

On defense look for Devin White. Well, you won't have to. He'll make himself known.

Anything else?

Tampa Bay is the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Oh, and Tom Brady is 700 years old.

So who wins?

Vegas has the Chiefs favored, and they should. But I've learned over the past 20 years to never--ever--bet against Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.


I call 31-27 Bucs, because I want to see Rob Gronkowski do Rob Gronkowski things.

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Dameon Pierce bought Nick Caserio some time. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

As the Astros get ready to make a run at back-to-back World Series championships and the Houston Cougars strive to play their way to a Final Four in Houston, the Houston Texans near term ambitions are much lower. The Texans merely hope to end their status as a three years running dumpster fire of nearly relentless ineptitude. As a follow-up to the energy jolt of the hire of DeMeco Ryans as head coach, the first days of the new NFL year resulted in a word rarely useable since Nick Caserio became general manager: progress!

Specifically, acquiring solid guard Shaq Mason from the cap-strapped Buccaneers for basically nothing was excellent, the addition of defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins should be a legitimate upgrade for the Texans’ d-line that was regularly trampled last season, and a deal with defensive back Jimmie Ward should add veteran savvy to the secondary provided he isn’t poised to tumble over the hill at 32 years old. Ed Reed anyone? Reed was 35. Big difference. Or better be.

The Texans organizationally weren’t really trying to win the last two years but, Caserio didn’t do much to impress in pouring some foundation for the next era of winning Texans football. Year one he was hamstrung by not having a first or second round pick, but his first selection (third round pick) was the failed flyer on quarterback Davis Mills. That leaves wide receiver Nico Collins as the biggest hope of the Texans’ Class of ’21. Collins shows promise of number two wideout upside, but has had health issues each of his first two seasons. It is fine to judge a rookie class on its rookie production, it is foolish to pass final judgment on that class for at least another year or two.

Caserio’s most important 2022 draftees collectively underwhelmed. Third overall pick Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. played okay, before having injury problems as he did in his final two seasons at LSU. The Jets grabbed corner Sauce Gardner with the selection immediately after the Texans took Stingley. Gardner played every game and was spectacular in becoming the first rookie CB named first team All-Pro since Ronnie Lott 41 years earlier. Caserio’s second first round pick, guard Kenyon Green out of A&M, struggled frequently. A whole bunch of rookies taken after Green were better in their first seasons, including guard Zion Johnson who went to the Chargers two spots after Caserio picked Green. Again, no final verdicts, but anyone wanting to gush over Caserio tabbing running Dameon Pierce in the fourth round needs to acknowledge his top two picks weren’t all that.

Fortunately, one of the many rookies better than Green was Texans’ first second round pick Jalen Pitre. On both the human level and football level hopefully their second second rounder last year, wide receiver John Metchie, shows well after having his rookie season delayed so he could conquer leukemia.

Big picture

Ultimately, nothing the Texans do with their roster amounts to much until they next have quality quarterback play. Hence, the defining move of Caserio’s tenure is the QB the Texans take number two overall in the upcoming draft. It’s basically 50-50 that the Texans will be full of crap when they say “we got our guy” at number two. Moronically winning the season finale against the Colts cost the Texans the first pick, which the Panthers now have via trade with the Bears. Whichever QB left for the Texans between C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young could turn out to be the better player. Maybe they’re both great, maybe they’re both busts. There is no disputing that the only way to definitely get your preferred dart at the board was by picking first instead of second, and the Texans blew that control.

The Texans are in the obviously weakest division in the AFC. Right now the Jaguars look to be the team of the present and future, but far from a juggernaut. The Titans are coming off a collapse and like the Colts are very unsettled at quarterback. Well, unless the Colts pull off a huge signing of Lamar Jackson. Last place to first place year-to-year division flips are not extreme rarities in the NFL. The Jaguars did it last year, the Bengals the year before. There is no reason to expect that from the Texans in 2023 but in their division it wouldn’t be a complete miracle if they nail the QB selection. If the Texans’ Caserio-Ryans one-two punch isn’t at minimum legitimately competing to win the division in 2024, then four seasons into his tenure, Caserio will be failing at roster building.

Astros baseball is right around the corner!

Stone Cold ‘Stros is the weekly Astro-centric podcast I am part of alongside Brandon Strange and Josh Jordan. On our regular schedule it airs live at 3PM Monday on the SportsMapHouston YouTube channel, is available there for playback at any point, and also becomes available in podcast form at outlets galore. Such as:

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