Defying all logic, Houston Texans continue making out like bandits

Houston Texans Jack Easterby, Cal McNair
The Texans are still raking the money in. Composite image by Brandon Strange.
KB - Texans lawsuit

Let’s just say that 2021 wasn’t the best of years for the Houston Texans.

Their All-Pro star quarterback was sued by 24 female massage therapists who alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault. The team was accused of helping the quarterback in his questionable behavior and settled with 30 different women involved in the case.

The Texans put the quarterback in timeout and didn’t allow him to play a single down all year.

The Texans finished 4-13 and fired their coach after only one season.

The Texans were named in a lawsuit charging the NFL with racial discrimination and wound up hiring a coach who wasn’t even a finalist in their initial search.

The team owner is perceived as a low-IQ hayseed and sports talk hosts have nicknames for him like Floyd the Barber, Hee Haw and Jethro.

The team’s executive vice-president of football operations and resident Svengali has a reputation one step below a snake oil salesman at Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show in an empty field just outside the city limits.

NRG Stadium was a mausoleum last season with sidewalk scalpers selling tickets for pennies on the hundreds of dollars.

The team was outscored by 172 points, their worst point differential in team history.

In recent years, the team released their biggest and most beloved star ever, J.J. Watt, and traded their star receiver DeAndre Hopkins for a pack of stale Twizzlers.

This year, the Texans will be paying three head coaches: current coach Lovie Smith, their old coach David Culley and their old-old coach Bill O’Brien.

The future doesn’t require sunglasses. Las Vegas has published early odds for all 17 Texans games in 2022. They are underdogs in every game posted, including Week 17 when the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars visit NRG Stadium.

So far, the most positive news coming out of training camp is the Texans will wear a new red helmet for one whole game this season, Nov. 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Keep staring at the shiny watch, Texans fans, you’re getting sleepy, very sleepy.

The Texans couldn’t have had a worse couple of years if Jerry Jones had sent a mole down to Houston to muck up the Texans franchise.

Things have gone so lousy for the Texans lately that even the old Enron accountants couldn’t save the bottom line, right?

You would be wrong.

The Houston Texans are a printing press for money. The Texans are valued at $4.63 billion with a big fat “B.” That’s 21 percent more than the $3.84 they were valued at in 2021 and 38 percent more than the $3.34 billion in 2020.

Can you imagine what the Texans would be worth if they had respected ownership and weren’t paying off women accusing the team of aiding a player accused of sexual misconduct, or part of a lawsuit charging racial discrimination, or played in the Super Bowl (never), made the AFC championship game (never) and actually won more games than they lost (139-182 since their inception 21 years ago)?

Each year, Sportico publishes a list of NFL team values. The Texans are No. 11 at $4.63. It’s a pretty well-to-do fraternity, with the average NFL franchise worth $4.14 billion. While the Texans are underperforming on the field, they’re over performing on their balance sheet.

The No. 1 most valuable NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys, worth upwards of $7.64 billion. That’s $630 million ahead of the No. 2 richest team in the world, the New York Yankees.

The second most-valued NFL team is the current Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams at $5.91 billion. The bargain basement NFL team is the Cincinnati Bengals, worth “only” $2.84 billion.

Sixteen NFL teams are worth more than $4 billion. The NBA and MLB have only seven teams combined valued at more than $4 billion.

The richest NBA team, despite what you see in the league standings, is the New York Knicks, around the $6 billion mark, slightly ahead of the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. The richest soccer teams are Barcelona and Real Madrid, both in the $5 billion range.

Meanwhile, as Wendy Williams asks, how you doin’, Texans fan? You might not want to look at your 401k statement. Wall Street just reported its worst first half of a year since 1970.

The S&P 500 is down 20 percent this year. NASDAQ is down 30 percent. The Dow Jones is down 15 percent. The current inflation rate is 9.1 percent. If you’re not in the market and choose to sock away your money at the bank, you’re getting about 1.5 percent interest. Food and gas price are up, rents are up, home loan interest rates are up, tuition is up. You’re losing money by saving money.

You can’t win, and neither can the Houston Texans, on the field anyway. The only difference is, the Texans are raking in money like there’s no tomorrow, which starts Sept. 11 at home against Indianapolis. The Colts are 8-point favorites.

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The Texans will have to shuffle the o-line once again. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.

“Another one!”- DJ Khaled

That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.

The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.

Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!

One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.

As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.

To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.

I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.

The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.

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