ONWARD AND UPWARD!
Why the time has finally arrived to shift focus to the positive with Houston Texans
And so the Houston Texans’ year of redemption and regained respectability begins Sunday on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.
Before the first coin flip, It’s already been a winning season for the Texans, finally unshackled from controversy, shameful publicity, paying off women alleging sexual assault by the quarterback, lurid headlines, mindboggling dumb trades, divisive front office weirdos and dumb choices as head coach. Oh, and three consecutive disastrous seasons drove fans out of NRG Stadium. I’m usually a half-full guy, but those stands sure looked empty.
But hope springs eternal this fall. The Texans dispatched a coach nobody else wanted and landed a bright young coach that everybody admires. Ownership went all in on last year’s draft and landed two of the top 3 picks, including a franchise quarterback and defensive monster. Ownership appears to have a vision for better days.
Suddenly the Texans are being taken seriously, not yet as playoff contenders, but no longer the dysfunctional patsies they were under fired head coaches David Culley and Lovie Smith. If you throw hot-tempered Bill O’Brien in the mix, the Texans had three head coaches the past three seasons, none of whom was offered another head coach job in the NFL.
DeMeco Ryans makes it four over four, but he’s got a six-year contract and the hopes and prayers of Texans fans, so he’s sticking around.
It’s up to Texans fans to forgive the team enough to show up on Game Days. The home opener is Sept. 17 against the Indianapolis Colts. The Texans used to have a waiting list for season tickets in the tens of thousands. The past two years, Texans staffers were using the evaporated waiting list as a Rolodex to call fans like telemarketers selling timeshares in Orlando.
It may be a long road back to winning, but the Texans appear on the right path. Vegas oddsmakers still need to be convinced, though. The Texans are Week One’s longest longshot on the board, 10-point underdogs to the Ravens. Vegas puts the Texans’ win total at 6-½ games. In early wagering, the Texans are underdogs each game except against the Colts (Week 2), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 8), and the Arizona Cardinals (Week 10). The Texans odds of winning the Super Bowl are 20,000 to 1. Only the Arizona Cardinals have longer odds, 40,000-1. If Mattress Mack thinks up a promotion, it would have to be that customers get free furniture for their life and the lives of their next 10 generations if the Texans win the “Big Game on Feb. 11, 2024 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.”
Just when you thought that the Texans were back on the road to respectability there’s always room for a little reminder of their snakebitten and unintentionally humorous past, like …
Fox Sports national talk host Colin Cowherd recently made a dismissive comment about Texans rookie quarterback and No. 2 overall draft pick C.J. Stroud. Cowherd said he didn’t think Stroud was “athletic” enough to be a top star in the NFL. OK, he’s entitled to his opinion, but really, who cares what Cowherd thinks?
I’ll tell you who, a Houston sports talk host. And don’t ask me which one because, hey, we all make mistakes and I don’t like to criticize my fellow media mates. It’s not my nature.
The local host got his panties in a bunch over Cowherd’s comment and decided to do an on-air segment about it. The host said that Cowherd didn’t know what he was talking about.
But he pondered what if Cowherd’s right? And that’s when the show went off the skids and had me screaming at my car radio.
The host suggested that if Stroud plays poorly, the Texans might be inclined to give up on him and look in another direction. The next several minutes of the show were devoted to what the Texans might do with their first-round draft pick next year. And, hoo boy, what if the Texans get the No. 1 overall pick next year?
The host said, if they get No. 1, the Texans absolutely must draft Caleb Williams, the Heisman-winning quarterback from Southern Cal. Williams is that good, the host exulted. Then the Texans could trade Stroud to a team that needs a quarterback, perhaps the Las Vegas Raiders.
Or if Stroud plays well, the Texans could trade their precious first-round pick for a lower pick and other assets.
It was a very informative and lively radio segment about what to do with the Texans’ first-round pick next year. Except for one small detail.
The Texans do not have their first-round draft pick next year. The traded it to Arizona. Houston only has the Browns' first-round pick in 2024. The host said listeners eventually called with that bit of information and he offered a “nevermind.”
That Texans-sized mistake was nothing, however, compared to the boner my cable company U-Verse made recently. The on-screen guide listed:
“ABC Channel 13: Houston Texans Countdown to Kickoff. Host: Bob Allen.”
Again, not to criticize, but Bob Allen retired from Channel 13 in 2012 and passed away in 2016.