Shocking report points to possible Texans fan revolt

Texans Deshaun Watson, Cal McNair
Why would anyone pay to watch this team? Composite image by Jack Brame.
Here’s how Texans ownership put their fans in the worst possible position

To say the Texans have had a whirlwind offseason would be an understatement. Not only did they release JJ Watt, the best player in team history, but their franchise quarterback has been embroiled in a couple of controversies. Deshaun Watson has made it known he wants out and has 22 civil suits pending. Not to mention they didn't have any first or second round picks, and proceeded to make only five picks despite having eight because they traded up twice. Add that to some questionable roster moves, and there's a recipe for a disastrous season on the horizon.

Enter the season ticket fiasco. Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle wrote an article explaining how much of the waiting list is no longer waiting. It painted the picture of fans evidently being fed up and are finally fighting back against the organization where it truly hurts them: the bottom line. This is a team that sold their 91% capacity of season tickets before even playing a game! They've had a waiting list longer than a CVS receipt for 20 years! Now, the fans are fed up because the organization appears to still be a laughingstock despite getting rid of Bill O'Brien.

My only question is: will this strategy actually work? Will fans being noncommittal on buying season tickets have the desired effect on the way the team is run? Cal McNair is still in charge. Janice McNair, Cal's mom, won't do anything to embarrass her son publicly, such as removing him from power. Jack Easterby is firmly entrenched in a leadership role and the McNairs apparently love him. He helped get Nick Caserio hired, so there's a certain debt of gratitude there. David Culley is a placeholder coach in my opinion. So how will this strike against supporting the team actually make a difference?

With the television deal and revenue sharing in place, NFL teams won't lose money. They'd have to gamble it away and use the rest on hookers and drugs before they come close to losing money. Not saying that the Texans are a strung out junkie of a franchise, but they aren't exactly the picture of stability. It helps that they're in a business that's fool-proof. Fans sending a message of disinterest will cause the organization to think differently, but it won't hit them as hard as people would like. They can still operate as if nothing else matters because they know the money will keep coming in. Look at the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. Two NFL teams that have been horrible for a number of years, but are able to maintain despite a losing history over the last 10-20 years or more. The Clippers, Kings, and Timberwolves have managed to survive in the NBA despite their poor performances. So have the Tigers, Orioles, and Diamondbacks in MLB despite their bottom of the barrel showings.

While I hope the downturn in season ticket renewals/buys forces the Texans organization into changing their way of operating, I don't think it'll have the desired impact. Single game ticket sales will increase because opposing fan bases will buy some of them, especially ones that travel well or are close regionally. There's also the week-to-week fans that will buy tickets just to have an outing due to being locked down for most of the past year or so. The pandemic has caused some crazy things to happen. I personally have been a victim and beneficiary of this on a number of fronts. Ultimately, this won't change how the Texans operate as an organization. It'll be status quo on Kirby because the NFL is almost impossible to fail at (A.K.A. losing money). Fans can do as they please, but the team will always win. Here's to hoping Caserio can put together a roster worth competing soon. Otherwise, this team will be more Browns South than Patriots South.

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With both Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers making their way back from surgeries that sideline that Astros pitchers last season, and given the team's thin depth in their starting rotation, Houston fans and media have waited on bated breath for scraps of information to leak out of the notoriously secretive organization regarding their progress.

In a week full of mostly Hurricane Beryl-related bad news, the Astros organization had some discouraging news of their own when manager Joe Espada told the media that Lance McCullers has been shut down from pitching after his arm did not respond well to his latest bullpen session. The team says they are "formulating a plan for what's next."

Another Astros starter making his way back from injury is HOF-bound Justin Verlander. Verlander has been on the IL since June 16th with neck discomfort and, while there was initial hope that JV would only miss a start, his status has become increasingly murky as he is still apparently not close to returning.

Shifting from the health questions of the starters to the performance questions of the bullpen, some Houston fans have voiced concern via social media that Astros big-ticket 9th inning pitcher Josh Hader is not looking like a "shut-down" closer. Hader gave up more home runs in the first week of July (3) as he did the entire month of June (2).

In this week's episode of Stone Cold Stros, Charlie Pallilo and Brandon Strange discuss how the fluid dynamics of Astros pitching is impacting the competitive landscape of the division race. To watch the conversation, just click the video YouTube embedded in this article. To listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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