FALCON POINTS

The 5 most likable active athletes in Houston sports

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

When it comes to current athletes in Houston, there is no shortage of likable ones. Yes, the Astros cheating scandal did tarnish a few, but there are still some Astros who are easy to root for. There are also great players like James Harden, but he is a polarizing person. Some fans love him, some just can't root for him. The ones on this list are not only great at their sports, but they make an impact on their community. These are my five favorites based on that criteria. There are certainly many others who could have made this list, but when you limit it to five...

5) Lance McCullers, Astros pitcher: It's easy to forget about McCullers, who missed last season after Tommy John surgery. But he was a key contributor on the 2017 championship team, and had ace stuff before the surgery. It's possible his best years are ahead of him. Off the field, he and wife Kara have long been supporters of stray and homeless animals through the Lance McCullers Foundation. McCullers is active on social media and simply a really likable dude.

4) Carlos Correa, Astros shortstop: Correa has not quite reached the superstar level predicted for him, but he has still been very good, and he is young enough to still reach those heights. He was one of the few Astros to come off as open and honest after the cheating scandal, and he has been instrumental in raising money for Puerto Rico as well as Houston. He has helped distribute beds for children in the city of Houston with Texas Mattress Makers.

3) George Springer, Astros outfielder: Yes, the Astros dominate this list. Springer has been a terrific player, but he has also been an inspiration for stutterers as one himself. He donated money to Astros employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the other two, unless you just hate cheaters, Springer is hard to root against.

2) Derrick Lewis, UFC heavyweight: The 35-year-old "Black Beast" is one of the best heavyweights in the UFC, an exciting fighter who is worth every pay per view penny. He is also charismatic, a terrific interview and an easy guy to like. He also went out after Harvey and pulled an estimated 100 people out of the water with his elevated truck. It's almost impossible not to root for this guy.

1) J.J. Watt, Texans: In a lot of people's minds, Watt can do no wrong in Houston. He has been the best player in franchise history, and his amazing efforts after Harvey were the stuff of legends. His wife, Kealia Ohai Watt, is also a popular athlete, although she no longer plays in the city. Still, they make for a sports power couple. Yes, Watt can occasionally come off the wrong way, and injuries have slowed him in recent years, but in general, he has been one of the highest profile athletes in Houston history and has made unprecedented impacts both on and off the field.

HONORABLE MENTION

Just missing out on this list, in order, are Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander, Simone Biles, Deshaun Watson, Russel Westbrook.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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