Sunday's collapse was historic and familiar

The Texans are innovative heartache pioneers

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I'm not the best source of consolation after Sunday's disaster up in Kansas City. I might actually be one of the worst. When asked at brunch earlier that afternoon why I wasn't more excited about the Texans' divisional round I calmly explained my relationship with the Texans as loveless, but necessary. I was met with blank stares. We changed the subject.

I've come to realize that the Texans are the embodiment of Albert Einstein's definition of insanity. They are Marvin Lewis' Bengals. They are every Power Rangers episode.

They are the same thing every year. Predictably mediocre with an end result you can see from a mile away.

For everyone that shares my same mindset, this loss was frustratingly validating. There's nothing you can take from it. That's a game film reel that can be tossed in the garbage.

When you look at the Ravens' loss from last week, you can at least look positively on the direction your team is headed. The Texans, however, flew back to Houston with a stack of concerns leading into next season.

To be honest, Rooting for the Texans is exhausting. The Astros are at least either really good or really bad. The Rockets are typically good, always exciting, and generally sputter in the second round. The Texans, however, are true innovators in new forms of heartache.

This year was a historic collapse after an overtime victory. Last year they overcame an 0-3 start to clinch the division, only to be unceremoniously steamrolled by the Colts in round one. The year before? A rookie quarterback showing flashes of brilliance only to be lost early on to a freak ACL injury in practice.

The only way to break out of this perpetual cycle is for the franchise with no GM to have a good draft that they won't participate in until day 2.

I'm not trying to do a deep dive into the offseason woes the Texans are facing, there will be plenty of those articles coming down the pipeline. It's just hard to see the same team that has done the same things do anything different without some sort of substantial change made on the sidelines.

I lost what remaining confidence I had in Bill O'Brien in August of 2017 when he declared "Tom's the starter." Anyone who thought that Tom Savage had any business getting in the way of the development of Deshaun Watson was out of their mind in my opinion. O'Brien's production has remained mediocre while his influence on football operations has only increased. What about that formula suggests a breakout from what we've all grown accustomed to?

Personally I don't know what would be a worse scenario: having a terrible, mismanaged team that cycles through coaches, or a mediocre team that flashes potential that will seemingly never be achieved due to owner complacency? At least the terrible teams get good draft picks. In the meantime, Texans fans will always have their division championships to brag about I suppose. It doesn't seem like there will be much beyond that to celebrate anytime soon.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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