Like 80's movie gotta-wear-shades bright. Sans mullet. Well, unless you want a mullet. Far be me to judge. I not only had one, I had it permed with lines on the sides. But then, so did every other 13 year old in 1988...
I can say it with no doubt, you are officially my permanently adopted AFC team. After our back and forth during the week of our game, I came to appreciate your fan base and the perspective you have. I believe it takes a true fan to stick with a crappy team through thick and thin, and you will enjoy your successes far more than those of the knighted nobility. While I can't fault a person for growing up in NY a Yankee fan or Pittsburgh a Steeler fan, I can say that those fans will NEVER enjoy their wins as much as we do. They expect those wins, and no matter how sweet the event, that expectation will always lessen the joy. And you my friends, like us in Seattle, are still pure. We still deal in hopes and dreams, not the weight of expectation and the sour taste it brings.
For the record and to my apology, my prior Texas experiences have been the "Texas" that is overly arrogant Cowboy fans. And there's that goofy "Bigger than/Don't mess with" mentality so overly portrayed and stereotyped in media and then exacerbated by those from from Texas who actually emulate that image in other places as if we think that's who you are and who you should be.
Frankly it's annoying to us non-Texans, but I am truly glad to see there are some of you out there that helped me completely break a stereotype I had built up, and now I know there IS a difference between Texans and Cowboys... When I came over and we met, I was expecting the worse and was pleasantly surprised at how similar we really are. I feel like I did at the end of Rocky IV. "If I can change, and you can change, we all can change!" That's right, I'll quote Rocky to make my point. Not Rocky V though-- it never happened...
But don't get me wrong-- I already liked your team. Now I just realize I like the fanbase too. And this cruel turn of events that led to having the Jets get two straight bye weeks to eliminate you?!? Classic Seattle luck, I'm sorry you had to have a piece of it. I'm happy to share in your frustration as one that's "been there" and yet sad that it had to happen to such a great group of fans. This is how bad I feel-- my sports luck is so bad, I honestly felt like I infected you by liking your team. Roughly 28 days later, you're out of the playoffs and I'm sure, walking around today a little like zombies.
But such is life. I've already heard a couple scenarios for altering the schedule in the future to avoid these debacles, but nothing that sounds perfect. Alas any addressing of it the NFL does will not change the fact that you have a team that would have been dangerous going into the playoffs, and I wish I could have seen you make the wildcard run to the SB. I dearly hope with every nerve and sinew that for breaking the covenant of sports and messing with the Gods who grant you the opportunity for perfection, Indy falls horribly in their first playoff game. You don't mess with the Gods, and the Colt front office and ownership did. Peyton and his teammates deserved better-- a higher place in history's annals, and so did we all, as fans of the game, of greatness and the opportunity for perfection, and the purity of competition.
But let's talk for a minute or two about your team going forward. I would if I was you be happy to have your coach back-- looks like Kubiak is staying, and let's be honest, your offense is one of the better in the league. I like the potential moving forward, and the definite forward momentum the Texans have been building.
You have a top tier QB, the best WR in the game (I'm saying it, and Larry Fitzgerald can suck it!). You need to get Owen back (he's a FA, right?), and then you have a top TE-- one of the best threats in the game. Kevin Walter may not be a tremendous WR2, but he's certainly a solid in a role, and what's more, Jacoby Jones has really stepped up providing another option and relieving more pressure from Andre and (when he returns) Owen. Your need for support around Andre has gone down significantly, this team has OPTIONS in the passing game. Big time!
I know you were disappointed with your run game. This is a bright side post, though. Despite his fumble issues, Steve Slaton is still an incredibly talented player, and perhaps will be more effective in a somewhat different role next year as an elite level change of pace back. Be honest here, Arian Foster's potential emergence has to excite you a little and let you feel like you can focus primarily defensively in the draft and you got the bigger bruiser-type you have coveted.
I admit I don't know your OL or defense top to bottom, but the offensive skill position guys are as good a group top to bottom as there is in the league, and recent emergence by guys like Jones and Foster will allow you to address needs outside the speed/skill offensive positions.
Defensively I like your young talent, Mario and DeMeco Ryans are among the best at their positions in the league, and you stumbled upon a monster building block with Bernard Pollard (who I for one was unhappy the Hawks didn't grab for nothing, when I hear talk of us using a 1st rounder on Berry or Mays.) My understanding is you have two decent young corners, and there is still some talent if undeveloped on the front line, right?
What's more, your team is still young and ascending. Take a look around the AFC, and you see some teams nearing or already in transition. NE and Indy are no longer young, and there is opportunity there for the taking, to improve while they descend from their once incredibly lofty nests. Baltimore's D has maybe a year or two left with Reed and Lewis before they recreate themselves as an offensive based team, and that could be a rough transition given their current WR situation. Cincy is too up and down, who trusts them?!? And the Steelers may finally be running low on both their abundance of talent, and of shit-house luck (the bastards!) San Diego is still around of course, but that's about it.
It takes a while to build a winner in the NFL, but your graduated steps have been nearly always positive, and the missteps not that devastating. Yeah, there will always be set-backs, but I don't know if there is another "has not" in the league that has been making the right moves overall for as long or consistently as the Texans. You are now knocking at that proverbial door of the party with all the cool people, no longer feeling embarrassed about wanting to be let into the party, and not worried the girls are gonna avoid you and the popular crowd are gonna give you a wedgie once you get in.
Houston, you have arrived.
I hope this is the last year we see the Texans not in the playoffs for years, and I hope we'll eventually get to see our teams meet someday again-- this time in the playoffs. Which of course, means DEEEP in the playoffs.
May both our teams have kick ass offseasons!