When the Texans announced that Wade Phillips would be missing a few weeks for a medical procedure, Texans fans were asking themselves what they did to deserve such terrible luck.
Everything started in the preseason when Arian Foster pulled a hammy. Little did we know that this was only the start of an injury snowball that would take out some of the most important players to ever wear a Texans uniform. When the snowball finally got big enough, it claimed its first coach.
Most would play this off as simple bad luck, but you, the wonderful readers of BRB, deserve better. You deserve an investigative report that includes a comprehensive statistical analysis comparing the frequency of various injury types in pre and post lockout seasons.
As a dedicated writer for BRB, I, for one, hope you find such an analysis.
In the meantime, let's see if we're cursed.
Theoretically, one would expect injuries to be evenly spread between stars and scrubs, but it seems like the Texans' stars have been hit at an extraordinary rate this season. Coming into the season, one would probably list the Texans stars thusly:
- Offense: Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels.
- Defense: Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans , Brian Cushing, Danieal Manning, Johnathan Joseph.
Again, that's probably what the list would have been had we created it during preseason (and, admittedly, that defensive list would have been under heavy scrutiny, as questions swirled around all of those guys).
All said, those players have combined to miss 23 games so far this year, not counting the games in which they were injured. While other teams have had more injuries, none have had such setbacks to as many players that were originally considered crucial to the team's success. That the Texans have continued to win speaks volumes about the depth of the team and the preparedness of the backups.
That the Texans have continued to have one of the league's best defenses -- especially when one considers the botched vasectomy that was the 2010 defense -- speaks even louder to the badassedness of Wade Phillips.
So when it was announced that Wade Phillips would be missing a few games, one had to start accepting the possibility of the intervention of supernatural forces (no matter how non-superstitious one might be).
With all that in mind, I decided to delve deeper into the possibility that the Texans have incurred some sort of paranormal personal foul (which, if paranormal referees are anything like real life referees, is probably unfounded).
I began by performing an in-depth study (i.e., Google) of famous curses and then evaluating whether or not they could possibly be the cause of such misfortune.
The first curse I encountered was that of James Dean and the "Little Bastard". The "Little Bastard" was the Porsche 550 Spyder that James Dean, who raced cars on the side, acquired during the filming of Rebel Without A Cause. In late 1955, while driving the car to a race, Dean was killed in a head-on collision. Since his death, the car has killed nearly everyone in its path. It fell on the legs of a mechanic; killed or injured people who had purchased the engine, transmission, and tires; and was the lone survivor of a car-show fire.
In late 2010, Mario Williams appeared in this video after having new Giovanni Kilis wheels put on his Porsche Panamera. Is it possible that trace elements of "Little Bastard" may have been used in the manufacturing of those wheels? We definitely can't rule that out.
Let's move on.
Robert Johnson was one of the most influential blues musicians in the early twentieth century. Eric Clapton even dubbed him "the most important blues musician who ever lived." According to legend, Johnson made a pact with the devil in exchange for his incredible guitar skills. When he died at the age of 27, it was simply because his debt was due. Since then many renowned musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin,, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain, have died at the young age of 27, thus giving life to the Curse of 27.
But can the Curse of 27 extend to those who play the gridiron like a finely tuned guitar? At first glance, no; the only 27 year old on the active roster who has had any sort of a significant injury is James Casey, though you could possibly include DeMeco Ryans' pre-season elbow injury as well. The only 27-year-old on IR is Kasey Studdard, but his presence on IR is probably more of a blessing than a curse. If, however, you look at all the Texans who were starters at their positions before going on IR -- including Brett Hartmann (24), Matt Leinart (28), Matt Schaub (30), and Mario Williams (26) -- their ages average out to exactly 27.
That simply CAN'T be a coincidence.
In 2006, archaeologists in Leicester, England discovered a tablet, upon which was inscribed a curse to those who stole the cloak of Servandus. Apparently, Servandus was a Roman living in Britain who was pissed that some dudes jacked his coat, so he begged the god Maglus to destroy the wrongdoers before the ninth day. He then proceeded to list the names of some 18 or 19 suspects. Presumably, Servandus did not subscribe to the concept of "innocent until proven guilty."
I can find no link to the Texans and any such cloak, but, just this past June, scientists from the University of Texas claim to have created strands that could potentially be weaved into a cloak of invisibility. Could this cloak somehow be linked to the infamous cloak of Servandus? Were those scientists Texans fans who have passed their curse on to the team?
These are all legitimate possibilities, but for the most likely cause, we must look toward ancient Egypt.
In 1922, the tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered by English explorer Howard Carter. Now, it is well-known to even the most dimwitted individual, or anyone who's ever watched Scooby Doo, that any person who dares disturb the mummy of an Egyptian pharaoh shall be cursed. I mean, it has its own Wikipedia page, for crying out loud. Carter, however, clearly lacked the necessary WiFi and proceeded to enter the tomb.
Shortly thereafter, Carter's pet canary was killed by a cobra; George Herbert, the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon and financier of Carter's expedition, died from blood poisoning following complications from a mosquito bite; all the lights went out in the city of Cairo; and Carter's dog dropped dead.
How does this tie to the Texans, though? Follow my logic, however skewed it may be.
In ancient Egypt, Apis was the bull deity worshiped by the people of Memphis and was originally the herald of the god Ptah. As the mythology evolved, the entity of Ptah was absorbed into the myth of Osiris. Osiris was the Egyptian lord of the dead, and Apis became the "living deceased one," just as the Texans, also represented by a bull, have become the living deceased of the NFL.
As we study our curses, one has to be intrigued by the similarities between the story of Apis and the Texans' season and wonder if perhaps Bob McNair has stolen some sort of bull relic from an ancient tomb, thus invoking the Pharaoh's Curse. Or perhaps Bud Adams placed the curse on the Texans as punishment for the bull logo (remember, the Oilers first played in Memphis after being stolen from Houston).
But let's stay on the Egyptian theme for a while. The story of Apis is so eerily representative of this season that perhaps it is not indicative of a curse at all, but, rather, is a sign of things to come.
If we continue to follow the myth of Osiris, we find that Osiris was killed by Set, the god of darkness and Osiris' own brother, at the age of 28. At that time, Apis was sacrificed in a great ceremony (it isn't clearly spelled out in the myth, but I'm fairly certain that elements of Apis were properly rubbed and smoked).
In homage to Osiris and Apis, bulls were revered in ancient Egypt, the tombs of pharaohs were regularly decorated with mummified bulls, and the coffins of early pharaohs were often depicted with the horns of bulls. It was believed that Apis would provide them control over the four winds of the afterlife.
Well, remember that list of key players earlier in this post? The average age of the five of those players who have missed time to injury is exactly 28 -- the same age as Osiris was when he was killed by Set and when Apis was sacrificed. And it cannot be mere coincidence that there are four levels of the football afterlife (i.e., the playoffs), just as there are four winds of the Egyptian afterlife.
In fact, after performing this research, I see no other possible conclusion except this: The 2011 Houston Texans have not been cursed as so many have come to believe. Instead, they have sacrificed some of their most respected players in order to gain control of the four levels of the playoffs.
How does Wade Phillips fit in? Why, he's Osiris -- god of rebirth (of the defense).