It took less than 24 hours for Texans fans to find a unique way to show their displeasure at a certain member of the coaching staff for his ineptitude. Early Monday afternoon, running back Cierre Wood, and linebackers Sam Montgomery and Willie Jefferson had been waived by the Texans for the ever-so-clear "violation of team rules."
As the day progressed, word swirled around the blogosphere that these three players had been removed for "smoking a cigar in a hotel room" as if they were kids trying to hide the habit from their parents. "We didn't think we'd ever get caught" said Jefferson, who positively reeked of "cigar" fumes. "I don't see what the problem is. Everybody's doing it."
News got around so quickly that by the time the coaching staff arrived on Kirby Avenue the following morning, one of the coaches found his office filled to near-brimming with cigar boxes.
"I've never seen anything like it before," said Texans special teams coach Joe Marciano. "I tried to get into my office and was stopped dead in my tracks. There must have been several hundred boxes of cigars just piled up all over my office floor." He went on to say that he didn't smoke, but he knew that he would find people to take them off his hands for him.
Marciano then demanded to know, in a lighthearted tone, who was the joker responsible for what he deemed, "this really weird prank."
Nobody came forward. "I had no idea what he was talking about," said Texans safety Ed Reed, as he pushed his walker out of the locker room. "Someone's gonna catch hell for it," said multiple-time special teams offender Eddie Pleasant, "and it ain't about to be me."
Marciano took the gesture more or less in good spirits. Texans fans in Houston and across the country, however, were less than thrilled about the end result of the prank.
"I've been looking for a way to get that [expletive] fired for years now, and Kubiak finally gave us a way to do it," said one fan of the cigars. "It was like he was begging us to find an excuse to fire Marciano. With that many cigars in his possession, he's as good as gone! It'll be happy days for us again."
When this fan was informed that those players were fired for something a little more heinous than a cigar, his face fell precipitously. "So...you mean...he's not getting fired? Kubiak's going to keep Marciano on despite violating team rules?" Upon realizing this grim fact, the fan fell to his knees and openly sobbed. "What's it gonna take to get rid of him? Holy water?!"
After spending the better part of three hours counting up all the boxes, Marciano stated that the total number of cigar boxes came to 11,248. "We even found one with less than legal substances in them. I brought that one to Kubes' attention."
Kubiak, though dismayed at Marciano technically breaking the rules, appeared sympathetic, "Marciano is in no danger of losing his job. I make decisions about personnel based upon a body of work in everything I do. And Joe Marciano has such a stellar record with the team as a whole that I can overlook this one incident. But he'll be under careful evaluation from here on out."
The prank was apparently the mindfruit of a brash lawyer from Arkansas who, when asked about the incident, gave a heavy sigh, "It was worth a try, but it didn't work. I guess I'll have to go back to the drawing board and come up with another way to get that 'coach,' " he says making air quotes, "Off the team."
It may have been a lot of money, but a group of fans in Houston have taken up a collection to pay back that unnamed lawyer for his dedication to removing Joe Marciano from the team and hope to give him more resources to make his dream a reality.