The U.S.A.’s recent heartbreaking exit against Belgium in the World Cup may have left a bad taste in many Americans’ mouths, but I don't think any country is feeling more pain after this past week than Brazil. After practically bankrupting themselves to host the cup in the first place, which incited mass riots and civil demonstrations, the Brazilian national team went on to do the unthinkable – give their country hope, and then painfully snatch it away. Neymar fractured a vertebrae, their captain and alleged "brain" of the defense was suspended for a crucial game, and Brazil suffered one of the most embarrassing defeats in the history of sports. To make things worse, their arch rival, Argentina, advanced to the World Cup final on Brazilian soil in a penalty shootout. Sure, Argentina may have lost to Germany yesterday, but Brazil’s annihilation (again) at the hands of the Dutch this weekend capped off the most agonizing finish to the Cup that any Brazilian could have imagined. For the "Community" fans in the room, you could say that Brazil just endured the darkest timeline.
All of this "soccer" nonsense got me thinking about the darkest timeline for the Texans. Just how much worse could this possibly get? Andre Johnson wants out, Teddy Bridgewater is a Viking, and the team just came off of an embarrassing (and unexpected) 2-14 season. Could it possibly get more painful than that?
Yes. Yes it can.
The Texans have a decent bounce back from their disastrous 2013 season, posting a somewhat respectable 9-7 record. They do not make the playoffs, but inspire some hope in the fan base for the coming years under O’Brien. Ryan Fitzpatrick performs decently well, but the team is clearly carrying him rather than the other way around. Johnson still wants out, but nobody is willing to take his enormous contract so he stays in Houston. Meanwhile in Minnesota, Teddy Bridgewater leads the Vikings to a second round playoff exit that is in no way his fault. In fact, he performed brilliantly for the entire season by rookie standards. In Cleveland, Johnny Manziel sits behind a resurgent Brian Hoyer, who somehow leads Cleveland to a 10-6 record without Josh Gordon being on the field. Houston’s position in the draft is in the middle of the pack, which unfortunately results in missing out on every top flight quarterback in this class.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has a middling start to the season in his first six games before giving way to a sophomore Tom Savage. Savage performs just well enough in his second season to inspire some confidence in his future, which tempers Bill O’Brien’s desire to draft yet another young quarterback with a high pick. Savage has the job…for now. The Texans finish 9-7 and yet again barely miss the playoffs. Andre Johnson is losing his mind with frustration, and it is starting to get to J.J. Watt. Johnson finally gets his wish and is traded to New England to make one last run at a ring with an elderly Tom Brady. J.J. Watt is reluctant to sign an extension and is franchise tagged. Back in Minnesota, Teddy Bridgewater and Cordarelle Patterson have become the most dangerous young offensive duo in the league. The pairing brings the Vikings their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. Manziel continues to sit behind Hoyer, who has had two spectacular seasons in a row with the Browns. Cleveland trades Manziel to Tennessee in the off season, not wanting to risk Manziel’s considerable fan base interfering with Hoyer’s success.
The Texans collapse again. Tom Savage does not develop as expected and leads the Texans to yet another first overall pick. Jadeveon Clowney finishes his third straight season without ever registering double digit sacks. Not wanting to be stuck on a bad team for his entire career like Andre Johnson, J.J. Watt leaves for the Baltimore Ravens in free agency, where he will eventually win two Super Bowls and become a first ballot Hall of Famer. Teddy Bridgewater leads the Vikings to a second straight Super Bowl appearance, which happens to be played in NRG Stadium. His opponent, of course, is a scrappy Tennessee Titans team lead by none other than Johnny Manziel. In spectacularly painful fashion (for Texans fans), Manziel wins a ring in his first season a starter while being just a short drive from College Station. Houston collectively drowns itself in alcohol.
I for one cannot imagine anything more miserable than that timeline. Andre Johnson is gone, J.J. Watt is gone, and Johnny Manziel helps the Titans of all teams win a championship in Houston. I almost need a drink just thinking about it. Before some of you go throw yourself off the nearest cliff, however, just keep in mind that absolutely none of this is likely to happen. Bill O’Brien is a great coach, Jadeveon Clowney is a great player, and the Browns going 10-6 violates multiple laws of physics. It just can’t happen…right? RIGHT?