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BRB Groupthink: Filling The Void

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With Cal McNair and Bill O’Brien killing the golden goose of Texans fandom, the masthead ponders other options...

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

“Let’s commit to be the most mediocre, un-fun, predictably boring team we can be.”

While that’s not an actual quote from the Texans front office, actions speak louder than words. So, in a manner of speaking, it’s a direct quote of the actions of Houston Texans Leadership.

As they do more and more to strip this team down, leaving J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson to figure out how to rise above while casting off any player who doesn’t fit the mold of whatever it is O’Brien thinks this team should look like, they’re radically missing the point of why people love the NFL so much: it’s entertainment.

Nothing about watching Carlos Hyde slam into the A-Gap over and over again is entertaining.

Nothing about watching your team trade off star players for peanuts is entertaining.

Nothing about watching other teams fleece your general manager like a creeper in a white van taking candy from a baby is entertaining.

Nothing about knowing your head coach didn’t ever realize he needed to have a play ready for 4th and 1 is entertaining...

Nothing.

O’Brien was brought in to build a championship team. Instead he promptly regressed to the mean, then when he was able to fill the void left by former GM Rick Smith’s departure, he set a plan in motion to ensure Houston stays there.

And, nothing about that is fun to watch.

This brings us to the question: If you had to stop rooting for the Texans, what team would you adopt to fill the void Cal McNair and Bill O’Brien are leaving in your fan-heart?

Carlos Flores

If I’m rooting for another team, it’s the Patriots.

WAIT. Lay your pitchforks down for a second and hear me out.

Fans my age have only known Tom Brady as their quarterback. The fans don’t know failure and disappointment like Texans fans do. I will be their Sherpa through these dark times. Or at least until Bill Belichick manages to snag Deshaun Watson or Trevor Lawrence as his new quarterback.

It wouldn’t necessarily be a “better” situation, but misery loves company. That, or I could be the very first LA Chargers fan?

Diehard Chris:

Choosing a new team is nothing short of monstrous behavior. Only the lowest scum of society would do this. I’m more likely to become a “fan of the league” or just not spend as much time watching football until Bill O’Brien is gone. I’m not saying I’m going to do that, because of course I’m going to continue to watch the Texans - but I definitely have zero plans to go to any games in the near future. I try to make it to one or two each season and I can say with confidence that is over until there’s a change at the top.

It’s just a tough position to be in because even with O’Brien eating through the organization like a cancer, you still have Deshaun Watson and that overcomes a lot. Unless Watson checks out mentally he can still carry this team to 9-11 wins and at least one playoff victory, but with O’Brien I feel there’s ZERO chance of a championship.

That said, I’m not going to stop watching or rooting for them because of Bill O’Brien. I’m not going to let him take away the enjoyment of having a true superstar franchise QB for the first time in my life since Warren Moon, and I’m sure as hell not going to suddenly become a fan of some other team that I haven’t gone through the hard times with. Who does that?

BFD:

For me, pretty much what Watkins said, though a lot less harshly. I’m a Houston fan, always will be. Rooting for another team like I do the Texans would be akin to cheating on my wife, I think.

That said, I have no problem adopting pet teams for a year. I picked the Rams in 2018 and 49ers last year, for example. This year, it’s shaping up to be the Arizona Cardinals for some stupid reason.

Diehard Chris:

I do that too, BFD. ”Pet teams” is a good way to put it, I just reject the idea of changing teams or adding another team. I’ve always enjoyed the Seahawks because I love that city (I really want to live in Seattle one day, went there for our honeymoon and absolutely fell in love), I love their crazy unis, I love the passion of their fans, and who didn’t love the Legion of Boom other than their rivals? Plus Duane Brown and JD Clowney. I’ll for sure be interested in the Cardinals next year. I’ve also always enjoyed the Patriots because I appreciate excellence, and I mean - ever since I was a kid supporting Macho Man Randy Savage, I’ve always pulled for the villains.

Uprooted Texan:

I think I’ve been pretty clear in the past that if I wasn’t a Texans fan I’d be a Seahawks fan, and while I’ve paid a lot less attention to the Seahawks than I used to (A LOT less), I’d probably drift back to watching them if I had to give up on the Texans. Partly because they’re local and it just seems like good manners to give some kind of lip service to the local team, part because their owner has been dead for about a year and a half and still cares more about his team than Cal McNair has ever cared about the Texans.

While I understand what BFD and Watkins are saying, that it’d be like cheating on a loved one to support another team, but open relationships are a thing too, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Vega:

I’ve always said that I root for the jersey over the person. My mom (sadly, a Yankee fan) criticized me when I suddenly started rooting for Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens back in the day, to which I replied, “it’s amazing what a change of wardrobe can do to my opinion of a guy.”

I didn’t really grow up anywhere, having moved around a lot as a kid, but I spent more time in Miami than anywhere else (I was already a confirmed Oilers fan at that point). My dad and I used to go to Joe Robbie Stadium to watch Dan Marino break records. When the Oilers dissolved (no, they did NOT move... they went away) I was living in Central Florida and rooted for the Bucs until the Texans came to be.

Both teams have had exciting offseasons and will undoubtedly be more interesting than the Texans this year. I agree that even BOB won’t make me fully divorce the Texans, but I’m sure I’ll drift toward the Florida games on Sundays this fall.

And in case you were asking, no, Jacksonville is not part of Florida.

Texans Thoughts:

I too wouldn’t ever actually jump off the sinking ship that is the Texans. But since the Cardinals had the balls to discard of Josh Rosen and go with Kyler Murray, I’ve been very interested in them. Kyler is one of the most fun quarterbacks to watch and his rookie year was very promising. I love Kingsbury’s Air Raid and how he makes it easy for his offense. They also have some of my favourite draft crushes like Budda Baker, Hakeem Butler and Byron Murphy. Oh and the best wide receiver in the league doesn’t hurt either. *cries eternally

Capt. Ron

It’s a tough one to consider adoption of another NFL team while O’Brien circles around the drain of mediocrity at great expense to so many Texans fans. My NFL team while growing up was the Broncos with Elway, and I endured so many heartbreak seasons until finally back-to-back Super Bowls were followed by retirements amid a team rebuild. That led me to adopting the Texans upon their inception since I had settled in Houston, and my wife was born and raised here as a former Oilers fan who also adopted the new Houston team. I can’t go back to the Broncos or another AFC team to keep some fidelity with the Texans during this agonizing period.

I’m more likely to pull for the 49ers, because I believe in Kyle Shanahan as a great offensive mind. It’s also a refreshing treat compared to Bill O’Brien’s predictable poodle-leg-humping, A-gap assaulting, all-field-goal, one-possession stupidity. If, by some insane means, Watson goes to another team, then I’m going with him.

Kennth L

I’m H-town till I drown. If we could withstand those 2-14 seasons in the early 2000s we will get through this. I’m with Chris - this is my team. As the Rodney Atkins song goes, “these are my people this is where I come from”.

I’ll cheer on the 49ers while I’m in San Fran, but I won’t have a Steve Young jersey in my closet. I’ll always have a #8 David Carr jersey with Schaub’s name duck-taped over it.

I don’t care if there’s an evil overlord ruling the team, isn’t that how half of every great movie, book, or tale begins? Give me something to overcome!

Is it too late to get a Super Bowl LV tattoo?

Mike:

Having grown up a Raiders fan before jumping ship to the Texans. It was fun watching Howie Long steal a hand-off from John Elway. Glorious to see Bo Jackson break away on multiple 90+ yard touchdown runs. Highly exciting to see the Raiders win Super Bowls, particularly when they thrashed the Washington Redskins.

But when Al Davis went ‘round the bend towards the end of his time, going from football super-genius to deranged mad scientist in the course of a decade, the Raiders lost a lot of fans - until Raider Nation ended up as the core of fans who clung to the “greatness of the Raiders” established in the John Madden/Tom Flores era - something never seen again to this day.

Thankfully for me, right as Davis was trading away Jon Gruden, only to have Chucky return and slaughter the Raiders in the Super Bowl, the Houston Texans came along and saved me from my ulcer-inducing Silver and Black fandom.

But, watching O’Brien pull all these moves that seem far more ego-driven than ‘man with a plan’ driven, brings back all those old feelings of watching Al Davis’s cheese slide off his cracker. And, make no mistake, Davis was a football genius in his prime - a Bill Belichick level genius (Davis actually tried to give Belichick his first head coaching gig, but Belichick saw the writing on the wall and went elsewhere). O’Brien, not so much.

So, while I think I’ll be pulling back on the Texans love - kind of like how you pull your hand back from an open flame once it blisters your fingers - I’ll probably divert a lot of that passion to the Clemson Tigers, my favorite NCAA football team. Dabo Swinney is no idiot, he wants to win, he cares for his players, inspires them, surrounds himself with great coaching talent instead of yes men and has a proven record of making things happen for the fans.

If only the Texans could say most - if even more than one - of those things these days.

Weston:

To deal with the wasteland that was Bill O’Brien football I started using condensed games as a way to watch the league as a whole. Every year I end up falling for some stupid football teams. The methmouth Titans, hating Hue Jackson, Jameis-Jameis-Jameis, and of course last season’s Bills all come to mind.

This whole thing is as natural as falling in love. It’s never as simple as picking a team. Things have to fall in place in the offseason, and eyes never lock until football finally starts.

Right now Arizona; Kyler Murray, spread offense, big blitz defense, a three WR1 offense, Kenyan Drake backfield invisibility, Chandler Jones rip moves, underrated black jerseys; Miami; the ultimate Houston schadenfreude, Julien Davenport, Nik Needham, core pass defense pieces, beautiful retro uniforms, possible Tu’a, Cam, or Andy landing spot; Buffalo, more big blitzing, a refurbished Carolina defense, fighting off regression, Ed Oliver blasting off, a wide receiver trio that perfectly compliments one another, Josh Allen doing things no one has ever done before and trying to learn how to complete deep passes, and the best uniforms in the league, are my clear favorites. I also think Cincy can fall up there if they make exotic Joe Burrow the tiger king, but Zach Taylor is probably a crappy coach, but even then, they’ll be worth watching for their defensive line alone.

Football is good. Even if Bill O’Brien has killed our football team, there is plenty of good and fun football available.

Dunsmore

This has honestly been a question on my mind over the offseason. When the Oilers left, I leaned into my parents’ teams.

My mom is from Green Bay and my dad was from D.C. Both kept their fandoms alive after I was born but both “root” for the Texans too. Right now, I would say I would go back to the Packers because it’s an easy fandom to fall in line with. The team doesn’t have an owner, just a bunch of fans that that own useless stock. (I do own one piece of stock from the most recent sale)

My favorite player before Andre Johnson was Brett Favre by a mile. My mental image of a quarterback will always be Brett Favre. Green Bay has another quarterback right now that would make it easy to be a fan of the team with Aaron Rodgers.

And on top of that, my grandfather still lives in Green Bay. So the Packers feel like the family team still.

In the end, I would only say the Packers for this exercise, but in reality, I put it in the perspective of which team do I want to root with my three-year-old son. That is still the Texans. I want to share that moment of being a life-long Houston fan and seeing them reach the mountaintop with my son.

TGC:

Can’t leave Houston teams ever. What I can do, and this might be worse in some ways, is become indifferent. The opposite of love is not hate, in my opinion, but apathy.

At what point does a head coach lose the locker room? Where is the line that a team loses the fanbase? It’s hard to say exactly where those divides exist, but it’s easy to see we’re rapidly approaching one, if not both of them with the current Texans leadership.

What about you? If the final nail was driven into your desire to watch the Texans, what team would get your attention? Or would you simply take your new found time on Sundays to hit up Houston’s amazing museums, parks and other attractions such as the Space Flight Center or Kemah Boardwalk?

Join the discussion and give us your 2 cents.