One of my all-time favorite movies is Downfall (Der Untergang) from 2004. Many of us have seen parodies of the bunker scene, and some are even good! It’s true!
What the bunker scene represents, for me (waits for Foxache to correct me), is that moment when Adolf Hitler and the rest of the Nazis finally realize the end is nigh. Because I both love history and absolutely adore being super-melodramatic, I am going to compare the Houston Texans to Downfall. Honestly, as somebody who saw the writing on the wall in 2017 with Bill O’Brien, and the amount of kitten I took as a result, I am going to greatly enjoy this comparison.
For me, the downfall for the Nazis started when Hitler stupidly invaded Russia on June 22, 1941, a/k/a Unternehmen Barbarossa. I could spend probably a thousand pages saying why this was a horrible idea from the start, but you’re not here to read about WWII history. Mostly.
When it comes to the Texans, the downfall started with the trade of Duane Brown to the Seattle Seahawks.
You see, Brown was holding out, wanting a contract extension. Bob McNair promptly uppity tagged Brown, making him essentially a non-person. When Brown returned to the team, he was quickly, of course, traded to the Seahawks.
Now, what’s especially funny about that trade is that the original version didn’t even count. Brown was initially traded for a 2018 5th round pick, 2019 2nd round pick (Lonnie Johnson Jr. LOL!), and Jeremy Lane. Lane failed his physical, and a 2018 3rd rounder, which turned out to be Martinas Rankin, was substituted in Lane’s place.
In other words, we traded a Hall of the Very Good Players member for a bunch of nothing. It was a conglomeration of kitten kind of trade. Duane Brown is still active and is still a pretty darned good left tackle.
Let me put this as undelicately as possible: The Texans traded a franchise left tackle because they wouldn’t extend his contract. We traded that left tackle for an abyss. One Bill O’Brien, in all of his OFFENSIVESUPERGENIUS, later traded two drafts of players for a left tackle.
Trading Duane Brown was the beginning of the end.
On December 31, 2017, Rick Smith announced he was taking a leave of absence to be with his wife, Tiffany, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Rick and I are about the same age, and he and his family will always have a special place in my heart. Every time I think about Tiffany, who I never even met, I tear up. Tiffany passed on January 31, 2019. Always and forever, my love to the Smiths.
Brian Gaine took over as the GM in 2018 and proceeded to immediately embarrassing himself as a GM. Bob McNair passed away in November 2018. BOB took over as the GM. Cal McNair exists.
Getting back to my horribly melodramatic comparison, are the Texans yet at the bunker scene from the movie Downfall?
No, I don’t think so.
David Culley. Tim Kelly. Lovie Smith. That’s your on-field leadership, and they are all incredibly out of their element. David Culley is Maurice Gamelin. Tim Kelly is Bill O’Brien. Lovie Smith is Arthur Percival.
Caserio and the story’s Rasputin-like figure, Jack Easterby, signify Houston’s off-field leadership. Of these five leadership positions, maybe one, Caserio, is competent, but we have absolutely no reason to believe even this is true. Caserio’s first offseason, even with all the handicaps, was still absolutely worthless.
Ultimately, as long as Easterby has Cal McNair’s ear, everything will be “fine” in a bad way. At some point, the Texans’ leadership needs to understand how bad things are, but I don’t think they do today. We have not hit the bunker scene.
I hope the EBITDA is worth it.