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Totally Not Fake News: The Critical Node

What is most valuable and vulnerable to the Texans?

The Main Battle Staff Position at NORAD

HOUSTON, TX – Another week, another game. The Texans went out and played a game, this time at home. After that game was over, they immediately began planning for their next game, which is not in Houston.

However, when looking at the 2021 variant of the Houston Texans, there are concerns about the direction of the team and what the organization values most. After an opening week win, the Texans now see their losing streak up to 7. They sport the worst point differential in franchise history to this point in the season (-122), even worse than the expansion 2002 version. Taking out the first 6 quarters of the season, the team has been outscored 58-206. As confirmed by our query with some smarty-pants mathematical professor at Rice University, those are not good numbers.

The fallout from the on-field performance is appearing to impact some of the Texans’ financial prospects. The most recent game saw plenty of Texans fans get into the holiday spirit, attending the games in costume. Among the most popular:

  • Empty seats
  • The Invisible Man/Woman/Non-Binary Humanoid Entity
  • Cloaked Klingon Birds of Prey
  • Harvey the Rabbit
  • The Earth’s Atmosphere

No word on whether or not the team handed out their special holiday costume award.

Yet, even with all of these issues, there are many analysts who think the Texans are quite content with the way that things are playing out.

“It does appear that the Texans are maximizing their efforts to secure and strengthen the most critical parts of their organization, aka the critical node” observed Air Force strategic planner Colonel Fawn Turgidson. “As you know, a critical node is ‘An element, position, or command and control entity whose disruption or destruction immediately degrades the ability of a force to command, control, or effectively conduct combat operations. Also called target critical damage point.’ Can apply to an adversary’s nuclear command and control system or a NFL Team’s operations.”

From there, Col Fawn Turgidson went on a long explanation about the doctrinal background of critical nodal analysis, the methodology of targeting and desired effects on critical nodes, long remanences of the stories his granddaddy “Buck” told him about various War Room fights, etc. When our intrepid reporter finally came too after an unexpected standing nap, Fawn immediately linked his vast…very vast doctrinal acumen to the current situation.

On The Set Of ‘Dr. Strangelove’
“Granddaddy Buck”

“Well, you look across the NFL, and you can determine what the ‘critical node’ for any franchise is. For some, like the Green Bay Packers, the critical node for their team is long-time franchise QB Aaron Rodgers. Given all the trades and moves the team is making in order to placate a talented, but disgruntled superstar, you can see that so goes Aaron Rodgers, so goes the team.” [Editor’s Note: That is especially relevant given recent revelations.]

“Then you take a team like the Dallas Cowboys. While they too have a quarterback that is critical to on-field success in the form of Dak Prescott, that is not the critical node for the franchise per se. It is not even the owner, Jerry Jones, though he is important to the execution of the franchise. The critical node for the Cowboys is their financial value/name recognition. That can be a bit more nebulous to define and/or impact. Still, that is the most important thing to them, and so long as they continue to be at the top of the prime TV markets/advertising dollars/draw in the fanbases, they will do what they can.”

“Well then” noted our reporter, “what of the Texans?”

Replied Turgidson “Oh, for the Texans? That’s easy. You only have to look to the actions of the past year and a half or so to figure on what, or who, the critical node for that organization is?”

When our reporter seemed puzzled, Col Turgidson sighed: “Come on. You know this. Don’t tell me there is something in the water here too? Well, ok, you are probably just practicing some sort of ‘journalistic integrity’ or something like that. Anyway, look to the key player on the team.”

Our reporter gave a quizzical look “Deshaun Watson?”

“No. I misspoke. I meant the most critical person over the past year and half or so. None other than the Executive Vice President of Football Operations. THAT is the critical node for the Texans” proclaimed the Colonel.

Critical Node

“An Executive Vice President of Football Operations? How do you figure that?” asked our reporter.

Col Turgidson replied:

“Let’s look at the evidence. While it might seem strange that an Executive Vice President of Football Operations (EVPFO) fits the bill of a critical node, but see what has happened, especially over the past year or so:

1) The former pastor manages to work his way into the personnel department of the team, perhaps one of the most consequential areas of a football franchise (need players to play). Thus, he is in on the personnel decisions. Yet, he was not the primary. It was as if he managed to have it both ways. Taking credit for the success, but shielded from the blame, which was taken full force by the former HC/GM.

2) He is very, very close to the CEO, who will have the final say on so many matters, from the future GM to what happens with contacts/etc.

3) The team emphasizes “culture” and the mindset/actions of players on the team. It is not so much on-field prowess, but how they fit into the vision of the good, moral player. All in line with the philosophy of a pastor, no?

4) The previous regime had players/personnel not beholden to the EVPFO, thus, to secure the EVPFO’s position, they were purged. In particular, the Texans, to reduce the threat to the EVPFO, removed or forced the removal of players that held greater power/status than the EVPFO. Think DeAndre Hopkins, JJ Watt, Randall Cobb, Whitney Mercilus, Mark Ingram... Thus, you are left with a small amount of rookies and/or veterans that could not play on any other team. Totally dependency on the EVPFO and significant threat reductions.

5) The non-Texans football press has caused the EVPFO considerable stress. Thus, the team has limited the EVPFO exposure to press threats. Concurrently, the recent struggles of the team are driving away threats, thus fortifying the stature and ego of the EVPFO.

Thus, any and all actions of the Texans to this point, with few exceptions, are falling in line with the team’s objective of protecting its most critical node.”

“What of the losses of the team, to say nothing of the financial hits?”

“Probably should be an area of concern, but I don’t run the Texans. Some other dude does, and while he is in charge, the critical node will remain the EVPFO.”

Will this continue to be the critical node for the Texans? Stay tuned. We at Totally Not Fake News will as we continue our mission to cover all of the news that is fit to print, and even if it is not, we’ll publish it along anyway.