Brothers and sisters! It is once more a great day to be a Houston Texan and one of the many faithful members of its flock. Because a day with football will always be better than a day without it. Without football, we would miss That Football Feeling the way we would miss air or water or tequila.
But what must it be like to feel the absence of That Football Feeling? It’s such a horrible thought that I would ordinarily not even entertain the notion. Then I happened across an article by one Rivers McCown, which is obviously a pseudonym since nobody goes by the name McCown unless they play backup quarterback in the NFL or used to at least.
After having #ReadThePiece, I spent several minutes thinking about what it would be like to not experience That Football Feeling, the hole I would have to feel that the Texans couldn’t fill. It was not a pleasant experience, friends, let me tell you. So instead of this week’s sermon, I thought we could dedicate this time to helping Mr. McCown, if that is your real name, in letting That Football Feeling into his heart by explaining some of the mighty works our team has developed in the last several months.
...what this team has done as an organization by being as broadly off-putting and demanding to everybody as they have is created a space where most ideas of them becoming good again barely have space to grow.
The team demands a lot because it expects a lot. It knows that the fans are capable of living up to the lofty expectations of Brother Jack and Mr. McNair. But if we reduce those demands upon the faithful, how will they know that they are capable of maximizing their potential as Texans fans? It is those expectations, those “demands” as he calls them, where our return to prominence will take root, to sprout and always twirling, twirling, twirling toward victory!
Here’s a good post idea I would run for a normal team: The offense is abysmal, so how do they fix it?
Who says our offense needs to be fixed? The offense is working in accordance with the principles of our faith and our culture. Whether the offense is effective or ineffective is immaterial, because it is aesthetically pleasing to a higher authority. We reject the premise of this first idea, but let’s continue.
Well, they fire Tim Kelly. OK, and what’s the plan from there? If you’re Joe Brady or any other qualified offensive mind, why would you take a job where you’ll — at best — be coaching some stopgap players and unproven players next to Brandin Cooks while the people ahead of you in the organizational chart are just waiting to pounce in and tell you that your No. 3 receiver needs to be Danny Amendola? Is that the best way to increase your future earnings and better your career?
There is more to this world than mere dollars and career advancement. Our current leader David Culley is proof of that. Being a coach is like being a teacher, it’s a calling one must heed. And because it’s a calling, you should be willing, nay, eager, to do it no matter how little the pay or prestige is. Joe Brady is a poor excuse for a coach because he keeps chasing big paydays and the next chance to climb the professional ladder. That is not what a coach should be. He should be happy at the opportunity to get the best out of his players, no matter how little talent they may or may not possess.
OK, well, fine, maybe you just fire David Culley and start over! Here’s the problem with that: Who is going to want a job where your two direct superiors are on the sideline and headset (respectively) monitoring your every move, where you have no direct roster control, and where you are almost certain to pile up losses in the near-term in front of 25,000 people in the stands?
Some might think of having the GM in the coach’s ear and the VP of Player Development on the sideline as, at best, helicopter managing and, at worst, micromanaging the team. What we do for the Texans is check in on our staff to make sure they have everything they need, including our helpful advice. Our front office is populated by men who have spent years watching one of the most effective coaches of all time win multiple Super Bowls and writing notes about how they can change and improve his winning formula. Who would pass up the opportunity to learn from such football men who are so excited to pass on That Football Feeling to others?
The people entrusted to run this organization’s day-to-day matters have spent the entirety of the season telling us variations of “you have a right to voice your opinion.” But it doesn’t really matter what the outside opinions are to them, and that’s something that’s been both codified in words and in a lack of actions taken to reassure people. Bring a Fire Easterby sign and you’ll get hassled by ushers. Have a radio personality or reporter ask a question about why this is not working and the answer is nothing beyond “we’re accountable for it.”
The Texans pride themselves on their civility. They expect their fans, the greatest, most faithful fans in the world, to behave in a way that we expect a Texan to behave. Bringing signs to a game is uncouth. And sports media people simply do not understand our real mission, so it is not worth wasting time pointing out the intricacies of our team and its highly effective culture.
So okay then, the answer is to go sign better players, right? But in a sport where careers are measured in years instead of decades, why would any marketable free agent come to play here and deal with the specter of Culture and getting deactivated for being late, something that apparently never happens anywhere else?
Because the best players want it more. They want to be on the field, serving their team, their fans, in whatever way they can. They have to want it badly to play here. That gives them a desperation and hunger that we crave with the Texans. Hungry players are happy players here, and happy players are infused with That Football Feeling.
It’s very obvious what the circumstances are: Nobody else in the NFL has a power structure where the vice president of football operations and general manager are as important as they are here.
Our uniqueness is our strength. We want to reinvent the wheel because the wheel is too simple a design and it takes a team of great intellect to rebuild something so simple into something so much greater. That is what our mission is, to make the simple great. Only that which is great will feel That Football Feeling.
There’s a lot of talk about the optimistic holdouts about the “narrative” of this team, and the narrative seems to be that because the Texans are getting rid of players and those players aren’t franchise-level stars, we should believe that it’s fine or a clear-out of Bill O’Brien Bad Players despite many of them becoming functional elsewhere.
But make no mistake, there is a narrative at play here. One where the unbelievers refuse to see the grand design of our plans, our culture, our football feelings. It is that lack of belief that is weakening the strength of the team and we—coaches, fans, players, some front office staff—all need to be purified in the light of our culture in order for it to succeed.
But that is their organizational ethos at this point. They simply can’t understand why what they are doing is off-putting, and nobody from the outside can fix that, no matter how hard they try. (Note that when the first Easterby article came out in Sports Illustrated, several of the sources told the reporters that they were trying to do this to get Cal McNair’s attention. It did not matter.)
It is only off-putting if you allow it to be. It means that the mindset one currently possesses is insufficient for understanding our great work here. It means the mindset is incorrect and needs to be readjusted to fully appreciate what the Texans have accomplished in just a few short months.
And that’s where I’m at right now: Relying on the general manager who was named general manager of the decade after he spent an entire season pushing dead cap into 2022 and whose most successful solo draft pick so far is probably Roy Lopez to just nail every pick.
And who’s to say he won’t? To be a Texans fan requires unwavering faith in our leadership, and that includes our new general manager, who was able to deftly push his dead cap issues to the future. As we all know, the future never actually arrives; it only becomes the present, so those dead cap issues will officially be a thing of the past because they won’t ever matter. That is the kind of genius we have working upstairs, folks. That is the kind of thought leader we have working for our team. If that doesn’t give you That Football Feeling, I don’t know what will.
So what I’m left with is helplessness. I can’t even pretend to write a post that would solve the problems this team has created for itself.
Then don’t pretend. Accept that all the team’s problems have either been solved or will soon be solved with the conclusion of this successful season. You cannot fight the so-called “problems” this team faces, so you should embrace them as you would an old friend. That is what That Football Feeling is to me; and I hope, Mr. McCown, this is how you experience That Football Feeling anew.
Here endeth the lesson.
Now let us go forth on Sunday and watch our beloved Texans fight those heretical birds from Seattle.
In the name of McNair the Father, McNair the Son, and the Holy Toro, we say Go Texans!