“Winners never quit, quitters never win.”
That’s one of those inspirational quotes you might see on a poster with an eagle soaring through the sky or some other bit of visual motivation.
While it’s great for inspiring athletes, it’s completely useless when it comes to sports franchise owners.
Not only has Bob McNair’s son Cal proven the Houston Texans will never win it all under his watch, he’s really cemented the evidence against the family as a whole ever turning the franchise into champions.
While many believe Cal McNair is the true owner of the Houston Texans, his mom, Janice McNair is still on the books as the principal owner. Having co-founded the team with her late husband Bob, Janice has been in the owner’s seat for 2 decades.
During that span, the Texans have risen from expansion team, to 12-4 contenders back down to 4-12 pretenders. Now, her son has managed to turn them into the laughingstock of the entire sports world.
While there are a few exceptions, such as Las Vegas Raiders’ Al Davis and Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, who micro-managed their respective teams to six NFL titles, more often than not the owner’s best play is to hire very smart football people and let them run the organization while the owner sits back and bathes in the money they’re printing ala Scrooge McDuck.
In order to do this, business-savvy is a must. Bob McNair had enough to bring in men like Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips, Rick Smith and yes, even Bill O’Brien. Once the late owner passed away and Janice handed control of the team to her son, Cal, who seemingly has no qualifications to run a successful business, we watched as everything went off the rails.
All too often, when weak leadership takes control, the subordinate leaders will jockey for more power, sensing the person in charge isn't smart/strong/wise enough to stop them.
Enter Bill O’Brien and Jack Easterby.
When O’Brien was the coach, paired with former general manager Rick Smith, the team managed to tread water and sort of stay in the lane Kubiak and Smith drove them into under their watch.
Once the senior McNair passed and Cal took over, O’Brien and Easterby must have smelled blood in the water and went for the throat in a personal power grab.
Or, for more apples-to-apples comparison, check these out:
When you have the team’s first ever Ring of Honor player come out and throw shade on what’s happening within the organization, a sharp owner would have addressed it immediately and solved the issue.
If I’m @deshaunwatson I will stand my ground. The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can’t seem to see what’s going on. Pathetic!!!— Andre Johnson (@johnson80) January 12, 2021
While we don’t know for sure, it’s a pretty good bet that “someone” in Johnson’s tweet is Cal McNair.
So, here’s “someone’s” reply.
We have a long relationship with Andre, as you know, and I’d just say we feel his passion, he’s got a lot of passion for the Texans, for the game, and we share that.
Soon after, the storm of fan discontent triggered by Johnson’s comments and Deshaun Watson’s trade request led to a grass roots campaign of #FireEasterby, complete with a petition to have the former character coach turned Texans Czar of Everything Inside NRG removed from the franchise.
And, the #FireEasterby hashtag actually was the #1 trending tag on Twitter for several days after it launched.
Here's another juncture where a sharp, business savvy, talented leader would have made a wise move.
Did it seem strange to anyone else when Bill O'Brien got fired, but Jack Easterby didn't, considering they operated in lockstep?— Brandon Kyle Scott (@brandonkscott) January 9, 2021
I asked Texans CEO Cal McNair today why he's kept Easterby. I want to remind you that when you ask the questions, you don't get to pick the answers. pic.twitter.com/y9i1j3T0dR
After all this, it should come as no surprise, that even during one of the worst winter weather nightmares the state of Texas has ever seen, the #FireEasterby petition has been supplanted by one calling for the McNairs to sell the Houston Texans.
The NFL should force the McNair’s to sell the Houston Texans
The petition cites alleged workplaces abuses, gross mismanagement and other draconian business practices that we would expect on a TV drama, but never in the real world of the 21st century - especially in light of all the human rights violations we’ve seen in this country over the last decade.
If the NFL were a normal for-profit organization, like say, McDonalds, the UPS Store or Ace Hardware, you would expect with some real certainty that the ownership would step in and force a change in the franchise management.
Sadly, the odds the NFL steps in and forces anything are somewhere between slim and fugedaboutit. The “NFL” is essentially the group of 32 owners and the people they’ve hired to steward the golden goose/cash cow that is the “product” the league produces. Current commissioner Roger Goodell is just a guy clinging tenaciously to his multi-million dollar paycheck - and you can’t blame him for that, really.
Without a strong commissioner, like a Pete Rozelle or Paul Tagliabue, owners like Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft carry way more power than 1/32nd of the pie would merit.
It’s certainly not in Jones’ best interest for the state of Texas to have a better franchise in Houston. In fact, the longer Cal McNair digs into the pit under his self-immolating dumpster fire, the more the Cowboys look like a great alternative for Texas football fans.
Let that sink in for a moment. The guy whose team has been straight busted for cheating multiple times. The guy who got caught up in a sex trafficking scandal. The guy who seemingly rivals the Washington WFT’s Daniel Snyder as the exact opposite of a “stand up dude.”
Yeah, that guy holds more sway in the league than Cal McNair ever will.
So, watching the Texans crash & burn actually benefits some of the movers and shakers in NFL leadership circles.
But, as fans, we can all still dream, right?
Regardless of all this, those of us here at BRB hope you’re staying warm right now. Like Mattress Mack said recently, “tough times don’t last, tough Texans do.”
And, maybe that should give us hope as Cal McNair appears to be anything but a tough Texan...