Houston – The darkest part of the offseason is upon us. With the free agency blitz complete, the draft in the books, and the unexpected completions of OTAs, we now sail into the “NFL dead zone”. This is where there is little actual NFL news or activity to focus on, as we must suffer through the dog days of summer before we can feast our eyes on training camp and the promise of real football. The impact this impending “dead zone” is having on team officials and fans is palatable.
“Thank [Easterby]!” noted one unnamed staffer. “Every time there is something like free agency, or the draft, or whatever, we just can’t help stepping in some sort of [Easterby]. Can you sit there and honestly tell me one thing, just ONE thing, that went right for this team since the start of this offseason? If we can just stay out of the headlines for the rest of the offseason, or really, the rest of 2021, that would be so awesome. You would have no idea!!! All the reminders of pain, the unfulfilled promise, the sheer idiocy of where this team ended up from where it could have been...should have been… just can’t stand the constant reminders. Ah well, at least I can turn on some college football and watch an actual good team play.”
“Who’s your team?” our intrepid reporter diligently followed up.
“Why, Alabama, of course!!! Roll Tide!!!”
“Oh, didn’t they get a new offensive coordinator?”
“I guess you’re right. Let me just check up on the na…”
[LOUD, PRIMODIAL SCREAM THAT SHATTERED GLASS, EARDRUMS, FIVE COMPUTERS AND A MURAL OF JACK EASTERBY LOOKING DOWN UPON HOUSTON ALA CHRIST THE REDEEMER]
As for the fans, well, it went about as well as you would expect:
“Did McEasterby sell the team yet? No, okay, well, wake me if/when they do;”
“You mean the Texans are still around? They are still planning to field an actual team that will play actual NFL games?”
“Hey, move out of the way, I’m trying to watch the ‘Stros game, ok?”
“Hey, move out of the way, I’m trying to watch the analysis of the EURO 2020 tournament, ok? (Which is being played in 2021, but they don’t have the money to replace all of the promotional material). [Go BELGIUM!!! Not that we at Totally Not Fake News have any rooting interest in that tournament or anything of the sort]
“Eh, I don’t know why everyone is so down on the Texans. I think they are just doing fine. Now, can you move out of the way, I am trying to watch the Rangers game, ok?”
When we spoke to team leadership, they admitted that they weren’t blind to what some people might think of the team, especially how the off-season may not have been what everyone expected. However, they continued to promote a certain sense of optimism.
“Look, every team handles things differently within their respective organizations. We understand that the fans, who really only have access to the media and the picture on the outside. However, the biggest difference is that we know what we have and we have a plan for attending true success.”
“Ok, you look at the AFC South and see what everyone is doing. Ok, so Indy reloaded with a new quarterback to go along with their defense and offensive line prowess. Plus, they have all of this cap space to make future moves. What will that get them?”
“The Titans traded for a big play wide-receiver, but think about the massive salary they had to take on with them needing to take on the full contract of an aging running back. Wait…what, they didn’t take on a running back? I thought that was an NFL requirement…or so the last GM we had told us. Huh? Who knew? Well, it’s not like they have a major running game to worry about? Oh, they still have Derrick Henry? Ok, but they still are under the Adams family.”
“Then there is Jacksonville. Ok, they just drafted the top quarterback prospect in the last ten years and also picked up on the top offensive weapons from a top program. So, what’s the big deal? A national-championship winning QB from Clemson? Why would they want to be Clemson South? Nothing good can come of that, I promise you.”
“So those teams all have those things that I guess the so-called “experts” say will work for them and make them competitive. Yet, they do not even know the meaning of the word “competition.” Look at us. We don’t just pay lip-service to the word competition, we live it. There are no pre-ordained “starters”! You have to earn it! All of our players, from the seven running backs, to the eleven linebackers (is it still eleven? Never sure what Caserio will flick out his talons and snag another LB or three?)…you have to earn it! No free lunches here! You gotta win, lock, stock and barrel!”
“That even applies to our fanbase. So some people have heard about our so-called season ticket sales “problems”. That is total bull[Easterby]. This is also part of our “competition.” We want the best in our players, and competition will sort the wheat from the chaff. So it is with our season-tickets plans. You see, we only accepted those with true faith. Not the “Christmas Eve” fans, who just show up when it is the “best” time to show up, or those who can only cheer when things are “good”.
So, there are reports from sites that the Texans aren’t favored to win a game this coming season. Setting aside the blasphemy of gambling, which none of us would ever stoop to do, that type of news is actually a blessing for us. Our church, er, team, is open to all who seek the word of the Holy Texans and his Messenger. Yet, to acquire the faith and enlightenment, you must be ready to compete. Fair-weather fans need not apply. You want that, you can go up North to Sodom and Gomorrah, er, the other Texas team. If you can weather all the challenges…that is the type of fan we want. The “culling” of the season ticket waiting lists and the “lowering” of demand…that is all part of our competition.”
“Say, speaking of which, I need to go. Have another interview with another news source. Much like we require our players and fans to compete, so must our news sources compete with one another. So, move along. Goodbye, goodbye.”
Just then, the unnamed official’s personal assistant walked in.
“Oh, [name redacted], a couple of things. Your media interviews for the next 3 days cancelled. Said something about “better things to do” and I just got a confirmation from Ceaser’s that they got your bet about how the team will do next season.”
“Oh, thank you very much” as the exec placed the betting ticket in his jacket pocket. “Ok, got things to do. Bye.”
With that, we move on, weathering another NFL Dead Zone, awaiting the end of the ride when we can get back to actual football...or, whatever we can expect from the Texans this season.