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TOTALLY NOT FAKE NEWS: OTAs are Over but the Action Goes Forward

The “Competition” Ethos Goes Far Deeper Than Previously Thought

New England v Houston Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

HOUSTON – For our intrepid reporters, this past week proved a particular challenge. In what should have been a spirited week of team activities with the mandatory mini-camp, where all 89…er, wait, all 90 players showed up to learn about the new system, each other, and possibly figuring out where they would fit into the radical new schemes. We might have even seen some clarity on the situation with the quarterbacks on the team. Yet, we didn’t get any of that.

“Look, it’s freakin’ hot right now” lamented coach David Culley. “Look, I am coming from Baltimore, which can get rough in the summer, but it isn’t like down here in Texas. By 10 o’clock, that heat is really hurtin’, which is probably not helped by those breakfast nachos I keep coming across, but that’s beside the point. Way too hot to get any productive work out there. I swear my playsheets are warped from all the back sweat and the ink is running all over the place. Besides, most of our players are veterans, so they should know what they are doing. The OTAs may look nice, but whoever won a Super Bowl ‘cause they won their OTAs? None that I can recall in my experience. I know this team has had some issues with that in the past. So, with the heat and all of that other stuff, I figured, eh, see you August.”

“Uh, what about the heat in August? You know that it gets really stupid hot then, right?”

“I figure by then I’ll be conditioned to it…or conditioned to hating it and moving on anyway” retorted Culley.

While most seemed happy about the decision to cancel the OTAs, that does not mean that the work doesn’t stop. In fact, one of our reporters just happened to be at the team facilities in the early morning when he came across one particularly hard working member of the Texans organization.

“Well, you have to get in early to try to beat the heat around here, that is for sure” huffed Toro, in the middle of what seemed some very complex and exhausting dance moves. “Look, I have been part of this organization for nearly 20 years. Can’t rest on your laurels…especially with this group.”

Did you really think a once-in-a-century pandemic was going to stop this beast of a bull?
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

While we are Totally Not Fake News can appreciate the dedication and desire to perform for what should be far larger crowds at NRG (at least where COVID-19 restrictions are concerned), we had the sense that there was more to the story.

After some initial denials and moo-ing salads, Toro then let out a loud, resigned snort “Alright, you want the truth? Ok, here it is. For the first time, perhaps since the creation of this team, my job is not as secure as it should be. Look, I am probably the only constant for this organization, especially after the bull[Easterby] season we have last season. Been here year-in, year-out. I could’ve dogged it, but nope, I don’t roll that way. Got too much pride, being the lead steer here and all.

“Unfortunately, you know that whole ‘competition’ mantra the new guys are going on about? All those new bulls/oxen they kept bringing in? Well, apparently, it does not stop with front-office people. Got word through the stockyards that the front office is looking to shake up the ENTIRE roster, which apparently includes….MASCOTS!!!” Toro bellowed this last word so loud, we immediately dove for cover, not sure if we planned to gore us.

“Just last week, received word that the team reached out via LinkedIn to a bunch of characters. Don’t know if there any other bulls on the list, but I heard all these strange rumors, about holy warriors, speedy bi-pedal lizards that may or may not have feathers, and some other guys who lost their jobs for whatever reason. I wish I knew what the [Easterby] is going on with my team. I mean, they are like my herd, at times, even closer than my cow and calves.”

“Treating me like this??? Well, I guess there are few ways I could handle this. Tempting as it is to bull-rush the front office, and go all Pamplona on those numb[Easterbys] in the front office, that doesn’t bode well for long-term employment. Not a lot of options right now for blue bulls in this job market. I guess I could just go home and wallow in my own misery, but a sedentary bull sitting in the pasture is just not my thing. Ultimately, I figure the best thing I can do is show those cow-patty-for-brains front office execs that I am the real Brahma/Longhorn Bull Master in this here organization. Now if you’ll excuse, I have to get back to work.”

We wanted to ask some follow-ups, but we nearly suffered a concussion when Toro’s massive blue flank slammed into our crew while he was in the midst of some sort of combination dance of the Gangnam Style-meets-The-Whip/Nae-Nae.

When we at Totally Not Fake News reached out to the front office, they did not have much to say on the matter, saying that “We continue to appreciate the diligence of Toro as he embraces the divine mission of the Texans to achieve the divine glory of competition and service to our overall master, praise be to the McEasterby. We look forward to seeing what the Blue Baal, er, Blue Filet Minion…oh, well, you know who the [Easterby] we are talking about!”

However, some off-the-record sources confirmed that yes, indeed, the Texans did plan to bring in some new mascots. “Yes, the Texans did bring in some new candidates. However, there was quite the delta between what the brass hoped for, and what we actually got.”

Maybe Toro will be safe after all...

On that optimistic note, we will leave you to once again face the void that is the NFL Dead Zone, but before we go, let us offer a departing soundtracks for this article: