Bob McNair, owner and founder of the Houston Texans, died on November 23, 2018. In the wake of his passing, son Cal McNair took over as acting owner of the team, even though Bob’s widow, Janice McNair, is the true owner.
Since then, Cal has presided over one of the worst meltdowns in professional sports history. His decision-making has been a case study in self-immolation fueled by what appears to be a combination of tone-deaf leadership and apathy.
At its core, the NFL is part of the entertainment industry, and that entertainment for the local population rises and falls with a team’s fortunes. Unfortunately, for the rest of The NFL world, having an opponent to defeat provides that entertainment value. The NFL’s revenue-sharing model is based on that notion, where each of the 32 teams gets their share of the overall pie simply by existing, win or lose.
According to Forbes Magazine, the Houston Texans were worth $3.7 billion at the start of the 2021 current season. That number is only expected to increase.
With this revenue stream secure, Cal McNair has no motivation whatsoever to do anything to improve the team’s on-field product. If they string together a dozen four-win seasons, the NFL’s golden goose will still lay eggs for McNair.
Unfortunately for McNair, the current NFL regime is also sensitive to optics. Right now, the franchise is not making the rest of the league look good, except by losing to the other teams.
Cal’s decision-making is routinely mocked in the local and national media. In fact, aside from the ‘toxic positivity’ spin coming from the “journalists” who are on the Texans’ payroll (and the few who work for independent entities but see their lives enriched by not biting the hand that feeds them), it seems no one has anything truly positive to say about this organization anymore. Especially former players who have “escaped”.
Not unlike Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder, Cal McNair is making the league look bad. While Snyder’s alleged predatory behavior is well documented, Cal’s leadership seems more akin to the Tommy Boy #failson model team employees have allegedly painted him to be behind closed doors. Not malicious like Snyder, but lazy and slothful.
Giving any sort of authority over global decisions to Jack Easterby simply makes it worse with every new story coming out of NRG Park. Not firing Easterby when former head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien was removed was compounding an error on top of repeated mistakes. Trying to spin the story that Easterby has no say in decision-making that affects the on field aspects has been refuted by actions that speak louder than words.
Example: Bringing Josh McCown in for a second head coaching interview.
Sadly, the true fan base of the Houston Texans is powerless to affect change in our beloved team. Vacant tailgating lots that used to be overflowing with passionate fans, hordes of empty seats on game day, bottoming out merchandise sales, and other markers are clear indicators that Cal and his crew have alienated the fan base.
With no signs of change on the horizon, the only thing left is to hope all these mind-bogglingly bad decisions acted out at Cal’s direction are a set-up to make the team look good on paper for a buyer’s accountants during due diligence. To that end, here are some entities and individuals that could actually buy the Houston Texans and strive to turn this team into a winner.
The Manning Family Buys the Texans.
It’s been widely reported that Archie, Eli, and Peyton Manning are actively seeking a seat at the NFL owners’ table, with the family most frequently linked to the Denver Broncos. With the sort of money, influence, and savvy the Manning family has, it’s just a matter of time before they own a franchise.
While Peyton won a Super Bowl with Denver, his family hails from the south, and Houston is much closer to home than the Mile High City. The Broncos are one spot ahead of the Texans on the Forbes list, coming in with a $3.75 billion valuation, but the Houston market provides a much more lucrative local economy to tap into with the right business plan.
Mark Cuban Buys the Texans.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has seen his name linked to NFL purchases in the past. While Cuban has been very outspoken against the NFL’s increasing level of outright greed, he’s certainly smart enough to pounce on the opportunity to make himself billions of dollars more before the rising avarice reaches a tipping point.
Cuban is already based in Dallas, a short private plane jaunt from Hobby Airport. He understands how to run a sports franchise, how to appeal to a fan base, how to take charge, and how to make sound business decisions.
You can bet Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, would push back at his tooth and nail in NFL circles, since Jerry is one of the leaders of the NFL current cash grab. Still, there are enough owners who would prefer Jones not remain unchallenged that having Cuban at the table might be viewed as a welcome addition in a sort of ‘winning over the opposition’ sort of way.
Larry Ellison Buys the Texans.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ellison, you might also not have knowledge of his company, Oracle Corporation, which he co-founded. The avid sports fan, with a net worth exceeding $106 billion dollars, has been in conversations about buying a sports franchise in the past. He’s attempted to purchase three NBA teams over the years and might find himself swayed to purchase a football team in the third largest city in the US.
Jeff Bezos Buys the Texans.
If there’s one thing the founder of Amazon knows how to do, it’s give customers what they want. He’s been previously linked to purchases of the Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Washington Whatevers.
If Bezos thought about buying the Lions, who have been rebuilding since 1957, the Texans should seem far more appealing. With a net worth of over $200 billion, Bezos buying the Texans is like one of us going out for a steak dinner.
While none of these scenarios are currently in the works, any of them would offer hope for the Texans’ fan base. Clearly Cal McNair has no interest in what fans think, feel, or want. There are plenty of other things Cal is actually interested in that he could buy with his cash from a Texans sale, like Skillz, Playtech, Razor, or any of the other lucrative video game companies worth less than $3.7 billion.