HOUSTON – In Houston, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation. After a long wait and slog through a rough patch, with few moments of happiness and joy, it is finally time. “[Easterby] yeah!!!! Been waiting all fall and part of winter for this!!!! The real season is kickin’ off, and I can’t wait for it to get started!!!” observed one fan decked out in a Houston Texans Young jersey. “Finally, we get to the good part of the Texans’ schedule. The off-season, baby!!! That’s where ALL the action happens!”
With the final gun from the 32-31 result in Indianapolis, the Texans move on from the 2022 regular season, and the off-season activities, from personnel decisions to free agency to the Draft, take center stage. “Finally, some actual [Easterby] excitement around here!” noted another unnamed fan in a #10 jersey with the name crossed out in the back. “Couldn’t really take that much more of inaccurate passes and run defenses that would struggle to contain a flag football rushing attack. Glad to get to the ‘real’ Texans’ time of year!”
To commence the long-awaited off-season, the Texans wasted no time in ramping up the excitement. Within hours of the end of the season, the Texans fired Lovie Smith, making him the second straight Texans coach to last all of one season as the head man. While there was the usual litany of boiler-plate PR statements from the Texans leadership about “new direction” “change in philosophy” and “whatever other combination of words you require to hit ‘buzzword bingo’”, unnamed sources noted there was more to the story.
“So, apparently, [Head] Coach Lovie [Smith] went to Cal’s office earlier this week to try to make the case for staying on for at least one more season. Apparently, Lovie pointed out that he only took the job to help the team out, but he didn’t want his final head coaching run to end like [former Head Coach David] Culley’s. ‘Cal, I’ve taken a team with a certified dumpster fire of a player at QB to a Super Bowl. Can you at least let me have the dignity of one more year? Give me two years…it’s make me look better, and it will help you avoid dealing with the bad PR look for firing coaches after one year.’
Well, apparently Cal considered this a minute. Actually looked up from his Foreman Grill while cooking crumbling Salmon. Well, he could see some logic in Smith’s words. The team was playing better in the final stretches of the season, especially against better competition, and they were in prime position to embarrass the Colts, which is never a bad thing. However, Cal was all ‘Lovie, look, I get all of that, but here is the thing. I have to give the fans what they want. The fans want excitement and drama, and since that isn’t coming from the field, I need to give it to them in the off-season.’
‘That is where we get the most likes, the most social media mentions. That is the publicity, figuring out the next white knight…er, next real heroic coaching figure, not some third tier substitute coaching figure…and with the #1 pick that we are going to secure with our usual loss at Indy, we will be set for a great off-season of entertainment. [Easterby], that might actually get people to buy season tickets for once. Could actually get some Texans’ fans back in the stands. Now, you be a good head coach, put together the type of performance you did for Fan Appreciation Day, and it will all go well, ‘kay?’
“Wait…third tier…white knight???”
“Just get back out there and get that #1 pick for me, will ya?”
So, the Coach leaves the meeting, but I could see the corners of his lips tighten…always a sign that Lovie ain’t happy at all. I think there was a thought he would just start Jeff Driskel and bring back Kyle Allen, but after that meeting, he was all ‘nope, give me Davis Mills.’ Then the game in Indy starts, and apparently, Indy is trying to tank, and the Texans are playing like they actually want to win. How else can you explain how the end of that Indy game went? The Colts allowing Davis Mills to look like Aaron Rodgers, and Jordan Akins being all Gronk-like?
Oh, were Cal and [General Manager] Nick [Caserio] mad!!! Cal was swearing up a storm, saying how Lovie betrayed him, and Nick was all morose, crying about a lost opportunity. Cal was about ready to fire everybody, but Nick talked him down. Lovie was a goner, but we all felt that Lovie knew this. When Cal called to tell Lovie that he was fired, the ringtone on the phone seemed a little…interesting.”
When we at Totally Not Fake News caught up with now former Head Coach Lovie Smith, he seemed in a reflective, serene mood. “I guess I can understand how Cal came to the conclusion to fire me. The team didn’t seem to improve much from the previous year, actually finishing a half-game worse. I thought that there was progress, and we didn’t lose by too many blowouts, unlike last year, when we had margins of defeat at 40 and 31. Whatever. I’m still getting his money, er, my money. Working on some post-coaching ideas. Apparently, Chicago is trying to coordinate with me to announce their draft pick later this year, or so I am hearing. In the meantime, about to head over to Dave’s [Culley] place. About to have a ‘Blow Cal’s Money Bash and Film Festival.’ Should be a good party.”
Follow-up queries with Cal about the firing of Lovie Smith went unanswered. The most our reporters received from any of the Texans’ employees was “they were engaged in leveraging all available options, and looking to find the best and brightest to lead this team to better on-field success.” However, we later overhead a conversation between two staffers who noted “Wow, the Texans are actually looking to interview competent, real-live people who could actually make really effective coaches.” And “Imagine, Nick Caserio not actually trying to be all Belichickian and outsmarting himself for once.”
Most seemed optimistic in the Texans’ offices. However, just as many Texans staffers are betting that the team will inevitably hire Josh McCown. Come what may, the Texans turn the page on the regular season, but it is apparent that the real games are only just beginning.