HOUSTON - Autumn in Houston in the 2020s usually follows a pattern. The temperature drops, people get ready for the holidays, and a few months free of sports-related stress, as the Astros end their normal playoff runs and use the off-season to get ready for the next season. Yet, this autumn, there is something different in the air. For the Houston sports calendar, usually dark, it is now alight with a lot of action.
“Holy [KITTEN]!!! I used to think that there was only the Astros in Houston. But now...there is so much more there!!! There’s soccer...competitive soccer! There’s pro basketball, which I didn’t think we still had! Then apparently, we have an honest-to-[DURGA] NFL team!!!!” Noted one Houstonian.
“Hey, that’s right!!! There is an actual NFL team in this city!!” Noted an elementary school pupil. “I mean, I remember my Daddy talking about how he used to cheer for some team called the Houston Texans, but I think that was before I was born, or before I knew anything. But now, I see him watching some team with a steer logo on the helmet. I’m like, ‘Daddy, what is that?’ And he replies ‘Son, that is the Houston football team.’ I...I...never knew. Blew my little mind. Talked to all my buddies at school, and they were all the same way. The NFL...in HOUSTON!?!?!?!?”
Yes, it would appear that the city of Houston is waking up to the fact that the Houston Texans exist. Most people we talked to in the Galleria were a bit startled that Houston had a team. They were even more shocked when notified that the Texans had been playing in Houston since 2002, and that they hadn’t moved before the pandemic.
Most admitted that, when pressed, they had some vague memories of a team, and some of the older respondents could recall a time when the Texans were in an actual playoff game. Upon receipt of that news, our Totally Not Fake News offices were inundated with calls of “Fake News”!” “Blasphemy!!!” and “You’ve been approved for a 50% discount on your extended warranty...”, and it took several series of fact checkers across the political spectrum to actually say that Houston has had a team in the city.
“I guess we are not shocked by this level of institutional amnesia.” Noted some smarty-pants looking guy. “Particularly when you look at the recent arc of the Texans. Had a solid run in the 2010s, logging six division titles and four playoff wins. However, after that blown lead in Kansas City...well, it brought up some major trauma for the Houston football fan. One big blown playoff lead is enough to hurt the psyche, as evidenced by the January 1993 failings of the Houston Oilers. Yet, two, within the lifetimes of many a fan...that is too much for most normal minds, hence, trauma-endured amnesia.”
“Throw in a pandemic and a team that just got worse, and you can see how the Texans vanished in plain sight. Not that some people didn’t try to keep up with the team, but, clearly, for the greater good, the city just forgot.”
“Of course, now with the team on its best run in five years, armed with new leadership and some exciting players, that can change the dynamic. Houston is part of the most football-mad state in the Union, and thus, it is only natural for folks turning back to the Texans without paralyzing fear of failure. That, I think, is a great thing for the city and the state.”
Many echoed the positive statements about the team. Indeed, a lot of positive ink and bytes were expended talking about the Texans’ starting quarterback, CJ Stroud, who is on pace for one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history. His comeback win over the contending Cincinnati Bengals was his fifth win in the last seven starts. For the first time in years, people were 1) actually writing about the Texans and 2) not saying the Texans suck.
“Good to have that guy. Putting money in my pockets and feed on the table” beamed Toro during a post-game interview. “Ain’t seen someone ball like that since...well, there was that one guy...but then it didn’t work. Something about massages...well, anyway, nice to have a guy who can actually play QB.”
Yet, for all of the good that Stroud is inspiring, there are some folks not terribly thrilled with this decision and the adulation.
“One must watch out for the false idols, less they take the place of what is true and good in the world. Already, the sin of idolatry is out there. We must fight the demons of ego and vanity.” Noted some religious zealot. He tried to go on, but after paying him for the pizza and promising to look at his latest endeavor, the man went about his way.
“People don’t know how dangerous the Texans are to health.” Observed a doctor from MD Anderson. “Look, at one point, we drafted a warning advising people not to listen or watch the Texans while operating heavy machinery. Anything that could induce that level of drowsiness could see a spike in accidents.”
“However, this Texans’ excitement has major side effects. Perhaps morale and spirits are lifted, but have you seen how these games have gone down? The last five games for this team...all coming down to the two-minute warning, with four ending on walk-off scores and another coming to a last second goal-line stand. Do you know what that does to a person? Especially when you go from zero to max heart rate, with no warm-up or proper conditioning?”
“My [DURGA], our heart surgeons are begging us to try to get the games blacked out. The number of heart attack cases they are seeing...You think ADHD drugs are in short supply right now? Brother, you ain’t seen nothing yet! The Texans keep this up and you are going to have a nightmare shortage of blood pressure reduction/heart health medication...and we haven’t even gotten to the holidays and the playoffs...oh [DURGA], the playoffs!!!!”
The interview abruptly ended when the doctor passed out in shock at what the future might hold. While that might be quite the not-so-unrealistic fantasy at this point, we at Totally Not Fake News will not count our heart medicine prescriptions before they are filled. Especially if the Texans’ trend of dramatic finishes continues, we will need all the medical staff we can get, and can’t afford to lose any to fainting spells and secondary injuries due to fainting. Until the next game, keep happy, remember that Houston actually has a NFL team, and do try to go easy on the stress levels, or at least, as much as the Texans will allow.