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BRB GroupThink: How Strong Is Your Heart?

The BRB staff discusses their Texans fandom in a POTENTIAL post-Deshaun Watson world.

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Because many have a hard time grasping the concept of context, I want to press upon you the extremely speculative nature of this here little blog entry on this here little Texans website.

I understand that, even after the Texans bumbled and dimwitted their way through the last few days, the chances of Deshaun Watson being traded are still barely greater than zero. I get it. BUT I think you have to also allow for the possibility that Watson’s level of frustration and anger is greater than it was before the head-spinning, derp-fest that was Nick Caserio’s introductory press conference. With the blatant buffoonery displayed in that presser, it is not a stretch to think that maybe the chances of Deshaun being traded went from .0002% to .0004%. So yes, I understand a trade is not likely to happen, but because the gross incompetence of this franchise has us sitting on our hands during the NFL Playoffs, despite having an elite QB - I am providing you with this little delight of (hopefully) speculative nonsense.

If the Texans do the unthinkable and trade Deshaun Watson, how does this affect your Texans fandom? I asked this of the BRB Masthead, and I invite you to answer in the comments below.

Chris:

I am not and have never been “fire everybody” guy or “I’m done with this team” guy. I was too late to the “Fire Kubiak” bandwagon, and I was wrong. I was too late to the “Fire O’Brien” bandwagon, and I was wrong. I think we all understand, in the majority of cases, that our physical proximity/birthplace/place of longtime residence determines our rooting interest in sports. With all I’ve been through with the Oilers and Texans, I still can’t say I would be done with this franchise, but I will say I’m certainly closer than I’ve ever been. I would need to know how I feel - and feel it for a while - were this potential nightmare to come true.

But yeah, considering I no longer wrap myself up too emotionally in sports, I could see myself successfully walking away...but it’s that built-up numbness that may actually serve me to stay with the team regardless of what happens.

I can put up with a lot, but this recent run of incompetence, starting with how the Texans handled the Duane Brown situation and including a lot of “off-field choices” I will not mention (Tim would give me a thrashing) has me legit close for the first time.

Matt Weston:

Here’s the thing: This is just another [kitten] brick stacked on top of the other {kitten] bricks. The Texans built this [kitten] wall of a franchise one [kitten] brick at a time. Their 2018 offseason, the Jadeveon Clowney trade, the Laremy Tunsil trade, the DeAndre Hopkins trade, the Brandin Cooks trade, and the Eric Murray and Randall Cobb signings...all were defecated and mashed together to waste Deshaun Watson’s rookie contract as they turned Bill O’Brien from crappy head coach to all-time terrible general manager. O’Brien brought Jack Easterby in. This whole mess stems from that. And right now, there’s no end in sight.

To deal with his, I’ve just been watching the entire league as a whole. Condensed games have already saved my football fandom. Since I have Josh Allen, Arthur Smith’s offense, my FOOTBALL TEAM’s defensive line, the Bucs’ high blitz defense, and Myles Garrett wide, bending, windmill edge rushes, I’ll survive. The Texans, with or without Deshaun Watson, will be the sun to my Sundays, but I’ve already moved past them being the singular point of how I watch the game of football.

BFmfD:

I think this is my nadir as a sports fan. Even when Beelzebud moved the Oilers to Methoptamia, it was mostly fine because everybody in Houston hated him anyway!

I watched some horrendous Astros baseball for years, but there were at least glimpses of hope even in the blurst (sic) of times.

This Texans team, though? Wow. The similarities to Jack Easterby being Kyle McNair’s Rasputin are just too much. It was bad enough that it was more important that our players were tough, smart, and dependable rather than being good. Now? It seems like the Texans have added a religious litmus test to be on the team. Just look at Rasputin’s retweets of Brandin Cooks before the latter was a Texan. Then all the stupidity about bricks and building walls and toxic positivity and just WTH is this front office thinking?

I turned 50 this year, so I really don’t have any interest in realigning myself with a different franchise. Like Big Matt, I get a ton of enjoyment from the macro NFL picture, not just the Texans.

The Bud Adams days passed. So too will these Great Stupid Times in Texans History (TM). I’ll be there when we eventually snap out of it, but I’ll be kittened if I ain’t going to root for this team to make necessary changes.

tehGrindcrusher:

It’s kinda hard to say for me as I have had a hard time following the Texans for several years, due to living in time zones that make following the NFL hard, due to the fact that I’m kinda souring on the NFL in general, and due to the fact that the Texans have been so inept for so long I’ve kind of just become numb to everything. They say that the opposite of love isn’t hate. Hate means that you still care, so indifference is really the opposite of love. I suppose I’m just gradually drifting towards indifference.

I get that it’s easy for fans to say that they could run/coach a team better than [insert name of coach/exec here]. For the most part, I tend to disagree with that line of thinking. These are (generally) professionals in a very competitive, very difficult field, no matter what the sport, and decisions that seem simple from a distance usually aren’t so in the heat of the moment. This is especially true when fans don’t have access to complete information, as is usually the case.

However...there are rare moments where it is pretty clear, even to the layperson, that ownership and management are truly incompetent. With the Texans, that moment is now. If the well-documented slew of truly heinous decisions weren’t enough, the Caserio hiring and the way the club has handled the Watson situation are clear examples of how the most basic lack of management capacity is lacking at the highest levels of the Texans organization.

The only question is whether or not this level of incompetence will have much of an impact on the Texans’ bottom line. Sadly, because NFL franchises are basically money-printing machines, I sincerely doubt it. The lack of accountability will continue.

And thus, the slow drift into indifference will also continue.

Jeremy:

To me, the franchise is Deshaun and J.J. Those two are the faces of the Texans. If both of them go, you have no franchise. Other than maybe Justin Reid, few players left on the roster have really made as strong of an impact with the city and community.

You also have to imagine how the rest of the team would react to trading Deshaun. The team LOVES him and probably shares his frustrations. The team will only consist of players who literally need to play for a paycheck. The front office’s reputation is ruined, even after the O’Brien firing.

Trading Deshaun taints the team and the fanbase. Without either of those things, you have no franchise.

Uprooted Texan:

I can put up with a lot. I HAVE put up with a lot, if the Texans botch the head coach hire, I’ll probably still slug it out like I did with BOB (gotta give him a fair shot after all).

Trading Deshaun Watson is my “do not cross” line. If they do that, especially if it becomes a choice between Deshaun and a pastor who pretends to know how to run a football franchise as a side hustle, and Cal chooses the hustler, that really will be the last straw for me.

Because it would be irrefutable proof that Cal McNair is not interested in owning a winning franchise, that he’s just warm weather Mike Brown, a failson that puts other failsons to shame.

I’m not saying I’ll never come back, but the Texans would have to do a lot to show me that they’ve turned over a new leaf before I’d consider it.

Still, I don’t think even Cal McNair is stupid enough to trade away the only franchise quarterback this team’s ever had, so I hope like hell this remains hypothetical.

l4blitzer:

To be a Houston fan is to expect disappointment and heartbreak. If a Houston pro team is faced with two options, expect that team to pick the option that will ultimately lead to the most disappointment. The Texans are no exception to this rule. However, the events of the past few days have been legendary for their head-scratching What-The-Ever-Living-[Kittenry], even by Houston standards. Okay, so they hired Caserio. Probably not a huge shock, given that we tried to get him before. However, everything associated with that move has just been one dumpster fire after another. What is going on, who is saying what to whom, who is actually making the decisions? I don’t think the franchise has ever seen this level of chaos. That all of this manages to apparently alienate the one good thing about the franchise (Deshaun Watson) does not help.

While it would not appear that the team will actually trade Watson, nothing is for certain in the NFL. Where the Texans are concerned, especially with the way the front office has acted since BO’B became the official GM, you best believe every option is on the table, including trading Watson. If he should go, especially under these circumstances, it would be perhaps the worst move by any pro team in Houston history. At least when the Oilers traded Warren Moon, the team could somewhat logically say that his best years were behind him. While Moon still played at a high level afterwards, you could sorta, for a minute, buy the argument. Trading Watson would be proof that the Texans, as they are run in the here and now, do not have the best interest of the fans in mind or of putting together a winning team.

I suspect that I would still back this team. However, my passion for this squad would be at an all-time low. There is so much going on in life, and much of it ain’t all that great. The idea of cheering for a team is that you look for hope, or a sense of escape and happiness. That would be in significantly short supply after a Watson trade (which would probably return a yield so pitiful the way this team does trades, we would be looking back on the Hopkins trade with fondness). How enthused could you be knowing that this team is making bad move after bad move, resulting in suck result after suck result, without any semblance of a long-term plan, save some executive front office douches (looking at you, Easterby) keeping their jobs? Could check in on the scores, but outside of that.

Hopefully, this is just all overreaction. The team can resolve the situation with Watson. Cal can take a hard look at what has happened. Easterby can update his resume and decide to go somewhere else or do something else. Ok, ok, it appears that Easterby ain’t leaving and Cal won’t care all that much until the team’s dollar value starts to drop significantly. I think they can work it out with Watson...they better. If not, the Texans are going to find themselves in a place that they never imagined: ignored and shunned by a truly football-mad city, a football-mad city in Texas at that. To do that would be a very “special” achievement indeed.

Mike Bullock:

I grew up rooting for the Raiders and gave up on them when the off-the-field nonsense overshadowed the on-field accomplishments (fitting that the NFL Netword is about to run an “Al Davis vs. The NFL” documentary). After the lawsuits, front office drama, head coach shafting, and all the other non-football nonsense, it was just too much to take with something that’s supposed to be entertainment.

Rooting for the Texans was like a breath of fresh air. Owner Bob McNair seemed to want to win. He was more concerned with getting Houston a championship than his Rolex collection. He brought in guys like Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith to try and make that happen. Sure ,Kubes and Uncle RIck weren’t the greatest ever, but they both tried.

Then Mr. McNair’s cheese started sliding, a la Al Davis. We got the “inmates running the prison” stupidity followed by the franchise left tackle leaving and it’s been all downhill ever since.

Rooting for a team with a guy like J.J. Watt is pretty awesome. When the same team goes out and drafts your favorite NCAA team’s All-Star quarterback, the awesome ratchets up several notches. The day Kenneth and I got to meet Deshaun and ask him questions, the spark of intelligence in his eyes, the passion he had for the local kids that came out in his tone and body language, and the fire inside him to win it all combined to prove we were chatting with one seriously special athlete.

For me, Deshaun Watson is #2 on my all-time favorite athlete list behind Bo Jackson. And Bo better keep looking over his shoulder...

The mess that began with Duane Brown was bad. Watching it ramp to another level with Jadeveon Clowney - another guy on my all-time favorite athletes list - was next level. Then waking up to find out the Texans had traded DeAndre Hopkins elicited all the Twilight Zone music a reeling sports fan’s mind could handle.

The fact Bill O’Brien and all his ilk were NOT fired 0.3 seconds after the 2019 playoff blowout to the Kansas City Chiefs told me everything I needed to know about Cal McNair. I’d wager big money we could do a bar crawl on any given Monday night during football season and find dozens of people better equipped to run the Houston Texans than Bob McNair’s son.

When the GM search started in earnest, Omar Khan was my pick - and apparently he was Korn Ferry’s as well. Then in came Nick Caserio, who should be a great GM in his own right; he just didn’t make sense here, which was simply another left turn in a series of clown car navigation moves by Cal McNair and Grima- err, Jack Easterby.

At this stage, my love of the Texans is all but gone. While I still love Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt, just as I can’t support a company that supports child slave labor (Nike!), I can’t support a team run by the likes of Cal McNair - a man accused of many things good people want nothing to do with.

Houston needs a football team they can be proud of at all times. The people of Houston, when they’re enduring everything 2020 has thrown at them and 2021 will throw at them, deserves to know their pro football team is a great representation of the hard working men and women of H-Town.

Cal McNair’s brand of NFL product is not.

Cal owes it to the fans to part ways with Jack Easterby.

Cal owes it to J.J. Watt to do whatever it takes to make the big man happy.

Cal owes it to Deshaun Watson to repair whatever damage he’s caused in his utterly tone-deaf “leadership” of the team.

If not, Cal owes it to the people of Houston to sell the Texans to an owner who will genuinely care about the team and bring this city what it deserves: a Lombardi Trophy hoisted aloft by Watson and Watt.

That’s just one fan’s opinion.

I think the vast majority of us would stick around were the Tradepocalypse to occur... but even sensible, reasonable, patient Texans fans have absolutely had it with this BS.

Where do you come out on this, dear reader? Again, I emphasize that this is a lot of speculation for something that has almost NO CHANCE of happening, so play with the hypothetical, or just leave it alone if it suits you.