Monday, August 27, 2007
The Oilers Are Back -- Which Way To Tennessee?
Before I go any further, let me state this: Houston is a big sports town. Above all, Houston is a big football town. Texas is a football state. That's just how it is and will continue to be, no matter how much success other sports have had.
As a football city, the Houston Oilers were our team, no matter how dreadful they were. Though the Oilers had never won a Super Bowl, they came close a few times, as recently as 1993, when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. But we always had hope. Then, a few years later, hope got shot in the head.
In 1996, Oilers owner Bud Adams packed up and moved the team to Tennessee, breaking the collective hearts of the fourth-largest city in America. There was no way around it or any other way to put it: Bud Adams forever was known as the devil.
But you can forgive the devil one time, can't you?
Well, folks, I have. The Houston Texans franchise was born in 2002 and has been a less exciting version of the old laughable Oilers. They've shown (short) flashes of potential and given the Bayou City long visions of idiocricy, culminating in the heart-breaking pick of Mario Williams in the 2006 Draft over Houston native Vince Young and Heisman winner Reggie Bush.
As a true sports fan, there are certain rules that we must abide by. Two of those rules apply directly to me: 1. "You grew up in a city that didn't field a team for a specific sport -- so you picked a random team -- and then either a.) your city landed a team", and "The owner of your favorite team treated his fans so egregiously over the years that you couldn't take it anymore -- you would rather not follow them at all then support a franchise with this owner in charge.When it happens, you have two options: You can either renounce that team and pick someone else, or you can pretend they're dead, like you're a grieving widow." Well spoken. So....
I am officially denouncing the Houston Texans as my favorite football team and I'm adopting the Tennessee Titans as my favorite football franchise, through thick and thin, sickness and in health. Fuck the Texans, I'm through with them. I'm currently dancing with the devil in Tennessee for a number of reasons.
1. Too many idiotic moves -- Here's a quick rundown of one of the worst sports-related moves ever: Vince Young leads the University of Texas to a perfect season in 2005, capped off by a win in the Rose Bowl over defending champion USC in a game where Young (who was the nation's most accurate and efficient QB in '05) passes and throws for over 200 yards and scores the game-winning TD.
Reggie Bush wins the Heisman Trophy that same year and almost leads USC to their third straight national championship while looking amazingly breathtaking and comparing many to Gale Sayers, Barry Sanders, and O.J. Simpson.
The Houston Texans went 2-14 that season and had the number one pick in the 2006 Draft. They have an embattled quarterback in David Carr, who was a former number one pick in 2002 (Why?) and hasn't shown any signs of actually living up to that mantle. The team lacks in points scored and its rushing game is horrendous. They have the first pick, who do they take, the exciting Houston native quarterback with excellent passing skills, uncanny athletic ability, and an obvious knack for leadership and winning big; or the Heisman winning running back/wide receiver/monster who can do it all and has a winning pedigree almost unmatched? The answer, you take neither. (Why bother with tough decisions, right? You take Mario Williams, a workout-wonder defensive end who couldn't even make All-ACC at North Carolina State and didn't even start some games his senior year. What's that you say, Sam Bowie? I think I should change it to: I Ball For Real -- Ya'll dudes is Super Mario Williams. Then they extended David Carr. Double Ugh. Oh yeah, Carr is now a backup in Carolina.
Vince went on to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year,win eight games as a rookie starter, lead the Titans to within one game of the playoffs, and appear in the Pro Bowl; Bush went for over 1,300 all-purpose yards while helping the Saints to their first NFC South division title and to the NFC Championship Game. Beautiful, a big stomach punch all around.
2. By all intents and purposes, they're still the Houston Oilers. Jeff Fisher coached the team when they were still in Houston. Steve McNair played for both cities and would've retired a Titan until he was traded to Baltimore. They still wear light blue (Go Blue!!). They occasionally wear the old Oilers throwbacks. And Vince Young and cornerback Michael Griffin are Texas natives. Same thing, almost.
3. Because I've been secretly been rooting for the Titans/Oilers since they left town. Yeah, I said it. My grandmother still roots for the Titans heavily, though its only because they had two black quarterbacks (Vince, McNair). I've always rooted for McNair, too. He was a good dude, and he didn't allow himself to be categorized into the stereotypical black running quarterback net.
When the Titans made the Super Bowl in 1999 (which was like getting kicked in the nuts over and over again), I rooted for them against the Rams, who I thought were overrated and hated because everybody was jumping on their bandwagon. And of course, when Vince (who I went to high school with my freshman year and had cheered for every Saturday morning when he was at Texas) was drafted, I would stop everything I was doing to catch a Titans game. Shit, I was rooted harder than ever when he went against the idiotic Texans and "Super" Mario the three-sack man. So it's not unusual for me to root for them, just now it's permanent.
4. The Titans are better, plain and simple. Tennessee beat Houston last season, one featured a justified, classic ending in Houston. (see below)
As already mentioned, the Titans were one win away (they lost to New England in the last game of the season. Yet another reason I dislike the Pats) from making the playoffs with a rookie starting quarterback. LenDale White is no LaDanian Tomlinson, but he's better than any of the stiffs the Texans are employing as running backs. (Ahman Green? Wali Lundy?) Same goes for backup Chris "Run It" Brown. The Titans have a star quarterback, the Texans have Matt Schaubb. Schaubb is decent and all, but he's only started in 2 regular season games. At least he's better than David "Raggedy" Carr.
Both defenses suck, but at least the Titans have budding playmakers in Pacman Jones (once he comes back from suspension) and Griffin, Tennessee's first round pick. They also have former Pro Bowlers linebacker Keith Bullock and safety Chris Hope. We on our way.
So, Houston, I'm gone. The Texans suck. The Astros suck even worse. I could give two shits about soccer. Texas Southern, Rice, and the University of Houston all suck, especially TSU. All I have left is the Rockets and the Longhorns. See ya'll in late October.
I'll be in Tennessee, chilling with Vince Young and Derrick Rose.