Turkeys of the Year

The 2006 Collectors Edition

Sports Turkey of the Year: David Carr

By the fifth year of their existence in the modern days of NFL parity, most expansion teams have made the playoffs. The Texans haven't come close.

Chad Crowe
Jeff Skilling: When the Keith Moon of Enron goes down, he goes down partying.
Chad Crowe
Jeff Skilling: When the Keith Moon of Enron goes down, he goes down partying.

We choose not to rehash the entire sordid history for fear of inducing that little piece of bile in the back of the throat that tends to come up when you're discussing Charley Casserly. We instead focus on one man: David Carr.

Carr has been blamed, both fairly and unfairly, for much of the Texans' awfulness. He holds on to the ball too long and gets sacked, he telegraphs passes, he's not a clubhouse leader, etc., etc.

A change in coaches was supposed to herald a new day. There is some evidence that Carr is improving, but we'd be willing to bet it's not going to last and, until the Texans bite the bullet and get rid of him, they ain't going anywhere.

Carr is our Sports Turkey not because of who he is -- he's an upright guy who'll answer questions after a tough loss and he hasn't had any scandals in his time here. (If anything, he's too boring and strait-laced, which might not help in an NFL clubhouse.) Rather he's our Turkey because of all he has put us through.

You only have to search the archives of the Houston Chronicle to see what we're talking about. Back in the misty days of ancient Texans history, Carr was a god bestowed on Houston by a benevolent Providence. The Chron, in its coverage of the Texans' first training camp, had a daily feature called "Carr Watch" which would focus on the QB.

Remember those days? Here's a sampling:

July 26 -- "Highlight: Displaying his mobility by getting outside the pocket and throwing a laser to Alvin Black, who hauled it in for a touchdown. Memo: Carr is much more mobile and athletic than advertised.

"Lowlight: We'll take a rain check."

July 24 -- "Highlight: Threw a ball about 40 or 50 yards in the air and landed it in the waiting arms of Jermaine Lewis...It offered a glimpse of what can happen when Carr's arm meets Lewis's speed.

"Lowlight: The final horn. Carr was so sharp Tuesday, the worst thing that happened was practice ending."

July 28 -- "Highlight: Pick a play, just about any play. Carr continues to amaze sideline observers with his ability to throw into tight spaces. If he plays the way he practices, the Texans have a very special player on their hands."

August 15 -- "Highlight: Every day, Carr seems to make a throw more spectacular that the spectacular throw of the previous day...

"Lowlight: Having to answer questions about the [Sports Illustrated] cover jinx after appearing on the cover of the magazine this week."

You get the idea. Compare that to post-game quotes from Carr in the last year or so: "We kept shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties and [mishandled] snaps. That's elementary stuff. My brother's high school team isn't that bad."

Or "I don't think there were other ways to lose, but then we played Tennessee."

Or "I'd never thought in a million years we'd play like that. That was unbelievable."

Or "It was a tough way to lose a game two weeks in a row. You could write a book about it."

Or "It's frustrating because you get tired of losing. You can't let it get to you, though."

Again, you get the idea. Somewhere along the line Carr went from being a future Hall of Famer to being the go-to guy for quotes on losing.

Maybe new head coach Gary Kubiak is the answer. Or maybe the Texans are just doomed to ineptitude, interspersed with brief periods of false hope. All we know is that it ain't no fun rooting for them, and David Carr's a big part of that.

Turkey Landlord of the Year: Weingarten Realty

For years, Houston's Weingarten Realty has been developing commercial real estate without making waves. With deep roots in the community -- hey, Andy Fastow's wife is a Weingarten! -- they've been solid citizens, quietly and steadily making their big bucks.

Until 2006, when they went batshit.

Word began to leak out earlier this year that the Landmark River Oaks Theatre, the much-loved home for indie films and overpriced tickets, was in danger. Then came rumors that the Alabama Theater, now home to a Bookstop, was also at risk of being demolished.

What happened? Had some outside firm come in from New York or L.A. and decided to thrash its way through what little exists of Houston's history? No, it was the Weingarten family, heeding the call to keep those stockholders happy.

Drew Alexander, CEO of the company (and grandson of the founder), has been tight-lipped about things, but he did confirm to the Houston Chronicle that change might be coming.

"If people want to raise money and continue operating [the River Oaks] as an upscale dinner theater, with cocktails, then great. If people love to go to the Landmark River Oaks and it does well -- great. Or if the building can be converted to doing something that performs well, that's great, too."

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