Long Snaps with Bryan Pittman: Talking Titans and Missing the Peach Pit
Houston Texans’ long-snapper Bryan Pittman returns for more thoughts on life both on and off the gridiron. This week, while going one-on-one with Ballz columnist Jason Friedman, Pittman talks about the upcoming grudge match with the Titans and his affinity for the gang from 90210.
JCF: From an outsider’s perspective, it feels like this week’s showdown with the Titans is the most important game of the season. It’s a chance to get rid of the awful taste in your mouth from the Jacksonville game and get back above .500. And you might have heard there’s still a fair amount of talk centered around what some dude named Vince did the last time he was here.
BP: We definitely realize it’s probably the biggest game of the season. I mean, you could essentially say that every week, but this one’s real big. Coach Kubiak alluded to that today in the team meeting; about how big this game was and how much better this team is than the team we played last week. So everyone realizes how important this game is going to be for us this weekend.
JCF: So coach thinks the Titans are even better than Jacksonville?
JCF: What do you think?
BP: Well, across the board, they’ve got one of the better defensive lines, at least in our division. And obviously their quarterback is pretty good. Their running backs are good. You know, they just line up to be a better team from position to position. That’s my opinion on it.
JCF: So is everyone just assuming Vince is going to play?
BP: Yeah. We’re just going to assume that he’s gonna play. I mean, even if he weren’t, you wouldn’t really practice or prepare any differently, other than maybe some defensive schemes that might be predicated on keeping him in the pocket or contain him better. But other than that, you pretty much prepare the same for whoever’s going to be the QB.
JCF: I know the only thing that truly matters is getting a win, but don’t you sort of want him to play?
BP: Yeah, I mean you definitely want to beat them when they’re at their best. Plus, the guys who were part of our team last year kinda want to get him back and get some revenge for what he did to us last year.
JCF: So is there a feeling in the locker room that you guys have to reclaim Reliant Stadium after what happened last year?
BP: Yeah, I don’t think it’s really a feeling that’s talked about. I think it’s just a common feeling that every guy has on his mind.
JCF: I think most fans had a sense of impending doom when the Titans had the ball in overtime. I just remember sitting there absolutely certain that something horrible was about to happen. Did you have a similar feeling?
BP: I don’t think any person on our team was worried about something bad happening. It was more of a shock to us that it did happen to us when it did.
JCF: What was going through your mind the second you saw him take off and realized how much wide open space he had in front of him?
BP: I was just hoping someone was going to tackle him before he got to the endzone.
JCF: And then when you saw him stroll in?
BP: I was just pissed off that that’s how we lost the game; because we can’t contain him, he runs the ball for 39 yards and it makes us look bad and makes him look like the hometown hero, I guess you could say.
JCF: Was that the lowest point of your career?
BP: No, I don’t think it was the lowest point, but it’s up there. I mean, having him come into our stadium as a rookie; you know all the talk and build up about how we should have drafted him or drafted Reggie instead of Mario and then for him to go and do that, to come into our stadium and beat us like that…
JCF: Speaking of Mario, does he show any signs that this game means a little something extra to him?
BP: No, I think he takes same approach he does for every other game. He might have something internal that’s building a fire to be more competitive, but it’s not something that he’s elaborating on with us vocally, as teammates. But I’m sure deep inside his own mind, he’s definitely preparing a little bit extra for this.
JCF: How did you feel about all the people – in your home stadium-- cheering for Vince and the Titans?
BP: There’s not much you can do about it. I mean, if they love Vince, they’re gonna love Vince and they’re gonna cheer for him regardless of what happens. But yeah, it hurts a little bit to have that many fans rooting for the opposing team. I don’t know if that’s the leftovers from the old Oilers or just people that truly don’t like the Texans and they want someone to cheer for who’s gonna salt the wounds a little bit more than another team or player.
JCF: Did you have a sense after the game that –with the way it ended—it was going to be the final nail in the David Carr coffin? That there was just no way he could ever get back in the good graces of Houston fans after something like that?
BP: I think a lot of the fans, that was their perspective on it after that game, but players and coaches and people in the organization didn’t automatically conclude that was going to end his career as a Texan. I mean, we still had to finish out the year, but yeah, it definitely contributed to David’s demise as our quarterback here.
JCF: Okay, this flashback is getting way too depressing; let’s talk about some much more enjoyable memories. One of our readers wants to know if you’re a Rudy guy or a Brian’s Song guy.
BP: Well, I own Rudy and I think it’s one of the all-time greatest football movies ever made, so I have to go with that one.
JCF: What about Friday Night Lights the TV version? I hear people raving about it all the time.
BP: I like to watch the first season of a show, but then they just start to drag on and they add too much nonsense to them. So I watched the first season of Friday Night Lights and then lost interest this year. And usually that’s how it goes. The only shows that I continue to watch are the CSIs and that’s about it.
JCF: You know, all the talk last week about Kathy Ireland got me thinking: I bet you were a 90210 guy growing up, weren’t you? Tell me I’m wrong. Please.
BP: (laughs) Yeah, I was. Yep, that was the show.
JCF: Oh man, I think this might be the last Long Snaps segment for awhile. All right, so who were your favorite characters? Just --for the love of God-- tell me it wasn’t Tori Spelling.
BP: No, it wasn’t Tori Spelling, it was Jennie Garth. I can’t remember her name on the show, but I definitely liked her. I guess I’d have to go with Luke Perry, too. But I liked him because he was Mr. Joe Cool and got all the ladies. I mean, I think he pretty much ran through the entire cast there of 90210, so that was kinda cool.
JCF: Did you grow sideburns to express your love for the show?
BP: No, I could barely grow armpit hair, let alone sideburns.
JCF: Fair enough. So I guess this means you watched Melrose Place too, huh?
BP: Yeah, I would. Josie Bissett actually went to my high school, so I kinda had a little semi-crush on her.
JCF: Well, she was pretty cute, so I can’t really find fault with you there. All right, let’s wrap this baby up. Biggest game of the year this week; how does it go down?
BP: We definitely need to get back to .500 and this would be a huge, huge victory for us, both emotionally and in the standings. So I’m gonna say the Texans are going to defeat Tennessee 27-17.
JCF: Wow. My gosh. You know that means you guys are gonna have to score some touchdowns then, right?
BP: Yep, we’re gonna have to score a few of them.
JCF: Well, I hope you’re right. I have to admit, I’m a little worried about this one after watching the last few weeks and, of course, having seen how things transpired the last time you faced these guys. But I hope you’re right.
BP: Me too. I hope it’s like what Jacksonville did to us last week. Maybe we can surprise people and beat them by ten-plus points. That would feel pretty good.
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