Texans-Chargers: Jumping the Shark, Hearing Giraffes, Pining for Bill Cowher

I’ll get to the latest Texans debacle in just a minute, but first I’d like to reminisce about happier days gone by. For this, I have to travel all the way back to the mid-80’s (yes, it’s been a pretty miserable last two decades) when

The Cosby Show

was still in its heyday. Just bear with me. I promise I do have a point (sort of).

Anyway, the episode I want to talk about featured a cameo by the incomparable Stevie Wonder (who, unfortunately, was in the process of jumping the shark, much like The Cosby Show itself). Stevie invited the Cosby clan into his studio and asked each member to say something into the microphone of his Synclavier. Most people remember this moment for Theo Huxtable’s classic “Jammin’ on the one” line. But for whatever reason, my brain latched on to something else: Namely, Rudy’s giraffe noise and Denise’s “I don’t know what to say” soundbyte. Stranger still, somehow those two clips recorded on Stevie’s synthesizer forever became muddled in the dark recesses of my brain. To this day, whenever I hear or think the words, “I don’t know what to say,” a giraffe is the first thing that comes to mind.

Now flash forward about twenty years and recall—if you dare—Sunday’s Chargers-Texans tilt. Truly, this had to have been one of the all-time “giraffe” games I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. It had everything: All-world tight end Antonio Gates being left uncovered for the easiest 49 yard touchdown you’ll ever see. Matt Turk’s hilarious pseudo-attempt to recover a botched snap in the endzone. And how could we ever forget Gary Kubiak’s unfathomable decision to hand the ball to Ron “You can time my 40 with an hourglass” Dayne a whopping 17 times in the midst of a 28 point loss? There’s just one word for it: Giraffe.

Never in a million years did I anticipate that the Texans season would spiral into the same depressing abyss which housed the Astros 2007 campaign. Yet that’s exactly what has happened. Despite a two week glimmer of hope to start the year, it’s clear the Texans –like their Astros counterparts—have too many questions and not nearly enough answers. Once again (how many years is this now?), the playoffs seem light years away.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but I think it might be time to clean house once again. Keep in mind, I’m not usually one who approves of armchair quarterbacks with itchy trigger fingers. I understand you can’t simply eradicate a culture of losing overnight. But I believe there’s a person out there capable of rescuing this sinking ship. And maybe, just maybe, he’d actually consider lending a helping hand. At the very least, it’d be worth placing a call to gauge his interest. This mystery man’s name: Bill Cowher.

Do I think Cowher would take the job? Truthfully, I doubt it. I suspect there are other opportunities he’ll find much more attractive. But let’s not concern ourselves with that little obstacle right now. For the time being, let’s just look at what his arrival would mean. First and foremost, Cowher would give the Texans a real, honest-to-goodness identity for the first time in franchise history (besides being the NFL’s most craptastic team, I mean). His attitude and swagger would fill a void this club has had since its inception. The man knows how to win. And he knows how to surround himself with a quality coaching staff.

It’s that last point that may ultimately prove to be Gary Kubiak’s downfall. Defensive coordinator Richard Smith’s departure seems to be a matter of if, not when, at this point. Meanwhile, “underwhelming” is probably the first word that comes to mind when contemplating offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s work to date. These are Kubiak’s right hand men. He handpicked them. And they’re failing miserably.

Of course, Kubiak’s mistakes go far beyond his coaching staff. If he meets a premature end, chances are he brought about his own demise with his first two major personnel decisions: Keeping David Carr and drafting Mario Williams. And if Matt Schaub doesn’t pan out—and it’s worth noting that I actually think he will—then one could easily make a case that Kubiak inflicted more damage upon this franchise than even the vilified Charlie Casserly. How’s that for a sobering thought?

I don’t know about you, but I only have one reaction.

Giraffe.

Jason Friedman

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