In her 1969 book Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross describes in detail the five stages of dealing with grief and tragedy. Simply put, the human progression is to exhibit feelings of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (likely in that order).
Now, before you go thinking that I am some well-read, Ivy League wanna-be, just know that my first exposure to the Kubler-Ross theory was in an episode of The Simpsons where Homer discovers a morsel of poisonous blowfish he ate at a Japanese buffet might send him to an early grave. Homer amazingly goes through all five stages in about 11 seconds (or for Texans fans, about the same amount of time it will take Chris Johnson to execute his first 75-yard touchdown in a couple weeks).
Yesterday, the Texans' 2010 season died. It died unceremoniously and abruptly, cold and lifeless in the arms of a Jacksonville wide receiver named Mike Thomas (which apparently is the English translation for "Seyi Ajirotutu").
The Homer-esque speed with which Texans fans raced through their Kubler-Ross five stages of grief after the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-24 miracle win over the Texans speaks volumes about the urgency that Bob McNair needs to exhibit in fixing this thing, because when you have a perpetually mediocre football team that fans are neither angry nor depressed about, it means they've settled into apathy, which in the end is the true death of a football franchise.
And make no mistake, most Texans fans I know raced through denial ("Holy shit, that didn't just happen?") and anger ("Gus Johnson, please, please, stop it!!") before Jacksonville had even lined up for the moot extra point. Before Gary Kubiak could take the podium after the game to finally put the blame on one of his players (Translation: Film study is going to suck this week if your name is "Glover Quin."), bargaining and depression were also in the rear view mirror.
Nothing left to do but accept it.
Unfortunately, for Gary Kubiak, Frank Bush, and about 90 percent of the roster on defense, acceptance won't happen for Texans fans until those guys are all gone. Finished. Every last one of them.
Stop me if you've heard this story before -- the Texans play one crappy half of football, come out in the second half looking like the 1999 Rams, only to find some new and exciting way to mutilate themselves in the last two minutes of the game. It's 2009 all over again. The difference is that last season it was Chris Brown, and then Kris Brown, followed by Kris Brown again, before a halfback pass (ironically in Jacksonville) by Chris Brown did in the Texans.
This time it was Glover Quin (whose birth certificate may or may not actually say "Criss Brown"). His 13 solo tackles yesterday speak more to tackling out of necessity with the front seven taking another bye week, and it was in fact the one tackle Quin missed on tight end Zach Miller that sprung Miller (the second tight end named "Zach Miller" to tear the ass out of the Texans' defense this season, by the way) for the go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter that was more indicative of how Quin's day was about to go.
And if you're like the rest of us who have taken up residence in Texans Creek on the side street connecting Depression Avenue and Acceptance Lane, you've seen yesterday's ending. Yes, Glover Quin should have batted the ball straight down...or caught it...or pulled out a gun and shot it...pretty much anything other than spiking it into the waiting arms of Mike Thomas, this week's winner of the sick game of American Idol the Texans' secondary is hosting this season, where the previously anonymous get their 15 minutes of fame.
Ironically, the Joel Dreessen fumble on third down with eight seconds to go in regulation, the start of the Texans' death spiral on Sunday, saved Kubiak from the scrutiny of what was sure to be a tragically hilarious Chinese fire drill with what would have been half of his roster scrambling on or off the field to attempt to line up for a winning field goal. (They had no chance of getting lined up, by the way. Zero.)
The only positive that would have come out of that for Kubiak is it would have made everyone forget the end of the first half, when the Texans decided to throw two short passes in a hurry-up offense with 38 seconds left and yet not use any of their three remaining timeouts (a sequence that ended with Matt Schaub standing in the shotgun formation and reacting to the end of the half like a Price is Right contestant hearing the buzzer that the clock ran out on his pricing game).
To be clear, getting caught up in Dreessen's securing the ball or what Quin should have done on the final play misses the predictability of the bigger picture. The Texans under Kubiak each season are a book with the same ending -- 8-8 or 9-7 or some other record just good enough to keep Gary Kubiak around and just bad enough to make sure all of us have no plans on Sundays in January.
If we know how the book is going to end, why do the stories in each individual chapter matter? The answer is that they don't. Yesterday's loss was just a necessary step, albeit a painful one for about six seconds, to the inevitable conclusion -- mediocrity in a sea of unaccountability.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Seriously, what are we doing, Mr. McNair? Because you do know that eventually the chapters in the book matter so little that we won't even pick up your book anymore. Why would we? We already know the ending, and it's not even all that exciting.
It's boring and insulting. It's a rip off. And acceptance turns into apathy.
Rest in peace.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.