A few years ago, my kids were visiting from Chicago in the summertime, and we decided to head up to Dallas, for two reasons:
1. Eat lunch at the new-to-Dallas-but-an-old-friend-to-my-digestive-tract In-N-Out Burger
2. Take a tour of the still-fairly-new Cowboys Stadium, a.k.a. "Jerry World"
After a delicious double-double and neopolitan shake, we went over to the stadium, and while waiting for the tour to start, the Cowboys' tour people had us hang out in the Cowboys' team store. (Amazing coincidence how they make a high spend area like that the "hang out" spot, huh?)
In browsing, I noticed that there were the usual cadre of full-priced jerseys: Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware...
And then there was a bin full of Marion Barber jerseys for like 75 percent off. And keep in mind, this was in July and Barber was still with the team!
It was at that point that I knew that a) Marion Barber was not long for the Cowboys (kind of like that moment in Goodfellas when the light goes on and Henry knows "Holy shit, they're gonna kill me if I go to Florida with Jimmy.") and b) you can tell a lot about what a team thinks about a player by how they price their gear.
Which brings me to the Houston Texans.
I will readily admit that I am a chronic "email deleter." Unless it's something from someone I know, or marked as urgent, or a Groupon for something interesting (I am notoriously cheap, too.), I just click "DELETE" and go on my way.
Before that Marion Barber fueled epiphany a few years back, I probably would have deleted an email entitled "Texans Store CLEARANCE Sale! Ends Monday! Take an EXTRA 20% Off ALL Sale Items."
But now, knowing that the sale could be the very tea leaves that allow me to climb inside the brains of Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak, I click!
And it just so happens that the Texans do have a clearance sale going on right now that does end on Monday and includes a 20 percent discount on selected items. Let's take a look at a few of the items that intrigue me the most, with my comments for each one preceded by "SP": Nike Connor Barwin Houston Texans Game Jersey - Navy Blue Regular Price: $99.95 Sale Price: $59.99 Extra 20% Off: $47.99 SP: No Marion Barber situation here. Connor Barwin is all the way out the door and he ain't never comin' back (except possibly in the off season for, like, an alternative rock festival or a Prius Expo or something), so you can get your memento of the Barwin Era for the low, low price of $47.99!
Houston Texans Light-Up Desktop Message Fan Regular Price: $54.95 Sale Price: $49.99 Extra 20% Off: $39.99 SP: So I guess this is a desk fan that has some sort of light up message embedded in the blades and it lights up when you turn the fan on, or something? Wow, and you mean to tell me that something so incredibly lame isn't jumping off the shelves? It would seem to me that this product serves only two purposes: 1. To keep you cool when it's hot, and 2. To convey some sort of message. It would also seem to me that there are other far more effective ways to accomplish both of these tasks.
Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals 2012 Playoff Game Program Regular Price: $9.95 Sale Price: $3.99 Extra 20% Off: $3.19 SP: Relive the magic of last season's postseason success with the game day program from the Texans big win over the Bengals! (By the way, this item is the closest we get in the clearance sale to straight up garage sale tactics. I'm guessing there are still stacks of these in a closet somewhere, and instead of throwing them out, someone said "Screw it, put them on the website for like $3.19 and let's see what we can get." It'll probably end up paying for the Christmas party or something.) Touch by Alyssa Milano Houston Texans Beaded Necklace with Metal Logo Pendant Regular Price: $29.95 Sale Price: $24.99 Extra 20% Off: $19.99 SP: There would be a much better chance of my purchasing this item if there were an actual picture of Alyssa Milano included.
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Houston Texans #80 Andre Johnson Player Bust Regular Price: $109.95 Sale Price: $79.99 Extra 20% Off: $63.99 SP: Uh oh, an Andre Johnson item on discount...could this be a Barber-style glimpse at the possibility that the Texans are looking at cutting their franchise's most decorated player loose? I'm guessing probably not. It's probably more a statement that plastic busts of people's faces containing a blank, lobotomized stare aren't very popular items at over $100.
Houston Texans #8 Matt Schaub Player Bust Regular Price: $109.95 Sale Price: $59.99 Extra 20% Off: $47.99 SP: I'm not sure if the Schaub plastic busts are discounted more heavily more than the Andre Johnson ones because it's Matt Schaub or because it looks like Ben Roethlisberger.
Reebok Matt Schaub Houston Texans Authentic Jersey - Navy Blue Regular Price: $225.95 Sale Price: $99.99 Extra 20% Off: $79.99 SP: This one is for all of you out there hoping that the Texans are pondering a change at quarterback. The only active player whose jersey is on clearance? Matt Schaub. Apparently, $225.95 wasn't exactly the correct pricing point for the jersey of a quarterback that everyone is ready to drive to the airport if the Texans don't win more than one playoff game next season.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.