This year, for the first time ever in human history, the Texans come into a season optimistic they finally will not be mediocre. (Note: "Human history" does not include the years between 2004 and 2009.)
It has been a (not too) long, (not really too) strange trip for Texans fans, as aging hippies would say. They've been through a lot.
Are you one of those long-suffering fans, or are you just a bandwagon-jumper who starts cheering when the team moves the needle from "Godawful" to "Average"?
Find out by taking this Texans quiz.
1. The Texans' first player — the person they picked in the expansion draft — was Tony Boselli. He never played a down for the team. Why?
a) He knew better
b) "With our first college-draft pick, the Houston Texans choose...a quarterback who will never get rid of the goddamn ball."
c) He said Steel Blue and Battle Red "just make my ass look big. I'm sorry."
d) He was too injured to play, as everyone except the Texans knew when they picked him.
2. David Carr was sacked an NFL-record 75 times in the team's first season. As a result:
a) He learned to get rid of the ball a little quicker...you would have thought.
b) The offensive line took an instant liking to him, even though he made them look like inept clowns.
c) Texans fans have only recently learned not to groan whenever the QB drops back.
d) He fumbled 21 times, but only lost seven of them.
3. In the first three rounds of the 2003 NFL Draft, the Texans picked Andre Johnson and...
a) Bennie Joppru, Tony Hollings, Antwan Peek, Seth Wand and Dave Ragone.
b) No, really — they did.
c) Honest to God.
d) Come on, if we were going to make something up, we'd come up with a worse bunch of — no, you're right.
4. Besides the Texans, what other name was considered for the team?
a) The Apollos, because it's so up to date.
b) The Medical Centers, because it's a Houston landmark. And because the team knew it planned to draft oft-injured players who'd wind up never playing a down.
c) The Enrons, because that company just symbolized Houston. Plus they offered a huge donation, based on projected earnings and some other number-y stuff.
d) The Fightin' Bosellis.
5. Team owner Bob McNair is famous for signing only "high character" guys. As a result...
a) The Texans haven't been to the playoffs after eight years.
b) The Texans players feel really bad that they haven't been to the playoffs after eight years.
c) The Texans players take it one day at a time and give 110 percent as they don't go to the playoffs.
d) All of the above.
6. When introducing the team's logo, McNair said the five points on the star stood for "pride, strength, independence, courage and boldness" and that "those five words can represent only one thing." What was that one thing?
a) Ummmm...a star?
b) A team that would forever draft very fragile players.
c) A very courageous and bold bull.
d) An expensive marketing study designed to appeal to Bob McNair's vanity.
7. Dom Capers and Gary Kubiak are the only two coaches the Texans have ever had. What do they have in common?
a) The world's worst haircuts.
b) If not the world's worst haircuts, some pretty damn bad ones.
c) An ability to overcome horrendous haircuts and lead a team to as much as two games over .500.
d) All of the above.
8. The (former) Oakland Raider QB JaMarcus Russell is universally perceived to be one of the biggest busts of all time. In 2008, the Texans needed to beat his pathetic team to have a shot at the playoffs. What happened?
a) Jesus Christ, come on — who actually could lose to a JaMarcus Russell-led team when the playoffs were on the line? The Texans killed.
b) JaMarcus Russell did show flashes of brilliance in his very short NFL career, so he made the game against the Texans close.
c) As hard as it may be to believe, the Texans actually lost to the 3-11 Raiders with the playoffs beckoning.
d) Nah, we couldn't come up with anything more farfetched than c.
9. In 2006, Texans offensive lineman Fred Weary was stopped by police and Tasered. Why?
a) Well, he was black and driving.
b) He had no front license plate and was "acting suspiciously."
c) It's hard to tell, since a judge quickly dropped all charges against him on account of they were incredibly lame.
d) All of the above.
10. What is the single worst decision in Houston Texans history?
a) Any draft pick by Charley Casserly except Andre Johnson.
b) Sage Rosenfels's plan to go airborne and fumble away the Colts' upset.
c) Fred Weary's decision to drive while black.
d) Scientists have determined it is impossible to pick "the single worst" decision, in a study entitled "Needles and Haystacks: What Happens When the Human Mind Is Overwhelmed by Limitless Choices."
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Answers: 1-d, 2-d, 3-a (will accept b, c or d), 4-a, 5-d, 6-c, 7-d, 8-c, 9-d, 10-d
1-3 correct answers: You, sir or madam, are no Texans fan. On the other hand, you haven't missed much.
4-7 correct answers: You occasionally follow the Texans. After each instance of doing so, you ask yourself why.
8-10 correct answers: There is little to say about your (and our) sad existence, except that at some point we should realize the Texans are just God's way of messing with us.