During the Texans game on Sunday afternoon, as the Texans were putting the finishing touches on a 9-7 bounce back and the Cleveland Browns were putting the finishing touches on constructing the only road block between the Texans and the playoffs, I got a text from my younger brother.
He asked me, quite simply: "So, do you still wish the Texans had drafted Johnny Manziel number one overall?"
I'm sure he expected me to admit some sort of misevaluation and some degree of relief that instead of drafting a flawed, immature quarterback, the Texans decided to
draft a linebacker who just had micro fracture surgery go in a different direction.
So without even a hint of hesitation, I text back "HELL YES! I would LOVE to have Manziel in Houston!"
My answer was not coming from a fan's perspective, but instead from a media member's perspective -- radio host, writer, someone responsible for four hours and thousands of words per day. Because undeniably, inarguably, regardless what you think of him as a quarterback, Johnny Manziel is good for business. The CONTENT business.
It's why he was the King of Content for 2013 in my corner of this news blog. So now we are back to count down 2014's content factories!
If you're expecting this list to line up perfectly with who made news locally or nationally, let me tell you right now -- it won't. It will mirror it to some degree, but this is basically the countdown of who I personally wrote the most about this past year. I choose to write about people or events because I find them funny or interesting, so the best way to look at this countdown (which will play out over the next four days), is to view it like this:
Pretend that the entire internet is voting on a King of Content for 2014, and we get to vote one through ten, like the baseball MVP. Well, this would be my personal ballot. If the internet actually did a voting like this, the democracy of the process would crown the ultimate winners. But this is what my constituency sees as compelling content. (The same way that healthcare for the elderly or good roads or casino gambling are more important to some voting factions than others.)
And the science of my countdown is very simple -- the ranking is sequenced in ascending order of the number of times someone (or something) was the core subject of a blog post written by me here on the Houston Press news blog. Easy, right?
So now (cue sultry "WWE Countdown" female voice) on with the countdown...
If there's a Texans player in the 2014 King of Content countdown that actually has a chance to move up in 2015, it's probably Andre Johnson. Coming off his least productive full season since early in his career (under 1,000 yards receiving), it will be a fascinating test case to see how the Texans handle his $16 million cap figure this offseason.
How they handle that number, which has to come down somehow, some way in 2015, will be a true indicator of a number of things -- Bill O'Brien's power in the organization, Bob McNair's willingness to let what's good for business override (or not override) sentimentality, Andre Johnson's internal tug of war between playing his whole career with one team and winning a ring, how they feel about the other high priced vets on the team.
The reason Andre was such a content machine for this space in 2014 was because of his seeming dissatisfaction with the direction of the organization and a reported desire to be treaded elsewhere, a request that wes never seemingly even entertained by Bob McNair and Bill O'Brien.
The malaise for Andre continued into the regular season all the way into early November when he was quoted during the bye week as wanting to "go to an island or something." The final week of the regular season was vintage Andre Johnson -- 10 catches, 134 yards, and the winning touchdown in a 23-17 win over the Jaguars.
If indeed that's the final salvo in a Texans uniform for this franchise's all-time icon (J.J. needs to do it for a few more years to win that title), it was an appropriate one, and if Andre Johnson finishes out and wins a title somewhere else, somewhere with a real quarterback and a true winning culture, somewhere where 9-7 is a cause for concern not a reason to celebrate, it will be fascinating to watch this city process his joy. Would it be shared, a la Ray Bourque in Boston when he finally won a Stanley Cup? Or would it be dismissed?
Team Content is rooting for a salary cap brawl between the Texans and Andre's camp this summer resulting in his signing with the Colts so he can try and go for 200 yards twice a season against his old team and help Andrew Luck (another Houstonian) win a Super Bowl.
Team Texan Fan is rooting for a happy ending, where Andre joyously walks off into the sunset with a couple more 10-6, divisional round ousters as a Houston Texan. Either way, expect Andre to be topical more than six times in 2015. Count on that.
ANDRE JOHNSON POSTS IN 2014: