Since it's Thanksgiving, here are a few things in the Houston sporting world for which I'm thankful.
Andre Johnson is without a doubt the greatest player in the history of the Houston Texans. He also has to go on the short list with Earl Campbell and Elvin Bethea as among the greatest players in Houston pro football history. And the way his career has been wasted should be the only reason needed for firing Gary Kubiak, who seems to think the best use of Johnson is as a decoy for the likes of Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter.
Johnson is nearing 900 career receptions and over 12,200 receiving yards. He should be the first Texan elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the one strike against his name is the lack of touchdowns -- only 77 for his career, five of which are the result of Case Keenum discovering that Johnson can catch just about anything thrown in his general direction. The way that Johnson's been mistreated by bad coaching, noodle-armed quarterbacks and a piss-poor turf is criminal. But he's finally started standing up to the idiots, and when given the chance this season to show just how great he is, he hasn't disappointed. Now if there was just a team worthy of his talents in this city for him to play for.
NO MORE HOUSTON COUGARS GAMES AT BBVA COMPASS STADIUM
BBVA Compass might be okay for soccer, but it's an awful football facility. There's the whole crappy media access issue, which has those of us in the media tucked away in a small, cramped booth at the end zone, unable to see most of the field and not able to make out yard lines or yard markers -- either they can't be seen because they're blocked by players, or they're not in existence because the crappy turf's been torn apart.
Fans who sit in the lower bowl of the stadium are unable to see most of the action -- I heard from some fans that they requested their seats for last Saturday's Cincinnati game be moved to the upper bowl because they were unable to see the Memphis game from their more expensive lower bowl seats. And then there's the condition of the field, which was unplayable for both games that UH played there this season.
BAD KARMA ATTACKS LES ALEXANDER
Les Alexander drove the Houston Aeros out of Toyota Center and Houston with his unreasonable rent demands for the use of Toyota Center. Since that time, he's torn out many of the non-NBA locker rooms so that building's virtually only usable for the Rockets and concerts, which is kind of strange since this taxpayer-funded facility was supposed to be used for NBA, WNBA, college basketball, hockey, ice shows and concerts.
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Yet Alexander is still unable to get his Rockets on television since he's in partnership with CSN Houston, and CSN Houston, now being guided by Astros owner Jim Crane, is unable to reach carriage deals with Direct TV, Dish Network, U-verse, Suddenlink and on and on and on. And Alexander can no longer play the innocent victim card, not if the lawsuit filed last week by Crane can be believed, because in that suit, it's revealed that Alexander ignored the advice of Comcast in setting the rates in which the network would be sold to distributors, despite being told the rates were too high and that no one would agree to that price. The only thing left is for Crane to bring Alexander into the lawsuit.
WINNING COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAMS
It can be depressing when the two major college football teams in the city are bad. That was the case, more or less, last season when Houston's season fell apart and they went 5-7. Rice finished 7-6 after going to a bowl game, but the Owls had to come back from a 1-5 start to the season to make that happen. It gets depressing sitting in the press box watching teams that can't tackle, can't pass and can't kick.
Things are different this season. Rice is 8-3 and still in contention for the C-USA Championship and a semi-decent bowl game. The Owls haven't really defeated any decent schools, and they still have a puzzling tendency to self-destruct in games. But there have been games this season they've looked like a fully functioning, legitimate college football team. The Cougars got off to a 5-0 start, and though they've lost three straight games and are now 7-4 on the season, none of the losses have been by more than a touchdown. The team's young, and it's on the way to a bowl game this season, which is a huge improvement from last year.