The 6-7 Houston Texans are playing the 6-7 Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, with the winner primed to make the playoffs.
The quarterback will be T.J. Yates, picked up several weeks ago off the proverbial scrapheap. The backup is Brandon Weeden, who was cast aside by the Cowboys several weeks ago because of overwhelming incompetence.
Yet Texans owner Bob McNair told the Houston Chronicle that all is well because the Texans are in contention for the playoffs. Sure, his team has never had a franchise quarterback, and sure, McNair has now decided that the team needs a franchise quarterback, but that doesn't matter because the rest of the AFC South is so damn bad that the Texans can finish 7-9 and still go to the playoffs.
“In the past few years, we’ve used most of our high picks on the defense,” McNair told Chronicle columnist Brian T. Smith. “It’s time that we went ahead and beefed up our offense.”
Most fans would consider it strange, though, that the men responsible for assembling this team would get another chance to do what they have so often failed to do — get a quarterback. Smith and O’Brien are the geniuses who assured fans that Ryan Mallett was the answer, and that Brian Hoyer was the answer, and that Tom Savage would be the answer if he was ever healthy. These are the guys who have continuously failed to have contingencies for Arian Foster’s inevitable season-ending injuries. They’re the ones who didn’t want to draft Derek Carr because they thought the fans were idiots who would confuse him with his brother David Carr.
But there's no need for Rick Smith or Bill O'Brien to worry about their jobs, because McNair's happy and he's not going to make any changes. So what if Smith has missed on just about every draft pick he's ever made? Or that O'Brien was the one who desperately wanted Ryan Mallett and that those two, just two years ago, passed on Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr in the draft so as to take Jadeveon Clowney, another in a very long line of Texans draft busts.
Bob McNair has heard your concerns, and he doesn’t give a damn. None of that matters. None of those failures bother him. The team just got embarrassed by the New England Patriots in prime time, again. So what? It doesn’t matter. A losing record? Yawn. He doesn’t care.
“Frankly, I’m not concerned with what the record is,” McNair said. “I’m concerned about winning the division. That’s what counts – whatever it takes to get there.”
Well, whatever it takes as long as it doesn’t involve hiring competent people to run the team. And whatever it takes, as long as actually winning games is a secondary component. Think about it. How many teams with a losing record have ever won a Super Bowl? How many teams with a losing record have ever made a Super Bowl? The answer to both questions is zero.
That’s why, at the core, the Texans are the epitome of mediocrity. The team’s not about winning games. The team’s not about getting to the Super Bowl. The Texans are all about being just good enough. Not good enough to win. Not good enough to be champions, just plain good enough to maintain the status quo.
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“The question is whether in your view they’re doing a good job,” McNair said. “And if they’re doing a good job and doing everything that’s within their power – sometimes things are beyond their power. And if so, I can’t hold them accountable for things they can’t control. So I take that into account. I think Bill and Rick get along and the way we’re organized is good. We’ve actually done fairly well.”
That quote is about being good enough. It’s about putting out just enough effort to scam the fans out of money so that they keep watching games and buying merchandise. Winning games, winning championships? That has nothing to do with anything. O’Brien and Smith are blameless because they have nothing to be blamed for. They’re making McNair millions of dollars a year and as long as that cash is flowing in, there’s no need to change anything.
The Texans are just like Blue Bell. Bob McNair has somehow convinced the people that his product, no matter how crappy, is worth buying. So what if someone dies? It costs too much money to properly clean out the machinery. Just keep on chugging along with an inferior product until someone forces the change. And until people stop buying J.J. Watt jerseys and selling out the stadium every game, then there’s going to be nothing to force McNair to clean up his crappy product and field a superior team.
So complain all that you want about Rick Smith's incompetence or about Bill O'Brien being continuously out-coached. They're not the problem. The problem is the guy who employs them. McNair has proven time and time again that as long as he owns this team, the product is never going to be anything other than mediocre. It seems McNair just doesn't care, not so long as the suckers are still out there buying his product.