Ben Tate and Owen Daniels are upset the fans booed the Texans on Sunday. The offensive players didn't like that they had to go to a silent count on offense because of crowd anger. The fans should always be quiet and supportive, others say.
Some of the thinking is that Texans fans are stupid. That you aren't as smart as fans in other cities that are more intelligent when it comes to football. That you fans just don't understand how you're harming the team and hurting their feelings with your loud, vocal expressions of disgust.
Here's a little message for the players: Who cares what you think about the fans? You guys aren't paying ridiculous prices to see a team that's on an eight-game losing streak. You guys don't deal with the league's idiotic security policies week after week. You guys don't sit in the too-small seats and stand in the endless line for the toilets, then return to your seats just in time for Matt Schaub to trot out and guarantee the loss. You guys make it through that, then you can dictate fan behavior.
Athletes in Houston have it easy. Most of the crowds are easygoing and are more than willing to follow the dictates of the scoreboard. The fans are usually polite, more concerned with getting the timing of The Wave right than they are with responding angrily to what's happening on the field.
So the fans booed on Sunday. So home fans aren't supposed to boo the team. So what? Do you know what the fans booing the team really means: It means that they still give a damn. And with the season that the Texans are having, the fans still giving a damn is really rather a miracle.
The players should be thrilled that the fans still care enough to boo. That means fans are still showing up for the games. That they still care about what happens in the game. The next step, and one the players should dread, is indifference. Then there'll be no booing. There'll also be no applause. It'll be plenty quiet when the team's on offense, but it'll also be deathly quiet when the team's on defense and the opposition won't have to worry about using silent counts. Or maybe Owen Daniels and Ben Tate will get to experience a different type of fandom next season. Maybe these free agents to be will get to play for a team like the Eagles where the fandom can be pretty rabid and will treat any player who whines about the fans with contempt and derision.
I've never quite understood this whole "fans can't boo their team" thing. Why the hell not? Fans pay a lot of money to attend these games. And if they have the right to cheer loudly when things go right, or express anger when a call goes the wrong way, then why can't they express their disgust at their own team's bad play?
And don't give me that stupid "they're trying hard and deserve support" excuse. The players are being paid to try hard. This isn't Little League. The fans aren't paying to watch them try. The fans are paying to watch them win games, and if week after week after week after week the team's going to fail to run a competent offense or defense in the second half of a game, then it's well within the rights of those paying hard-earned dollars for tickets to express their disgust, and to express it loudly. So what if the Texans can't execute the offense; they weren't executing the damn thing anyway.
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And damn it, if Andre Johnson's allowed to go off on his teammates during a game, then why can't the fans? When did the players become such whiny, sensitive human beings that they can't withstand their own fans expressing their disappointment?
This is not the season that anyone expected. While I never really bought into the hype of the Texans being a Super Bowl team, I did think they'd make the playoffs, and I never thought they'd go on an eight-game losing streak. I definitely never expected a return to Dom Capers-era football.
So the fans are upset and the players are upset that the fans are upset. What the players should be worrying about is executing the offense and beating the Jaguars. This whole whining thing instead just looks as if the Texans are just setting up their excuse for when they lose their ninth straight game.
But maybe the Texans are right. Maybe Texans fans are stupid. After all, you folks keep forking out big bucks to see these guys lose, don't you? So show them how smart you are -- don't hurt their feelings by booing, just stop showing up and spending money.