Ladies and gentlemen, I've been to Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and I can say without hyperbole that this is a million times worse than all of them put together."
-- Kent Brockman, Channel 6, Springfield (The Simpsons)
If you are wondering what "this" was in that quote, it was the Bart Simpson-led mutiny of Kamp Krusty by a bunch of 10-year-olds. Why was this rebellion considered so unsavory and appalling by award-winning newscaster Kent Brockman? Because it was going on right NOW, right in front of him. So it had to be the most important event in the history of man, right?
I'm not sure what it says when the local coverage leading up to tonight's Texans versus Titans game over at Reliant Stadium reminds me of a quote from an animated newscaster in an episode that took place waaaayy back in 1992, but I feel like I'm being led to believe by many of my peers that what I'm about to see in several hours on Monday Night Football is going to change my life forever.
You see, tonight's game between the Texans and the Titans, depending on who you listen to, is being billed as anything from the tried and true "biggest game in franchise history" to the positively Brockman-esque "battle of epic proportions", the latter one I heard this morning from Marc Vandermeer on 610, and I like Mark, but...wow. Epic? 5-4 vs 3-6? Okay.
(DISCLAIMER: I don't know that I've addressed this in my small piece of blog real estate, but just know that in the sports-talk host world, everyone listens to everyone else in this town. It's called scouting the competition. So the fact that I switched over to Marc during John and Lance's show should not be seen as the beginning of my own mutiny at Kamp KGOW. In fact, John Harris and I get text messages during our show from a couple of on-air personalities at another station when they listen. Who, you may ask? Can't say, it's part of the code.)
So we can put this in perspective, ask yourself if any of these matchups from this past weekend strike you as "battles of epic proportions":
Miami (5-4) vs Carolina (4-5)
San Francisco (4-5) vs Green Bay (5-4)
Buffalo (3-6) vs Jacksonville (5-4)
(The correct answer is NO.)
All of these games involved teams with the same or better records than the Texans and Titans combined. What makes the Texans game so "epic"? Well, the fact that it's going on ten minutes away, I guess. And yes, I know VY is coming to town -- YIPPEEE!!! -- and I know they used to be the Oilers. But at the end of the day, it's a pretty good team versus an average at best team.
To be very clear, I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. I am excited for the game tonight, I just think we use words like "most," "best," and "greatest" way too much in the media, and my genre (talk radio) is probably more guilty than any other. We're so quick to try and sell whatever we can by soaking it in hyperbole, and when you take a step back and realize there are actually 30 other teams in the league, it starts to look a little ridiculous.
s this the biggest game in Texans franchise history? Well, I guess...but by my count, since I returned to Houston before the 2007 season, this is literally the tenth "biggest game in franchise history" the Texans have had, and the first one that is "big" for playoff reasons that actually involve the Texans! And until this season, they had won exactly one of them; coincidentally it was the Titans home game last season, 13-12.
I expect tonight's game to have that same feel as last season's game, and I want the Texans to win for both the obvious reasons (6-4 puts them smack dab in the middle of the playoff mix), but also the less subtle reasons:
-- If the Titans win this game, it means Vince Young will now be 4-0 as a starter this season (albeit with Chris Johnson doing all of the heavy lifting) with a head-to-head win over Matt Schaub. This means the Vince apologists, a breed that had been presumed extinct, will come out of their holes like the Darkseekers in I Am Legend.
-- Casual fans around the country will realize that Matt Schaub is not related to Charles SCHWAB, and they will begin pronouncing his name correctly. (Repeat after me..."Schaub" pronounced like "blob"....it's easy....) Trust me, I travel around the country A LOT; nationwide, this epidemic is worse than you think, Houston.
-- As a corollary to the last bullet, people will realize that Kevin WALTER prefers his last name not have a superfluous "S" attached to it. It's WALTER, nto WALTERS. Somewhere Bob Davie (not DAVIES) is nodding his head.
-- More Texans wins on Monday Night Football, mean more future Monday Night Football appearences, which means more David Anderson impersonations of Ron Jaworski, which is NEVER a bad thing.
-- If the Texans do win tonight, it will be a great leadoff home run in what could be one of the best football weeks we've ever seen in this area (hyperbole! YES!)
-- Titans on MNF, UT vs A&M on Thanksgiving, high school playoffs, and the Colts coming to town on Sunday. I'm almost tempted to call that a week of epic proportions!
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Above all else, I want the Texans to win so that we can put the "biggest game in franchise history" moniker on the shelf after this season. (I'm not naive enough to think that if the Texans win tonight it won't be spit shined and polished up for the Colts game next Sunday.) This just in -- when you're fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot, ALL the games are important. The biggest game is the next one. Then the one after that, and the one after that. Yes, the Rams game later this season -- those pathetic 1-9 Rams -- if the Texans keep winning, will also be able to grab the figurative title of "biggest game in franchise history."
Point being, the hyperbole is unnecessary. If the Texans lose tonight, then the Titans game was nothing more than Bart Simpson leading a mutiny at Kamp Krusty. That's it. The fact that the game tonight is being played in late November and has playoff implications for the Texans is progress unto itself.
Let's enjoy that, and leave the whole "biggest/greatest/epic" garbage to Mike Greenberg (the unofficial master of annoying hyperbole and metrosexuality).
When being 5-4 in November is considered routine, or even a disappointment for the Texans, then they will have truly arrived.