In the aftermath of the Texans' 20-13 loss to the Ravens last Sunday, the question I was asked most frequently by my Twitter followers (other than the terms and conditions of Jacoby Jones's contract) was, "What do you think 'Texans Super Bowl Tattoo Guy' is thinking?"
Truth be told, after any potential 2011 season-crushing play or injury from about Week 10 on, the question I was asked most frequently by my Twitter followers was "What do you think 'Texans Super Bowl Tattoo Guy' is thinking?"
After hearing that exact question about fifty times this week, I figured there's only one way to find out -- ask "Texans Super Bowl Tattoo Guy" directly!
So that's what I did.
"Texans Super Bowl Tattoo Guy" is Chris Brown, a native Houstonian who now makes his home in Midland. Like many of you, he has a wife, a family, and a job (in the oil business) at which he works hard.
Also like many of you, Chris Brown is a Houston Texans fan. As someone who grew up watching and rooting for the Oilers, he saw the logical progression in adopting the Texans as his new team when they were officially born and named in 2000, even if he didn't live in Houston anymore.
His fandom manifests itself in many unique ways.
For example, before the 2010 season opener against the Colts, he bet his nephews and some of their friends that the Texans would beat the Colts straight up. The loser of the wager would have to wear a cheerleader's outfit (skirts and all) in public. And 231 Arian Foster yards later, the boys were sporting their new feminine ensembles. My guess is that the wounds to their pride were soothed by the Sunday-evening trip to the ice cream shop, a Brown household tradition on Sundays when the Texans win.
Brown likes to include his family in his fandom, like the time he bought his wife a Texans trailer hitch cover for her birthday, which Brown playfully chuckles "somehow found its way onto [his] truck." Weird how that happens.
But perhaps the most extreme and public display of Brown's affection for the Texans resides on the inside of his left forearm -- a colored tattoo of a Texans' logo surrounded by the words "SUPER BOWL XLVI CHAMPIONS." It's about as ballsy a way to call your shot and show your support as there is -- permanent ink on your epidermis for a team that, as needle hit skin, hadn't even made the playoffs yet. Ever.
Thankfully, the Texans were able to cross "making the playoffs" off of the franchise bucket list this season, but alas, the hopes for a Super Bowl run crash-landed next to Jacoby Jones and three T.J. Yates interceptions in Baltimore on Sunday. (Truth be told, they were probably crushed under the ample weight of Albert Haynesworth in Tampa Bay back in Week 10, when the fat ass landed on Matt Schaub's foot like a safe dropped from a tenth-story window.)
Human nature combined with misery (read: Sunday after the Baltimore loss), unfortunately, leads us too many times to take weird pleasure in the pain of others. I'm as guilty as anybody (see my "Louisiana fan" posts from earlier this week). So when people were checking with me on "Texans Super Bowl Tattoo Guy" and "how he was doing," most of those asking I'm sure wanted to hear how much Brown regrets the tattoo, how stupid he feels, and they want to know when he's scheduling the surgery to have it removed. Basically, anything short of Brown in the fetal position wailing "I'M AN IDIOT! I'M AN IDIOT!" like Scotty after he tried to kiss Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights would be unacceptable to Schadenfreude Fan.
Those of you hoping for that outcome will be disappointed. When I asked Brown how he was processing the game as it went along, especially the final score, he said, "Honestly, I didn't even think about the tattoo. I just processed it like a normal game. In fact, the tattoo wasn't even on my mind until right after the game when my phone started blowing up, and my friends were calling me and texting me 'HA HA!'"
Nice friends, huh? Brown laughed and said, "Hey, if we can't pick on our friends, who can we pick on?"
Okay, so we established that the tattoo had become enough of a fixture to where he didn't obsess about it game in and game out. That's probably not a surprise, as Brown has many tattoos on his body ("A walking biography," he says. "Some I like, some I regret. Like life.") and the Texans tattoo essentially became like a new member of his tattoo family.
But it does say "SUPER BOWL XLVI." I mean, it's factually WRONG. So naturally, Brown is hoping the Texans win the whole thing in the next two years so he can add a Roman numeral "I" to the end of it and correct it, right?
"I specifically did the shading around the Roman numeral so it would represent THIS season. I can't add an 'I' to it, and I don't want to," Brown said.
Instead of seeing the tattoo as a permanent typo, Brown prefers to see the ink as a constant reminder of a great season, and a fifteen-minute period of fame that he really wasn't aware of until about the fourteenth minute. Brown had no idea about the magnitude of Deadspin coverage ("They wrote about Rob Lowe today, I know that"), and he admits that his wife got far more angry over pieces that poked fun at Brown than he did.
So if you're hoping for a story to help rationalize your "Texans depression," where you can tell yourself, "At least I'm not so-and-so," you'll need to look elsewhere. Chris Brown still loves his tattoo, still loves the Texans and can't wait for 2012. His biggest concern now is how the Texans handle going from being the hunter to the hunted: "What are we gonna do now that we're a powerhouse?!?"
So Brown will continue to take his lumps around town from his buddies ribbing him and enjoy the occasional free drink from a Texan fan. And if reminded, he'll probably wonder why we all think this tattoo is such a big deal.
Because clearly this tattoo and its newfound lack of factual inaccuracy seem to be a much bigger obsession for all of us than they are for Chris Brown.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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