Oftentimes in football when things go inexplicably right, and virtually every time things go horribly wrong for one's football team, we like to credit/blame the "football gods," mythical, karmic beings who can go from savior to grim reaper faster than you can say "Kubiak."
Well, if the "football gods" do exist, it's safe to assume that they are not fans of the Houston Texans right about now.
Exhibit A is pretty much every minute of Texans football dating back to December 10 in New England.
Exhibit B is former Houston Texan punching bag turned Baltimore Raven superhero Jacoby Jones.
Let's examine Exhibit B, shall we?
It started last January in the first quarter of the Texans' divisional round playoff game with the Baltimore Ravens when Jacoby, who up to that point had been a bright spot in the return game all season long for the Texans, allowed a Ravens punt to literally bounce off of his face. The Ravens recovered the ball inside the Texans' five-yard line and scored shortly thereafter in a game they'd go on to win, agonizingly, by that exact seven-point margin.
In the following weeks and months, Texan fans would call for Jacoby Jones' head with a level of vitriol and spite that would have made King Longshanks blush: "Bring me Jones! Alive if possible, dead....just as good..." Trash would get thrown on his lawn, barbs would be sent his way, and the downward spiral of the some-love-mostly-hate relationship between Texan fans and Jacoby Jones ended with a resounding thud and Jones' being handed his walking papers on May 1, 2012.
Texan fans thought the pain was finally over. However, the football gods twirled their handlebar mustaches and cackled, for they knew that for Texan fans, the Jacoby Jones-induced pain was just beginning.
It started a week after Jones' ouster in Houston with his signing a two-year contract worth $7 million with the Ravens -- those very same Ravens to whom Jacoby handed momentum early in that January playoff game. So Jones, who many Texan fans and media members assumed would be gone from the league after his five years of unfulfilled potential in Houston, was not only getting the exact same money the Texans would have paid him in 2013 and 2014, but he was signing with the very team to whom he handed the keys to a playoff game four months prior.
Damn you, football gods.
But wait, it got better.
As it turns out, we were all pretty much spot on with our assessment of Jacoby Jones the wide receiver. He had 30 catches all season in 2012, one less than he had for the Texans in 2011, and showed occasional flashes of his notorious "hands of stone." However, in the return game, Jones proved to be a major impact player for the Ravens, getting to return kickoffs (which he hadn't done at all for Houston since 2010) and punts.
In fact, Jones was so good, he was named to the 2013 Pro Bowl as the AFC's return specialist. Of course, he couldn't play in that game because the Ravens were playing in the Super Bowl.
So Jones had gone from public enemy number one in Houston to vital, Pro Bowl-caliber special teams cog on an AFC champion.
Seriously, damn you, football gods.
Hang on, there's more!
That little game on Sunday? The Super Bowl? Yeah, well, Jacoby Jones had a nice little evening, finishing with a Super Bowl record 290 all-purpose yards and two of the biggest plays of the game, a 56-yard touchdown catch late in the first half and a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (literally the biggest play in Super Bowl history) to open the second half.
In other words, Jones had the complete opposite of the "bounce the ball off your face" game he had in his final game as a Texan. Hell, his kickoff return for a touchdown even forced a Baltimore area furniture store to pick up the tab on $600,000 worth of furniture for customers who'd bought merchandise between January 31 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, thereby transforming Jones into some accidental hybrid of Devin Hester and Robin Hood.
WWE fans will remember a storyline back in 1997 where Bret Hart was a hero in his native Canada and vilified in the United States. Well, Jones' vital role in the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII win (a performance where he easily could have won the MVP award, by the way) cemented an unprecedented, Hart-ian level of simultaneous love in one city and hate in another. Beloved in Baltimore, hated in Houston, Jacoby Jones.
I mean, seriously, really, DAMN YOU, football gods.
Wait, there's one final salvo.
On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated revealed its cover for this week, its issue recapping Super Bowl XLVII. And who's the cover boy? Why, Jacoby Jones, of course, breaking free from the pack on his historic 108-yard jaunt.
Jacoby Jones, run out of town in Houston for a special teams gaffe, is making a play on special teams to help clinch the Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens on the cover of the world's most famous sports magazine.
Yes, the football gods hate you, Houston.
Fuck you, football gods.
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 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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