It's tough, and somewhat complicated. In Houston, for example, in a season like the one the Texans are having, the fans might be split down the middle on what exactly to root for. However, the Texans have done such intrinsic damage with their hardcore fans, because of such outlandish decisions they've made over the last two seasons, that many Texan fans have no trouble rooting for losses. Hell, they likely see it as some sort of karmic punishment for trading DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson.
This topic became even more "front burner" after the 2-11 Texans beat the 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars, sending the Jags to the top of the draft order, and sending the Texans to third overall. To that point, I recently polled Texan fans as to what they're rooting for down the stretch. Do they want their team to win games (because YAY WINNING!), or do they want their team to lose games (because YAY HIGH DRAFT CAPITAL!). The results were fairly one-sided:
Sa far as where I stand on all this, I am a "root for your team to win no matter what" guy. The draft is an inexact science, always has been, so I don't get too wrapped up in whether my team is picking first or fifth overall. As for this season and next spring's draft, I'll be more specific. Here are four thoughts on why rooting for the Texans to tank the remainder of the season is silly to me:
#Penderpoll for #Texans fans who are still rooting for SOMETHING … at this stage of the season, are you rooting for them to win (because winning is fun) OR are you rooting for the Texans to lose (because higher draft slot)?— Sean Pendergast (@SeanTPendergast) December 20, 2021
At this point in the season, worst case, Texans probably land like fifth overall in the draft
The Texans have three games remaining on their schedule, and all three are against teams who would make the playoffs, if the season ended today. In other words, the danger of the Texans winning out is very, VERY slim. The most likely scenario is they go 0-3, and remain third overall in the draft (or get passed by the spunky Detroit Lions and then wind up with the second overall pick). Even if they finish 2-1 in those three games, they would be 5-12. Right now, the seventh and eighth overall picks belong to teams with five wins, the Giants and Seahawks, both of whom would pick behind the Texans due to the tiebreaker, if they all wound up with five wins. The Texans going 1-2 in their last three games is a bit of a reach, but even if they steal a win, the worst case scenario is they're picking fifth. I say all this to say, wasting energy on rooting against the Texans is just a poor use of your energy this holiday season. Life takes care of itself.
There ONLY good reason to root for a tank is a franchise QB, and there isn't one in 2022
Let's say that someone like me, a perpetual "root for wins" guy, could be talked into rooting for a tank from my favorite team. The ONLY scenario where I would allow such a loser's mentality to seep into my psyche would be if a sure fire, franchise level talent were in the draft AT THE QUARTERBACK POSITION. Well, that doesn't exist in this draft. There are good players, future All Pros even, at the top of this draft. About a half dozen or so with that kind of profile, but none play quarterback. So just give me any of those, for a team like the Texans with needs EVERYWHERE on the depth chart, and let's go from there.
Even when there is... um, have you noticed who they beat this weekend?
Oh, by the way, even when there IS a perceived franchise quarterback, they don't always hit. Do I need to remind you who was playing quarterback on the opposing side in two of the three Texan wins this season? Perceived GENERATIONAL talent, Trevor Lawrence, that's who. He has one touchdown pass since the end of October. Oh, guess who would be picking first, if the season ended today .. the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, who are quarterbacked by GENERATIONAL TALENT, Trevor Lawrence. It's an inexact science people.
There are good non-QB's all over the top five of any draft
If you're looking for some substance to my "just root for your team and take the best available guy" frame of mind, here are the five most highly selected non-quarterbacks and non-running backs (no chance the Texans use their pick on a RB, that's why I am filtering it this way) taken from 2016 through 2019:
2016: Bosa, Ramsey, Stanley, Buckner, Conklin
2017: Garrett, Thomas, Davis, Adams, Williams
2018: Ward, Chubb, Nelson, R. Smith, McGlinchey
2019: N. Bosa, Q. Williams, Ferrell, D. White, Allen
Among that group of 20 players, there are 11 who have made the Pro Bowl and a remarkable SEVEN who have been named first team All Pro. There will be players, GREAT players, to be had in the top five. Root for your team, Texan fans.
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