Let's say you're the owner of the Houston Texans. And let's say your team just barely managed to eke out its first winning season despite playing against some of the worst teams in professional football. Let's say that, despite saying this summer that it was the playoffs or bust for the team, you're bringing back a head coach that makes Barney Fife look competent.
So let's say you're Bob McNair. And let's say that your football team has yet, in its existence, made the playoffs. So how do you reward your fans for putting up with your continuing mediocre product? Well, if you're Bob McNair, you take a page from the Drayton McLane playbook and you raise your ticket prices.
I know. I know. Change doesn't happen overnight. You can't turn around a football team in a season. Unless the team is the New York Jets, and that team just happens to coached by a first-year head coach. And that team just happens to be one game away from the Super Bowl. Yeah, they're just an exception. But then there's the Indianapolis Colts who are also playing for a chance to make the Super Bowl, and they have a first-time head coach, too. But, but, the Colts have Peyton Manning. Yeah, yeah. But the argument I always hear for not making a coaching change is that this means the Texans would have to start all over and would prolong any chance of the playoffs. But if the Colts don't have to start over, then the Texans shouldn't have to start all over, either.
And yeah, Barney Fife, I mean Gary Kubiak, was handed a 2-14 team that was one of the worst in football and had to rebuild his roster, and we can't expect him to get a team into the playoff in four years. Except we can. After all, the year the Texans finished 2-14, the New Orleans Saints finished 3-13. And the Saints fired their coach and hired Sean Payton. Payton is now finishing his fourth year as head coach. And he's rebuilt his entire roster -- including bringing in a new quarterback, backfield, and defense -- yet his team is once again playing in the NFC Championship Game.
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Why shouldn't the Texans be making the same strides as these other teams?
But that's not the question. The real question is why should the Texans and Bob McNair even bother with bettering the product and getting to the playoffs? After all, they just finished another season of mediocrity and the PR department over at the Houston Chronicle is shouting for all to hear about what a triumph this season was. And lots of fans seem to be agreeing, as well. So if the fans are happy with mediocrity, and if the major media is planning the parade route, then why should McNair make any move to improve the team?
One would think that after another failed season in which the Texans didn't make the playoffs, that the owner might get a little angry and make changes. But Barney Fife is back, and I would wager that he'll be back for another season after the one to come because the perfect excuses are already in place for when the Texans play mediocre football next season: the players are having to adjust to another offensive coordinator; the running game sucked because Alex Gibbs left; it's not fair to expect the Texans to make the playoffs in a season where they play the Colts, Titans, and Jaguars twice each along with the Ravens, Jets, Chargers, Eagles, Cowboys, Broncos, and Giants? No coach can be expected to overcome those obstacles.
And come this time next year, when the Texans have once again failed to make the playoffs, we'll be hearing all of the same crap about how Gary Kubiak is a good coach and the Texans are ready to turn the corner, and that he deserves one more season. And Kubiak will come back, and Bob McNair will raise ticket prices again because, after all, why shouldn't he? The fans appear to be more than happy to pay for his mediocre product.