Sean Pendergast

Five Ways 2021 Houston Sports Can Redeem Themselves

Carlos Correa is one of the rays of hope for Houston sports fans in 2021.
Carlos Correa is one of the rays of hope for Houston sports fans in 2021. Photo by Jack Gorman
As J.J. Watt said his farewells to Houston on social media on Friday, and the next big star decided to leave our fair city, and with the biggest star in the city still very much on the outs with his employer (we love you, Deshaun!), it got me thinking — as bad as 2020 was for us in the Houston sports world, has 2021 ALREADY been worse, just SIX WEEKS IN?

Let's assess the major damage, shall we? First, here were the major sources of sports trauma in 2020:

* A.J. Hinch, Jeff Luhnow fired for their roles in the sign stealing scandal
* DeAndre Hopkins traded for a 2nd round pick and David Johnson
* March Madness cancelled (which sucked for UH)
* Justin Verlander injured (and likely finished as an Astro) after one game
* Astros go 29-31 in COVID shortened season
* Rockets small ball fizzles out in "bubble playoffs"
* Daryl Morey leaves
* Texans go 4-12

Wow, that is AWFUL, but it was over a 52-week period. Here is what's happened already in just six weeks in 2021:

* James Harden traded
* George Springer leaves in free agency
* J.J. Watt released
* Jack Easterby gains more and more power
* Deshaun Watson wants out
* Chrisitan Wood injured, and Rockets season goes in the toilet

It has to get better, right? Please, please, let the answer be "YES". If so, what would need to happen to redeem 2021 for Houston sports? Well, here are five things

5. Coogs make a run to the Final Four
The best way for the gods to make up for having NO college basketball tournament last year, for Houstonians at least, would be for the Coogs to make their first run to the Final Four since the Phi Slama Jama days. Even better would be a couple of the other prominent Texas hoops schools (Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech) to make a deep tourney run, as well.

4. Rockets win the NBA draft lottery
The Rockets have gone from a curious fringe playoff team to a plummeting lottery team over the course of just under two weeks. The injury to Christian Wood has had a much more drastic effect than we could have imagined. There's nothing ON the court that will redeem our NBA team, so why not win the NBA lottery, and get the No. 1 overall pick in the draft? Give me a HELL YEAH!

3. Texans retain (and placate) Deshaun Watson
Speaking of "HELL YEAH," I think the entire city would scream that if, not only Deshaun Watson reported to offseason activities, but declared that he is "all in" as a Houston Texan going forward. Watson's glitch with the Texans was stress I was NOT counting on in 2021.

2. Easterby leaves (fired, resigns, goes on a mission, whatever)
This might be directly tied to the previous bullet point. I don't think Easterby's ouster would soothe all of Watson's hurt feelings, but it would go a long way to restoring the culture inside the stadium over on Kirby. He is the most hated person I can remember covering in my 14 years on the radio here.

1. Houston Astros win another World Series
Winning is the best deodorant for everything, and the city's best chance at winning a major professional sports title this year is still, despite a crippling sign stealing scandal, with the Major League Baseball team. We need another World Series celebration, and instead of proposing to his girlfriend after the game is over like in 2017, Carlos Correa proposes to the city of Houston by signing a ten year contract at home plate. And we all gladly scream "HELL YEAH!"

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast