This Sunday -- finally -- the NFL season begins, at least as far as the Texans are concerned.
And that's what counts here in Houston, of course.
The Texans have been with us since the 2002 season, making this year the 11th time they will be suiting up to elate, enrage or enervate us.
Perhaps no team throughout the years has been given more of the benefit of the doubt than the Texans. In an NFL era where seemingly every team manages to go from worst to (near-)first at least once every so often, the Texans have constantly tantalized with hopes of a big year only to stumble to mediocrity.
Yet we keep coming back. And hoping.
You need proof? There's no better place than to look at the covers for the Texans' season previews we have done throughout the years.
6. It's time (not) We were reasonable, we thought: We didn't demand excellence from the get-go. We gave them some seasons to get adjusted.
And then we demanded excellence.
We were disappointed.
5. Dom is gone Another disastrous season...but there was a reason. And that reason was named Dom Capers, who got fired as head coach. His replacement, Gary Kubiak, was all-but-destined to take this underperforming ragtag bunch of players and turn them into a perennial playoff candidate, according to our cover.
We were disappointed.
4. Some time off does not improve our perspective That Kubiak-genius season ended up 6-10, which wasn't exactly included in the parameters we were considering when defining "genius."
We decided to get out of the Texans-preview game. But as in The Worst Godfather Ever, just when we thought we were out, they pulled us back in. Pumped up by Obama Hope, we thought anything was possible -- even the Texans actually putting a good product on the field, getting a winning record, maybe even sneaking into the playoffs.
We would have been better off expecting Gitmo to be closed.
3. No More Bull, Redux No more bull -- and this time we meant it.
Alas, the Texans didn't.
2. We ignore the past once again It's "Our Year," dammit!! Forget every past disappointment, every heartbreak, every Houston Press feature telling you that this is the Texans' year!!
Or maybe you'd be better off remembering all that, since Texans history has a nasty habit of repeating itself no matter how much you wish otherwise.
1. We'll just say they're good and leave it at that Tired of predicting greatness, last year we took a new approach -- we simply declared the Texans to be a bona fide quality NFL team. In some ways they lived up to the hype -- winning a playoff game, almost sneaking out a big postseason upset on the road -- but in the end they were still far from the Super Bowl.
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By now we were used to it, and weren't disappointed.
So that leaves us with 2012, pictured at the beginning of this item. Once again, we are predicting huge things for the Texans.
Hey, have we ever been wrong before?