No Asterisks

The Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in ’94 and ’95. However, those titles will always carry with them an asterisk: They won them during Michael Jordan’s first retirement1)Technically, Jordan came back during the ’94-’95 season, but he would not return to his GOAT level until the following year.. People look down on those championships because Hakeem Olajuwon did not have to beat Jordan to earn them.

As a Rockets fan, I say this argument is bullshit. Injuries, retirements, and bad luck are inherent factors every season. The best teams and players often do not face off against one another. The Lakers still won in ’09 even though Kobe vs. Lebron never happened. Back in the 90’s, The Rockets were the best team in the NBA two years in a row, and nothing should diminish that.

But deep down, even I know that is not true. Those Rockets championships do have a little tarnish on them. The Dream never got to play MJ in the Finals. Continue reading No Asterisks

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Technically, Jordan came back during the ’94-’95 season, but he would not return to his GOAT level until the following year.

UCF Are Not National Champions

Last Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl. The media is portraying this as the first time Philadelphia’s beleaguered franchise has reached the league summit, but that is not true. Before the AFL-NFL merger and the first Super Bowl, the Eagles won the NFL championship in 1948, 1949, and 1960. While the league may have been much smaller in those days, those are still #1 results. In the NBA, most of Bill Russell’s titles were in years when the league had less than 10 teams, but he is still remembered as one of the greatest players of all time. Professional basketball is acutely aware of its history.

On the other hand, pro football forgets the sport existed before the Super Bowl. To most Americans, Joe Namath is more well-known that Johnny Unitas. They both have one Super Bowl victory to their names, but Unitas won multiple championships and was the prototype of the modern quarterback. To Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL, professional football did not start until 1967. Continue reading UCF Are Not National Champions

2018 CFP National Championship: No Asterisks

I still think about the 2010 BCS National Championship: Texas vs. Alabama. The Longhorns came in as underdogs, but the game started well for them. They held Alabama to a three-and-out, got the ball back, and drove down to Alabama’s red zone. Then UT quarterback Colt McCoy injured his shoulder after a tackle from Marcell Dareus. True freshman Garrett Gilbert took over for McCoy.

The drop-off from McCoy to Gilbert was steep, but Texas was able to stay in the game. With 3:04 left in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns were down only 21-24 with a chance to win it all. I thought the Horns would drive down the field and lift the crystal football. Instead, Gilbert fumbled, and Alabama recovered and scored a touchdown. Continue reading 2018 CFP National Championship: No Asterisks

Learning to Hate Jacksonville

In week 10 of the 2010 NFL season, the Houston Texans experienced one of their most ridiculous losses in franchise history. With the game tied in Jacksonville, Jaguars QB David Garrard threw a hail mary from midfield that was deflected by Texans safety Glover Quin. The game should have been over.

Except, the ball got batted into the hands of Jags receiver Mike Thomas. Jags win.

Despite the ridiculousness of the situation, losing to the Jags did not really hurt. This is the sort of loss that is commonplace as a Texans fan. The next week Houston would completely destroy their season by letting Mark Sanchez drive 68 yards with 59 seconds left on the clock to score a game winning touchdown. Distinguishing between all the horrific losses is difficult. Yet it is never easy to lose to a rival in your division.

The intra-divisional hatred in the AFC South does not match up with others like the NFC East. Cowboys and Giants fans will murder one another. But there is still plenty of animosity in the AFC South.

The Tennessee Titans will always be loathed by Houstonians for turning their back on the city. The former Houston Oilers left in 1997, and Bud Adams became a persona non grata inside Texas. Even drafting Houston-born hero and UT legend Vince Young was not enough to lessen my hatred for their franchise.

For years, the Colts have humiliated the Texans. The Texans did not beat the Colts until their 10th meeting, and it was not until 2015 that they finally won in Indianapolis. When the Texans franchise began, the Colts were led by future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. They had one bad season then got to draft another incredible quarterback in Andrew Luck. Life is not fair sometimes.

But then there are the Jags. You never like your division rivals. But I would never have compared my hatred of the Jags to the way Jets fans hate the Patriots. And if someone besides the Texans had to win the AFC South, I would have preferred it to be the Jags.

Until they actually won the division this year. Along the way to their first division title, the Jags stomped the Texans 29-7 and 45-7. And having the less-than-stellar Blake Bortles under center while doing it only makes it hurt more.

I now realize my lack of hatred towards the Jags was just condescension. Although the Texans do not have a great history, at least we were not the Jags. But now that the Jags will be in the playoffs this weekend, that defense no longer works. At least Cleveland is still a worse franchise than Houston.

Nobody likes Patriots fans because they are so condescending. Every time I listen to the Bill Simmons Podcast I have to hear how New England is not a good team this year, and their defense is atrocious even though they finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. When New England beats your team, you will frequently hear how “you guys are going to be scary next year”.

Now I realize though that I have been doing the same to Jacksonville fans. A lack of hatred is a lack of respect. From here on out, all I have to say is fuck the Jags. Good luck this weekend.

Why I No Longer Watch the Texans

Deshaun Watson’s injury is my fault. After not having a franchise quarterback since Matt Schaub, the Texans had finally found the future of the franchise. The phenom from Clemson gave this franchise hope and went toe to toe against Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.

But, unfortunately, I had tickets to the Week 9 game versus the Colts. My friends and I were excited to watch our new quarterback in person. Then one of my buddies texted me in the middle of the week, “Watson’s injured.” The universe will not let me get what I want. Continue reading Why I No Longer Watch the Texans

The Second-Rate Houston Rockets

Hakeem Olajuwon is the greatest Rockets player ever. He led the team to two consecutive championships and was the second best player in the league when the GOAT Michael Jordan was around.

Those 90s Rockets teams were incredible, but they were not my favorite. At the time, I did not really watch basketball and did not appreciate the domination that was being unleashed in my city.

Instead of Olajuwon, my superstars were Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. However, my favorite team, the ’08-’09 Rockets, were mostly missing that pair due to their injuries. T-Mac sat out most of the regular season, but the Rockets still made the playoffs and beat the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. Continue reading The Second-Rate Houston Rockets