It's nearly football season. Everyone is reacting as though football's been gone forever, and at LAST it's finally here. But in reality, we didn't actually miss any football with the lockout. We just missed a month of free agent signings. Training camp started pretty close to on time. And teams scrambled like mad to get two months' of personnel work taken care of in two weeks. It was kind of fun to try to keep up with it all. In fact, maybe they ought to make the off-season two weeks long every year!
And, in spite of myself...I'm excited for football season. Again. Even after the crapfest that was last year. And it was, folks. It was terrible. When we were 4-0 last season and I said, "Yeah, but we're lucky we're winning. If we don't make some major improvements, we'll be a 6-10 team," a lot of folks said I was just being negative.
A few months later, we were a 6-10 team. And the losses were so outrageously idiotic that it became almost a joke. As a fan, I couldn't even enjoy those thrilling rally-from-twenty-points-down-in-the-fourth-quarter games (and yeah, there were more than one) because I already knew we were going to lose. And not just lose, but lose on a bone-headed, SportsCenter blooper type of play. Every time.
Then the owner would come out and say, "Look at all these losses, they sure are close! I think we ought to stay the course." Despite the fact that we've been losing bone-headed fourth-quarter losses for the past three seasons. Despite the fact that we have practically invented ways to lose games we ought to have won for the past three years. We're probably headed in the right direction. We should just stay the course.
By the end of the year, I just couldn't even care any more. I know a lot of legitimate die-hard Texans fans felt the same way. We were tired of the promises, tired of the potential, tired of the lost-it-on-the-last-possession games that kept showing up in the L column. We were tired of teams losing just because they didn't "show up" on a regular basis.
We were tired of the Texans.
And like a guy getting out of a bad relationship, I was pretty convinced I wasn't going to let myself get excited again. Not until some major changes happened. I'd heard all the lingo before, read all the promises and the optimism from players and coaches for the past couple of years about how we were finally turning the corner, and I knew I wasn't going to set myself up for another major disappointment like last season.
Then training camp started. And dang me, I can't help but be excited. First Texans preseason game is a week from Monday, and I'm excited to see it. I want to see the rookies. I want to see how the defense responds to the new system. I want to see the guys we're going to cut. I just want the guys with the cow on the side of their heads to get out there and play football again. And yeah, we'll probably be mediocre again. I look at our schedule and I see maybe 8 wins from a team that's talented enough to win 10-12 games. We're probably the same inconsistent Texans that we've been the last four seasons of Coach K's reign. Maybe we'll be better. But history says we probably won't. But blast it all, I'm willing to give 'em another chance.
I need help.
(Incidentally, for the third year in a row I've said that this is the year I'm finally going to get really into college football. We'll see how that goes)