How will you celebrate when my Texans win the Super Bowl next year? What will you do? What will you say? How will you handle it? Will you throw something in happiness? Will you throw something in anger? Will you attend the parade? Will you watch the parade on TV? Will you ignore the parade entirely? What do you think Brock Osweiler will do when someone taps him on the shoulder to tell him the Texans won as he works the drive-thru window at a Cleveland-area Taco Bell that Sunday evening? I’ll bet he sighs. Or rolls his eyes. Or tries to throw at least a tiny bit of shade at Bill O’Brien, and I’ll also bet that that shade he throws will either be incomplete or intercepted, given that he is Brock Osweiler.
I ask all of this because the Houston Texans just drafted Deshaun Watson, college football national champion. These next few seasons are about to be so goddamn dope. I can’t wait to watch the Texans win the Super Bowl.
A Word About Brock Osweiler, Whom I Used to Love, RIP
My sons go to this very good, fancy school in Houston. It’s located in the middle of a very nice neighborhood and populated by children who, far more often than not, come from families who make a lot of money and live lives commensurate with that situation. One of the things those families do — and this was something I didn’t find out until the boys started attending — is hold their children home an extra year before starting school.
Doing so has two very big, very great benefits:
First, during that time, the parents will either hire private tutors to teach the kids during the day, or they’ll enroll them in some ancillary education program. So of course that means when the kids finally do start school they’re very well-prepared and ready to excel.
Second, the kids who stay home that extra year arrive to school a year older (and, in the case of late birthdays, two years older), and obviously the older a kid is, the more intelligent and mature he or she generally is. My sons are in the fourth grade right now. They’re 9 years old. Most of the other children in their class are 10, several of them are 11, and one of them is 12, if you can even believe that.
Anyway, I tell you that to tell you this: My boys are sweet kids and talented kids and smart-enough kids, and were they in a school where parents didn’t hold their children back before starting school, they’d almost certainly be at the top of their class. That’s not the case, though. As it stands, the boys are somewhere near the bottom half of their class’s rankings. But it doesn’t matter to me. Because they’re mine. I’ll say, “Hey, how’d your math test go?” and one of them will say something like, “I got a 74 on it. Bryce got a 100 on his,” and I’ll be like, “Man, listen to me: fuck Bryce. Bryce ain’t shit.” (Bryce isn’t his real name.)
Now in all honesty, yes, Bryce is a truly exceptional kid. He’s wildly smart and very handsome and very charming (he came to the boys’ birthday party last summer and I talked to him for two minutes and was completely smitten). Were I to guess, he has a very comfortable life waiting for him. But Bryce ain’t my kid, you know what I’m saying? I only care about mine. I only want to root for mine. I only want to hype mine up. So I’m like, “Bryce ain’t as cool as you are.” (This is a lie). And I’m like, “Bryce ain’t as handsome as you are.” (This is a lie.) And I’m like, “Bryce ain’t as funny as you are.” (This is a lie.) That’s just how it goes.
It was the same way with Brock Osweiler. That’s why I rooted for him so much last year, so wholeheartedly and unconditionally last year. I was on my Terrell Owens “That’s my quarterback” shit:
I thought that if I put enough Brock-positive energy into the universe it’d somehow reach him, somehow empower him, somehow save him. And even if it didn’t, it didn’t matter. Because he was my guy. Even if he was a total screwup, he was at least my total screwup.
I don’t have to care about any of that now since he’s gone, though. Now I only care about Deshaun, who is actually good, and I am so excited. He’s my Bryce. I’m so excited to have a Bryce.
I can’t wait to watch the Texans win the Super Bowl.
One Thing to Look at, Two Things to Ignore
Look at: Last season, the Texans, 9–7, made it to the second round of the playoffs, a thing that was even more impressive than normal when you remember that (a) J.J. Watt was out for nearly all of the season with a back injury, and (b) Brock Osweiler was basically like if you put a football jersey on a palm tree. Imagine how good they’re going to be this year now that we have Deshaun, who is actually good. We might go 11–5, possibly 12–4, perhaps 13–3. We played the Patriots tough through the first half in the playoffs last year with Brock, who was not good. And now we have Deshaun, who is good. And J.J. is back. And we also drafted a good running back to help Lamar Miller. And we also drafted a good linebacker to take over for Brian Cushing, who is just about at the end of his good days. It just all looks so good. I’ve already ordered portable chairs from Amazon in preparation for the parade.
Ignore: The Texans play in the AFC South, which was terrible last season. That’s why they won their division last year. They wouldn’t have won any other division in all of the NFL.
Ignore: In the playoffs, the Texans played the Raiders in the first round. The Raiders quarterback for the game was Connor Cook, a fourth-round pick who, up until that point, had never started even a regular-season game, let alone a playoff game. (They were playing him because they lost their starter, Derek Carr, in Week 16 and then lost their backup, Matt McGloin, in Week 17.) That’s why the Texans made it to the second round.
There are concerns for the Texans, sure. Consider Bill O’Brien’s reputation as some sort of quarterback-handling genius: Both of his pre-Brock experiments (Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer) played better after they left the Texans. And the Texans were 9–7 last season, yes, but of those nine wins, eight of them came in games that were decided by seven or fewer points. They could’ve just as easily finished the season at, say, 7–9, or maybe even 6–10. (In addition, each of the teams in the AFC South improved through the draft, not just the Texans. Even if they replicate last year’s successes, a 9–7 record likely won’t be enough to get them into the playoffs this season.) You could also, if you’re feeling especially ornery, point out that Deshaun wasn’t the most accurate thrower in college, nor did he ever really excel at throwing deep, which is a thing the Texans offense has struggled with for years. And there’s also a small chance that Deshaun won’t even start the season for them, what with him being a rookie and all.
The thing of it is, though, none of that matters right now. Telling me I should be worried about that stuff is like if I was homeless and you gave me a car and then were like, “Sometimes the windows won’t go down, and also there’s a tiny rattling sound when you get it above 80 miles per hour.” I’m just happy I don’t have to walk everywhere anymore, is what I’m saying.
I can’t wait to watch the Texans win the Super Bowl.
When the Texans drafted Deshaun, there was only one play from his college career that I thought about. It happened during this past season’s national championship game. It wasn’t the game-winning touchdown pass that he threw in the final seconds, which was electric. It wasn’t any of his passes, actually, or even any of his plays that resulted in a first down or led to points. It was that play during the third quarter where he tried to run for a first down on third-and-15 in the third quarter and got mollywhopped. This is it:
For Texans fans, it was an immediately familiar thing, the echo of the most infamous play in franchise history: Sage Rosenfels’s the Rosencopter.
Both happened on third down. Both featured each player getting spun through the air after a collision. Both came after quarterback scrambles. Both came in the second half of each game. Both came at crucial points of their games. And yet, they could not be more dissimilar.
- Deshaun’s came while he was trying to win a championship game for Clemson.
- Sage’s came while he was trying to not lose a regular-season game for the Texans.
- Sage fumbled.
- Deshaun did not fumble.
- The first thing Deshaun did after he got crushed was look to see if he’d made it to the first-down marker.
- The first thing Sage did after he got crushed was turn around and watch a Colts defender run the ball back 68 yards for a touchdown.
- The Texans eventually lost that game. (Rosenfels fumbled again after the Texans got the ball back, and Peyton Manning eventually threw the game-winning touchdown.)
- Clemson eventually won. (Deshaun ended the game having thrown for 420 yards and three touchdowns, and that’s to say nothing of him running for a fourth touchdown or his final two-minute drive to win the game, during which he was exquisite and unflinching.)
On and on and on. They were the same play, but they were super different, is the point. We finally have a guy who doesn’t run from the fire, is the point. We finally have a guy who, if he loses, you know it won’t be because he was afraid, and that’s really all you can ask for, is the point.
I can’t believe we really got Deshaun. I can’t believe we really got a quarterback. I can’t wait to watch the Texans win the Super Bowl.