Prognosis for a Full Recovery

September 2, 2002
Prognosis for a Full Recovery
by Keith Weiland

Houston, your five-and-a-half yearlong coma is over.

When the Texans take the field for the first time Sunday night, you may feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven, but you haven’t.

Yes, you’ve spent days and nights wasting away in NFL purgatory, but you won’t have died at all. You will have been recovered. All thanks to the Seven Hundred Million Dollar Man.

A fan base barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild them. We have the new team. We can make them better than they were before. Better… Faster… Stronger.

What’s that saying about not being able to keep a good man down? Well, it applies to you, Houston Pro Football fans. You’re a phoenix minus the ashes. Or Frankenstein without the hassle of bolts. (That abnormal brain of yours though still applies to most of you… sorry.)

The best part about this reincarnation business is that you can leave your past transgressions in the… well, past. The Oilers choked in the playoffs how many times? Doesn’t matter. The Texans have never choked. Was Mike Renfro really out of bounds? Whatever. It’s another franchise’s history now.

The Texans have never had a general manager drop trouser at a wedding reception. Neither have they suffered through an embarrassment like Babygate, nor have they hosted an Ultimate Fighting Championship amongst its heavyset coordinators.

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Houston’s new team will line up with tight ends on offense, and there won’t be any Jim Eddys coaching the defense. And don’t get me started on a comparison between the two owners. Okay, here’s just one: Our new owner has never fired the team’s most popular coach before he delivered on a promise to finally kick in the door.

No, the Texans are a tabula rasa, and as fans of the latest expansion franchise, you are a clean slate as well. You can watch the Texans without the guilt. We have been granted a rare gift. The gift of a do over. No muss. No fuss.

Don’t fear that just because something good happens to your team it will immediately be followed by something treacherous like Stagger Lee. Or Joe Montana. Or Ian Howfield. Do not fear that a 35-3 lead early in the second half means a second coming of Frank Reich. Already can’t remember Stagger Lee? The name Frank Reich doesn’t ring a bell? You are ready to ring the nurse and go home then.

The rest of you may ask, but what about Luv Ya Blue? I happen to love Steel Blue now. And Battle Red. And Liberty White. So should you.

The House of Pain? Yeah, it sure was, wasn’t it? I’ll take the House That Bob McNair Built any day of the week, thank you. We can tailgate outside of this stadium, too.

The Texans are not the Oilers, and we should be thankful they aren’t. Being a fan of perennial disappointment is not fun. We’ve been there. We know the heartache.

The Texans don’t know the heartache, and by god, let’s hope they never do. And should they ever disappoint – and darn it, it’ll happen soon enough – let’s not further burden them by piling on those old failures of a franchise that left us for dead.

Keith Weiland spent his coma replaying the 1992 playoff game over and over. Each time, he stopped the tape after Bubba McDowell’s interception return for touchdown put the Oilers up by thirty-two points and pretended that Heidi interrupted the broadcast.