January 3, 2003
Can’t Hardly Wait
By Ric Sweeney
Annnnnnd, I’m spent. Whew, what a year! It took, what felt like, all of eternity, plus a decade or two, to finally to get here, and then, just like that, the Texans’ inaugural season was over.
It was, to be certain, an interesting year — there were moments I’ll cherish for as long as my mind allows and some I did my damnedest to try and vanquish on New Year’s Eve (coughcoughBengalscoughcough).
But far and away, the most rewarding part of the 2002 season was the realization that the best is yet to come. Don’t believe me? Consider these 19 things I can’t wait to see come to fruition in the next year or two.
And why did I only list 19 things? ‘Cause the man wouldn’t let me have 20; that, and it represents one for each point scored against the Cowboys on September 8th, far and away the highlight of the season:
1. I can’t wait until the Texans routinely have more points than sacks on any given Sunday.
2. I can’t wait until the Texans are no longer the one sure thing on Cincinnati’s schedule.
3. I can’t wait for Dom Capers to have an offensive line good enough to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the opponents’ 1.
4. I can’t wait for Greg Gumble and Phil Simms to take their first tour of Reliant Stadium.
5. I can’t wait for ESPN GameDay to show actual highlights of Texan games in which Chris Berman actually injects some enthusiasm into the proceedings. This year, he had a decidedly, “Where’s Bill Pido” vibe while doing Houston highlights. Am I wrong, here?
6. I can’t wait to stalk Melissa Stark when she comes to town to do a Texan game… What? What’s that?
7. I can’t wait for a Texan to have a “face” on Bill Simmons’ Page 2 column. (Actually, Dom Capers’ open-mouthed face in which he looks like he’s being reamed by his wife for not flushing the toilet may already be a prime mover and shaker. The “face” usually makes an appearance after a penalty, which means we saw it roughly 6,781 times this year.)
8. I can’t wait for the Texans not to suck on Madden.
9. I can’t wait for Tony Boselli to pancake Jevon Kearse.
10. I can’t wait for it to be socially acceptable to draft a Texan for your fantasy football team without it being perceived as blind homerism.
11. I can’t wait for Billy Miller to quietly emerge as the AFC’s best TE, prompting at least one NFL “expert” to wonder, “Where’d he come from?” (And hey, you think this is some far-fetched dreamcasting? OK, go ahead, name 3 AFC tight ends who had better years.)
12. I can’t wait for David Carr to be a darkhorse in the end of season MVP discussion.
13. I can’t wait until I have to break out the tried and true Pythagorean Theorem to determine what has to happen for the Texans to make the playoffs. (Those playoff scenarios are only fun if your favorite team’s involved.)
14. I can’t wait for the Texans to play a prominent role in Peyton Manning’s annual playoff exit and/or Miami’s annual December slide.
15. I can’t wait for the draft to be an afterthought.
16. I can’t wait until a player signs on for a day with Houston so he can retire a Texan.
17. I can’t wait for the first free agent who takes less than market value to sign with Houston because he wants to play for a winner.
18. I can’t wait for the Texans to be the team no one wants to play in January.
19. I can’t wait for the Texans to be the best team in Texas. Oh, wait, they already are — I guess good things come to those who wait.
Ric Sweeney was so engrossed in Houston’s inaugural season, he just realized, he’s married. David Carr Return to Houston Pro Football If you have a question, comment or suggestion, contact Ric Catch up on past installments of Quick Slant