As a fan of the Houston Texans, I take great pride in what I believe just might be happening. I’ll get back to that in a second. Sure, the Texans only have one playoff appearance in their first ten years of existence in the parity-friendly NFL, but overall, the organization hasn’t filled the crime blogs nor brought shame to the city out of sheer stupidity. From the owner down to the kicker, the Texans boast a community-friendly organization, which not only keeps its nose clean, but promotes a brand of team-first ball, which bore brilliant results in an injury-riddled campaign last season. Aside from Andre Johnson’s understandable smackdown of Cortland Finnegan a couple of seasons ago, by and large when one thinks of the Texans, they are reminded of the humble leadership of Matt Schaub, the appreciative attitude of Arian Foster and the keep-your-mouth shut hardworking example set by Johnson.
So what is this pride of which I speak? Well, the Texans are looking more and more like the San Antonio Spurs of the NFL, and while nobody wants the Texans overlooked like the Spurs, fans should take pride in how they are doing things the right way. Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak have by and large drafted solid character players who buy into the team system and rarely point fingers when things get bumpy. When they lose, they never berate the officials nor complain about the opposition, rather they promise to work harder and get better. The feverish fan support the Spurs enjoy in San Antonio is in large part due to the character of that organization, and that same pitch has emerged in Houston.
Like the Spurs in San Antonio, the Texans are out in the community and honoring the military, and parents can feel comfortable dressing their children in their jerseys. There are no “get your popcorn” one-liners in the headlines and while the Texans boast one of the toughest defenses in the league, last I checked, guys were not wanna-be tough guys heading to jail in the offseason. Likewise, the Spurs are as physical and in-your-face on defense as any team, yet when the final whistle sounds, its all hugs, handshakes and family time. And based on San Antonio’s unparalleled sports success over the past 15 years, usually the result is a another tick in the win column.
The Texans have a long way to go in matching San Antonio’s championship pedigree, but they are certainly on the right track and, unlike the NBA, which adores its large market teams and individual players over teams that are humble and do it the right way, the NFL shines a light on organizations that set positive examples. As long as the Texans continue to draft and manage well, they are in a position to become the gem of the NFL.
As Texans fans, we shouldn’t crave players that eat up the limelight out of self-promoting silliness, rather we need players who will leave a David Robinson-like legacy, players who will be sorely missed when they call it a career instead of a game. Ultimately its all about winning and the brand we support is the Houston Texans-brand. There is no greater compliment than to compare our beloved football team to pure winners like the Spurs.
A strong character and talent foundation has been built in Houston and fans can expect returns in the win-loss column for years to come. But equally important, fans can take great pride that the product they support, the team in which they make a heart investment, does things the classy way.