As I make my way through the halls of NRG Stadium during this Scrooged season, I am reminded of a line in Any Given Sunday. Al Pacino’s character, the coach, says to Jamie Foxx’s character, the young quarterback, “this game’s about more than winning.”
That doesn’t go down smoothly. After all, that’s what we’re all here for, right? But there’s something to that line when you think about everyone involved, including you.
This franchise doesn’t have a long history. But there was something remarkable about getting so many former players together a little over a month ago when Andre Johnson was inducted in the Ring of Honor. To see players from the early years mingling with players who hadn’t played that long ago was truly special.
The bond is the franchise and the game itself. The people who play, coach, watch and comment all love the action, the drama, the future. This season obviously took a sharp turn south when the calendar hit November. But the games go on and there’s still a chance to go out on a high note.
Yes, we all know that the Texans should be right back in the postseason mix next year. I was looking over the injured list and thought how interesting it would be on Christmas Day to inject J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, D.J. Reader, Christian Covington and Brennan Scarlett into the front seven rotation. But that won’t happen.
I also thought about running plays with Deshaun Watson, D’Onta Foreman, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Bruce Ellington added to the attack. But that won’t happen either.
Now your Texans face the daunting task of taking on a Pittsburgh team that’s angry after an at-the-wire loss to the Patriots. The last time they were here was 2011 when the Texans beat them 17-10. That Texans team was loaded and this version is playing severely undermanned. There have been times when the Texans have staged Goliath-like upsets. The game in 2002 at Pittsburgh comes to mind. The Texans scored three defensive touchdowns on their way to an improbable win. I’ve brought that up a few times lately just in case we get another football miracle like that.
Yes, it’s a long shot, but we’ll still have fun. The team is eager to show that last week wasn’t ‘them.’ That they can at least hang with the boys in black and have a chance to pull off the upset. The other thing is – I’ll be sad when it’s over. I know what you’re thinking; ‘Really, Marc! Aren’t you aching for the season to end?’
Nope. I love the game. I love watching it, seeing the fans, being around the players. It’s all great. Yes, this is sad to watch them go through this injury filled campaign. And sad that the fans don’t get their playoff run. But after a couple of weeks I’ll be yearning for the stadium to be buzzing with the GameDay atmosphere once again.
So let’s take this one in and enjoy the holiday atmosphere. It’s fan appreciation day. There will be holiday cheer and a ton of giveaways. There will be Pro Bowlers and role players doing their thing - one more time here at home until we reload for next year.