Houston Texans: The Most Underrated Sports Drought Ever

The Houston Texans’ drought is impressive

Through three games, the Houston Texans have given their fans more questions than desirable results. With complaints about the organization ruining Deshaun Watson and being better off had we not traded DeAndre Hopkins, one has to wonder if the franchise is in a rut of title droughts for the city or if there’s something more to it.

Texans fans, don’t consider me to be a conspiracy theorist with what I’m about to discuss here. I don’t believe in mystical, apocalyptic, world-ending theories myself. Yet, I am open for discussions about where I see things going for the Texans and needless to say, my excitement for them has taken a hit through three games.

Somehow, we are in the midst of a period where chances of bringing a title to Houston won’t happen right away unless certain things happen. However, even if these certain things were to happen, how will the next era look like. Better? Worse? Or the same? I don’t believe that Bill O’Brien is the man for the job and should at some point this year or in the future be relieved of his duty.

Yet, the question I ask myself isn’t when BOB will be let go, but who will be his replacement? Who will be the guy to help improve our defense and open up the offense more to give our side a chance to win games? I could be frustrated and say that after three games, this isn’t our time right now and it’s disappointing. The team can change fortunes and turn around their season, but it might require winning 11 games to make the playoffs and right now, that seems unlikely with how the team is going about it.

However, when doing some more thinking, I started to get the notion that there maybe more than the reason why things aren’t going well for us. Once again, I don’t buy into a curse, but I do think this might be something that needs to be addressed on the landscape.

When talking about sports curses and the legacy they bring to sports, reasons that they usually tend to happen to franchises occur because of the following reasons.

  1. A questionable trade (i.e. The Curse of the Bambino, The Curse of Bobby Layne) of a superstar athlete that forever haunts your team for a while.
  2. An incident that puts a scar on the team and the sport (i.e Black Sox Scandal, Curse of the Billy Goat)
  3. Various forms of stupidity amongst the players or fans that really upsets the sports gods. (i.e New York Rangers, Curse of the Socceroos, Hanshin Tigers).

It is too early to say, but Houston’s sports teams might fall into all three of these categories for some time. A questionable trade, an incident, and various forms of stupidity have dominated the 2020 headlines for sure. It also remains to be seen how long a potential title drought for our Houston teams could be following 2017. I can only hope I’m wrong and that within the next 20-35 years that we will be enjoying the successes of championships. Waiting from 1996-2017 was rough (unless you count four WNBA titles and two MLS cups plus the recent title from the Houston Dash as part of our championship lore), but right now, there is a drought that no one seems to talk about for sure.

If you had to list the name of the top five most snakebitten franchises in the NFL, you could say the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, and Minnesota Vikings. You might also throw in the Tennessee Titans in there because they too have been a part of Houston hearts when they were the Oilers.

This brings to point something that has been a trouble for sure. Since the inauguration of the Super Bowl back in 1967, no Houston team has been fortunate to represent their city in the big game to this point. The city has had the fortune of hosting three games (VIII, XXXVIII, XLI), but neither the Oilers and the Houston Texans have gotten to this point.

The last time a Houston football team won a championship was back in 1961, when the Oilers won their second straight AFL championship in only the league’s second year. The AFL back then was seen as second fiddle to the more dominant and popular NFL. Perhaps the misfortune of the Oilers started when they had a chance to defeat the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) in the 1962 AFL title game for a three-peat.

Down 17-0, the Oilers rallied to tie the game in regulation. They could’ve won the game in regulation, but quarterback George Blanda, who also was the kicker, had his game-winning field goal blocked. The Dallas team won in double overtime 20-17 on a winning field goal. Five years later, the Oilers were won game away from meeting the mighty Green Bay Packers, who were coming off an emotional Ice Bowl win in Super Bowl II. All they could manage was one touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Oakland Raiders would annihilate them 40-7 in the AFC Championship.

The 1970s would see the Oilers emerge as a strong contender in 1978 and 1979. They seemed destined to reach the Super Bowl and most likely, they would’ve made it there if not for one team. In those two years, the Oilers’ runs ended against the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers, who won four titles in the decade. While a 34-5 loss was nothing to be ashamed of in 78, 1979 was the Mike Renfro was denied a game-tying touchdown despite having both feet in bounds.

After a 1980’s decade that saw the Oilers win two playoff games, it seemed that a new era of Oilers had a great chance to win in the early ’90s. Yet, three straight years, the Oilers would lose to after a recurring theme of blowing leads..

  • 1991 – Lost 26-24 to Denver and John Elway in the AFC Divisional round. Blew a 21-6 lead. Gave up a game-winning field goal after Denver started from their own two-yard line.
  • 1992 – Lost 41-38 to Buffalo. Blew a 35-3 lead.
  • 1993 – Lost 28-20 to Kansas City. Blew a 13-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.

These losses were only part of the problem as there were storylines and drama that would’ve made General Hospital and Days of Our Lives drop in ratings. The 1993 season saw the Oilers win a record 11 straight games, which at the time was the longest since 1972, but it was also a season that involved rumors of team breakups, a player being fined for missing a team flight due to his wife giving birth, defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan punching offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, and the tragic suicide of defensive lineman Jeff Alm following a car accident.

From there, team owner Bud Adams was true to his word. He traded quarterback Warren Moon to the Vikings and watched as the Oilers went 2-14 in 1994. By 1995, the team was in talks of leaving Houston to Nashville and two years later, the Oilers were no more. Once the Oilers became the Titans, the history of the team joined them. So did the snakebites as the Titans lost Super Bowl XXXIV in a heartbreaking finish, which saw them come up one-yard short of greatness.

For five years, Houston waited to field a team and in 2002, they would see the return of the Texans. It took them nine seasons for a playoff birth and in 2012, the Texans were seen as Super Bowl contenders. Destiny called them to be the champions in the early 2010s, but yet, it led to more disappointment. Two straight divisional-round losses were followed by 14 straight defeats in 2013 after starting of 2-0.

Then, we bring in Bill O’Brien to be our head coach and we know the rest. While the Texans had some memorable moments, they also had more disappointing losses. Even with a supposed top-tier quarterback, reaching the next step has been harder for the Texans more so than a toddler trying to climb up the steps.

It has been 59 years since a Houston team won a championship and the hardest part is the team hasn’t even been to the Super Bowl yet. We’ve been fortunate to host three of them and two of those were some of the greatest games ever. The reality is the team has yet to enjoy success by being in the big game.

Houston joins Atlanta, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and San Diego as the only U.S cities to host a Super Bowl, but not have a team compete in them and win. The Falcons came close to winning in Houston before 28-3 became a trend. The Lions are still cursed by the infamous trade of former quarterback Bobby Layne back in 1958. The Jaguars have been to the AFC Championship three times in their history, but no Super Bowl. The Vikings went 0-for-4 in Super Bowls during the 1970s and have since lost three NFC Championship game appearances. The Cardinals have the longest title drought in the NFL last winning a title in 1947, but their lone Super Bowl appearance ended with heartbreak over allowing a game-winning drive to the Steelers. The Chargers ran Air Coryell to no Super Bowl in the ’80s and got crushed by the 49ers in Super Bowl 29 before they decided to move up to Los Angeles.

If I were to be honest right now, the Cardinals are probably the best bet to break their title drought because already, they have a quarterback in Kyler Murray that is making a case for MVP while he has a wide receiver that is throwing shade at our organization and who could blame him? A close second would be the Tennessee Titans, who recently picked up a former number one draft pick in Jadeveon Clowney. Meanwhile, Josh Allen has emerged as a quarterback to watch for the Bills. For Houston, they might be as high as fourth or fifth in teams to break their title droughts.

At some point, this drought will come to an end and the Texans, but the question is when. The city is hungry for a championship much like they were for the Rockets and the Astros. With Texas being a football state, Houston is sick and tired of having to play second fiddle to the Dallas Cowboys, who still reign supreme over the Lone Star State and might not let go for now.

It’s hard to be patient for championships. Ask fans of the other teams who have yet to win Super Bowls. All of us are frustrated. Maybe it’s 2020 with the current pandemic and outrage over the recent cases of racial injustice, but this year definitely sucks. We’re trying to get Cal McNair to understand that the team can’t get any further than the Divisional Round with O’Brien at the helm.  But, much like a fellow writer on this blog wrote about, stubbornness has been the heart of the problem and this has to end.

I can’t imagine what it’s like being a Cubs fan who waited for 108 years to win a World Series or the Red Sox for 86 years. I can’t imagine being a Cleveland Indians fan or a Toronto Maple Leafs fan who have waited the longest to break their title droughts. I respect those fans for sticking with their teams through good and bad and suggest we do the same thing for our teams. Yet, loyalty is being tested because the more the Texans’ management continues to let us down, the harder it is to see a silver lining soon.

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We will win a Super Bowl one day. We will win a Super Bowl one day. However, the feeling of waiting is getting tough because. The Rockets waited 27 years for a title while the Astros waited 56 years. For crying out loud Texans, it’s been 60 years. Something needs to change and quick.