Commentary: Can one ever get tired of watching young, muscular jocks wearing skin-tight football trousers, slamming their buff, sweaty bodies into each other while keeping their backfield in motion? We may find out very soon since Houston now has three professional football teams, sort of. More on that later.
Twenty years ago, on September 8, 2002, the Houston Texans played their first game, a 19-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. To say it’s been all downhill since then may not be an overstatement. With only six play-off appearances under their belts, the Texans have never come close to winning the hearts of the Bayou City the way the Oilers did. We still “Luv ya Blue!”
Things don’t appear to be any brighter in 2022. The Texans have a new coach and will try to put disgraced, toxic quarterback Deshaun Watson in the rearview mirror. He’s Cleveland’s pain now, but it’s probably nothing a good massage won’t cure.
The USFL rose from the grave to play again in the spring of this year. All regular season games were played in Birmingham, making the Gamblers a H.I.N.O. (Houston in name only.) The Gamblers lured Kevin Sumlin from the college ranks and muddled their way to a 3-7 season. Disappointing given that Sumlin amassed an 86-43 record during stints at University of Houston and Texas A & M.
This year’s Gamblers showed no resemblance to the 1984-85 team that went 23-13 in two seasons and broke numerous offensive records.
After the Texans are finished stinking up NRG Stadium, the XFL returns in February of 2023. Though not official, it is believed the team will be called the Roughnecks and will actually play games in Houston! TDECU Stadium will host the new team which, in a brilliant move, has hired Wade Phillips as coach. Bum’s boy has a long history here, having played for the Houston Cougars before becoming an assistant coach there. Later he was a defensive coach with the Oilers and again with the Texans.
That brings us to our annual predictions for the forthcoming NFL season. If the Texans plan on getting to the Super Bowl, they best buy their tickets now to ensure themselves of a good seat.
Is this the year Buffalo gets over the hump? Don’t count on it.
Buffalo Bills (13-4)
Miami Dolphins (10-7)
New England Patriots (9-8)
NY Jets (5-12)
We fell in love with Cincy QB Joe Burrow last year. He almost led the Bengals to a Super Bowl LVI victory last season but fell a little short.
Cincinnati Bengals (12-5)
Baltimore Ravens (10-7)
Cleveland Browns (9-8)
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-11)
This may be the weakest division in the NFL and that will help the Texans in their annual battle with Jacksonville for last place. Lovie Smith and his majestic beard of wonder may be a good coach, but he is not a magician.
Indianapolis Colts (10-7)
Tennessee Titans (8-9)
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-11)
Houston Texans (6-11)
This may be the toughest division in the league. Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City will finally see their reign end.
Los Angeles Chargers (11-6)
Kansas City Chiefs (11-6)
Denver Broncos (10-7)
Las Vegas Raiders (9-8)
The Washington team finally has a name. Who was it that said, “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all?” The Cowboys may find a way to win the division in spite of themselves, Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott.
Dallas Cowboys (11-6)
Philadelphia Eagles (10-7)
Washington Commanders (7-10)
NY Giants (6-11)
The Bears are more concerned with finding a new place to hibernate and, without any real competition, the Packers can phone in this division title.
Green Bay Packers (11-6)
Minnesota Vikings (10-7)
Detroit Lions (7-10)
Chicago Bears (3-14)
Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady. Blah, blah, blah…. But Tampa Bay signed Carl Nassib, the only openly gay player in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)
New Orleans Saints (9-8)
Carolina Panthers (6-11)
Atlanta Falcons (3-14)
The Rams are still the class of this division and the NFC and should have the division title wrapped up by Thanksgiving.
Los Angeles Rams (12-5)
San Francisco 49ers (9-8)
Arizona Cardinals (8-9)
Seattle Seahawks (5-12)
Look for a rematch of the Rams and Bengals in Super Bowl LVII on February 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Expect a different outcome this year as Burrow, and his cute self, whip the pretty boys from L.A. 38-31.