HOUSTON - Some Mondays are harder than others.
Let’s face it. A good many fans in Houston really didn’t expect the Texans to beat the Patriots, but that doesn’t make defeat go down any easier.
“You saw the downward slide about four or five games ago,” said Cliff Miller, a BMW salesman who admitted he was depressed the day after the Texans’ defeat. “It’s like … if there’s a death in the family and you know it’s kind of coming, so you’re not that disappointed when it did happen.”
Texans fans, who started the season hoping to finally see Houston in the Super Bowl, watched their dreams die an ugly death Sunday. That turned the nation’s fourth largest city into a metropolis of Monday morning quarterbacks.
“We had three opportunities to have the playoffs in Houston and we just lost it,” said Cesar Nieto, a fan getting a haircut at a Super Clips shop near the Heights. “That’s our fault.”
A life-sized painting of J.J. Watt dominates the shop where Carissa Craig cuts hair and talks football, even in the off-season, with a steady stream of fans. On Monday, the discussion veered between disappointment and optimism.
“We had a 90-something yard run back,” Craig said, describing the first play of Sunday’s game. “I thought, man, we’re starting off strong! Then we had to kick for a field goal.”
“Just that kickoff return was amazing,” Nieto said. “We had to kick another field goal, like we always do. That seems to be the Texans.”
Once again, the airwaves echoed with the sound of frustrated sports fans venting about a team that seemed destined for greatness. Some called for a new coach, others for a new quarterback.
“Vince Young, baby!” cried one fan, who called himself “Doctor Doom,” referring to the former Tennessee Titans and Texas Longhorns quarterback.
“I feel like deep down there’s a sense of resignation, because when you look at these two games against the Patriots, they just lost to a better football team,” said Mike Meltser, a sports talk show host on KILT-AM.
So now, once again, fans of a Houston team fall back on a cliché - Maybe next year, or maybe not.
“I’m a little worried about next year,” Miller said. “You don’t know if (quarterback Matt) Schaub’s the answer or not.” Still, other fans cut the team some slack and hope for better times.
“They’re just going to improve and get better and better,” said Jonathan Buckley, a fan getting a trim at Sports Clips. “The leadership’s there. The coaches are there. So next year’s going to be fun to watch.”
Maybe the only consolation is Beyonce. She’s the halftime entertainment, so she may be the only Houstonian on the field on Super Bowl Sunday.