Longhorns Go Wild, Steve Young Chimes In

What a summer it’s been for former Longhorn football players…

First, VY lashes out at some fool who makes the singularly stupid mistake of flashing that weakest of all hand signs at him. You know the hand sign that is first cousin to “t.u.”, that weakest of all retorts…

Then, Ced Benson allegedly punches a Sixth Street barkeep, then gets arrested for it a month later. I don’t know the circumstances of the events of that fateful night, but if the Library’s bar tenders were indicative of your average Sixth Street ‘keeps, I don’t know what Benson was thinking.

Finally, there’s Phil’s son who was arrested last night (or this morning) for driving under the influence of marijuana.


“Smoking pot and driving? What’s that if not the result of growing up in a laissez-faire atmosphere?”

I have no idea what has gotten into these UT guys. VY gets some props for not allowing the brand to be besmirched, but then again, it was 3 a.m. at a scrip club.

That’s 3 former Longhorn greats (Phil’s son gets the nod only by association) who have run afoul of the law and it’s only July 1st.

Summer has 2 months left, plenty of time for say, Dusty Mangum to get picked up for breaking and entering.

[Photo credit: ESPN]

Houston Texans Continue Winning Tradition

Instead of delving into an in depth analysis of the Houston Texans’ seemingly bottomless ability to invent new ways to lose ballgames, I instead present this picture taken by Houston Chronicle photog, Brett Coomer,

Hope it was worth it for these two “long time” Texans fans.

That’s why the Texans lost, the guy on the right wore the Battle Red jersey on Deep Steel Blue Day!

By the way, the sans VY Titans are now 5-0, as Bud Adams laughs from the lofty spires of Barad-dûr

The Rant of an NFL Orphan

The NFL season is just around the corner and for many pro football aficionados it is a joyous occasion, it’s hard for this football fan to get too excited. Why?

I grew up in Houston and rooted passionately for the Oilers until Bud Adams uprooted them in 1996 and relocated the team to Tennessee. After my 4 years at Texas, the source of my football jones became my Longhorns.

Yes, the NFL came back to Houston in ’02 in the form of the Texans but it isn’t the same. It’s hard to have loyalty for a team which was founded during one’s adult years.

I certainly don’t wish the team ill, but it is difficult for me to get behind this team despite the seemingly faux enthusiasm of the “longtime” Texans fans here.

It’s blasphemous to say in this Texans’ town but it is far easier to root for the former Oilers, the Tennessee Titans. Especially since they have noted UT legend Vince Young.

As an NFL Orphan this is what I’m reduced to, cheering for individual players. For example Kurt Warner (Arizona Cardinals) for his character and unwavering faith, Tom Brady (New England) for his on-the-field greatness, Peyton Manning (Colts) for his dedication to his craft, Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars) for playing against the odds.

It’s almost like I’m reduced to a variant of Visa’s lame Olympics motto: Go World!

Major News: Applewhite might be coming back to the 40 Acres

Before there was Vince, there was Major.

Vince Young at Texas conjures up images of him effortlessly gliding past one defender after another.

Major Applewhite, whose helmet seemed to big for his head (see below), reminded us that the will to win can sometimes overcome a lack of natural abilities.
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I was at UT when Major took over the reins of Greg Davis’ offense and used to see the red-headed one around campus, the guy just didn’t look like a football player but somehow he proved a winner on the field.

When Vince arrived on campus I was long gone, degree in hand, so the memories of Applewhite, for me anyway, burn brighter in my recollection.

If it hadn’t been for Mack Brown’s insistence on playing Phil’s son, Major might have taken the program to the national championship game against Miami back in ’01.

Many of us ‘Horns fans remember Phil’s son giving the game away with 5 INTs to the Colorado Buffaloes, only to have Major come in in relief and almost pull out the win, which would have vaulted the ‘Horns to a showdown with Miami in the national title game.

Now there is talk that after one year of being the offensive coordinator at Alabama, Major appears to be heading back to his alma mater to be the running backs coach. Scuttlebutt has him being the heir apparent to Mack once he leaves.

That would be Mage-uh…

Click here for a more well-reasoned and less effusive analysis of Major’s possible impact.

Homeschooled Tim Tebow makes Heisman History

Though I’m an alum (and thus a fan) of the University of Texas, I’m a big fan of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow, and apparently so are the folks who vote on the Heisman Trophy,

“Florida’s Tebow wins Heisman”

Tebow became the first sophomore to win the coveted trophy, and let’s face it how can he not when he did something even the legendary Vince Young didn’t do, that is pass and rush for at least 20 TDs.

The article linked above though lists some things which made me a Tebow fan.

For example during his acceptance speech Tebow said,

“God truly blessed me and this just adds on. It’s an honor. I’m so happy to be here.”

The article also lists some facts about Tebow’s life,

Homeschooled by missionary parents who run an orphanage in the Philippines, Tebow took advantage of a Florida state law to play for Nease [High School], about 90 miles from the University of Florida campus.

Tebow has worked and preached at his parents’ orphanage since he was 15. He regularly speaks at schools and delivered his message of faith at a prison in Florida earlier this year.

May God continue to bless this young man in his endeavors.

Sports: Where it’s OK to be a Fanatic

To love and admire anything outside of yourself is to take one step away from utter spiritual ruin; though we shall not be well so long as we love and admire anything more than we love and admire God. — CS Lewis

The level of devotion we have for sports here in the United States is pretty high. I’m not immune for I follow my alma mater’s football team, the Texas Longhorns. It is unnecessary to offer up comparisons such as “well at least I don’t paint my face and go to every game” or other such truck.

Devoting 3 hours of one’s life to sitting in front of a TV watching a boy’s game rates said devotion as high. I do try to catch the ‘Horns when they make it onto broadcast television, which is often given the fact that the program is high profile.

Of course, after UT players graduate I follow those that go into the NFL, most notably one Vincent Young. The fact that he delivered Texas’ first national title since the late 60s has “immortalized” him in the minds of the Texas’ fans (this one included).

So much the better that VY and his Titans got over on the Houston Texans, again, earlier today. I understand that me rooting for VY and the Titans is anathema since I live in Houston but my sports loyalties lie to former Longhorns first.

It is amazing to me how devoted we can be to such things yet leave our devotion to God behind. Even more surprising is when the athletes we enshrine and idolize bask in the spotlight and the public reaction is to call them selfish and not ‘team players’. Perhaps that they enjoy their celebrity status a bit too much.

While waiting to get a haircut today I picked up a Sports Illustrated and read an article about England’s fallen national team (if you have ask which sport…). The fan base, which is pretty loyal and well, critical thinks their national heroes have taken this celebrity thing a bit too far (Beckham is the poster child while Terrell Owens seems to be the poster child in American sports).

This quote from the article made me think of our role, as fans, in creating these personas then getting upset when these athletes start believing the hype we create,

It is hypocritical to criticize athletes who love the spotlight we shine on them

Texas pulls out another one against Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy ended his now famous rant by telling the media “It makes me want to puke.”

“It” in that case was columnist Jenny Carlson’s piece on Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid. I have a feeling though that after Texas rallied back from not one but two 21-point deficits against the Cowboys, then drive down the field to kick the game-winning field goal, Gundy will once again feel the urge to vomit.

It would not have been totally inappropriate for him (during the post game press conference) to break out with Dennis Green’s line about the Longhorns being who “we thought they were… and we let ’em off the hook!”

Gundy’s team had the Texas Longhorns on the ropes (for the third time in the last 4 years). Back in 2004, my ‘Horns rallied from 28 back and in 2005 they rallied from 19 back. During those 2 instances Texas had Vince Young so the outcome was never really in doubt.

In part because I didn’t think they had a comeback in them (no VY like the prior comebacks) and because it didn’t seem the ‘Horns D was going to stop the Cowboy offense.

While I was excited, not to mention shocked because things looked so bleak for most of the afternoon, about this win, this Longhorn team is hard to pin down.

Who are they really? There is no question that they have heart, a team can’t do what they did and not have heart.

This season has been strange since most Longhorn fans (myself included) don’t expect much from the ‘Horns this season, but then they come out and explode like they did against Nebraska last week and Okie State today.

Is Jamaal Charles ready to step in and become the next great UT playmaker?

How is it that Kansas State comes into Austin and thumps Texas 41-21, then loses to an Iowa State team whom Texas beat 56-3?

Sports fan, you’re not part of the team

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“What did we win?”

Chris Rock (above) said this in response to the black community’s reaction to the O.J. verdict. He couldn’t understand why many within that community were celebrating one man’s justification in the murders of his ex-wife and her friend. He pointed out that the verdict did nothing for the people celebrating it, the verdict only helped Orenthal James Simpson.

Rock’s words rattle around inside my head every time I hear a sports fan refer to his favorite team as “we”. This phenomenon is endemic (and I would say fuels) to sports talk radio shows, as callers give their $0.02 as to how their team can improve. They’ll say something to the effect of,

We could win more games if only we had drafted Vince Young or if we had a better offensive line.

Admittedly in the past I have done this in conversations (and sometimes still catch myself doing it, old habits die hard) without much thought.

Had a good friend in college who consistently pointed out that there is no “we” as long as we are not part of the actual team. We all thought he was crazy, but it seems that he is right. It is strange to hear people, who are not part of a team, much less the organization, refer to that team as “we.”

This point became very obvious to me after the University of Texas (my alma mater) foot ball team won the 2006 National Championship. Did I enjoy the outcome? Immensely.

In fact, I ended up hugging a grown man in celebration. The experience was special and I wasn’t even at the game. Yet Rock’s words help to put things in perspective,

What did we win?

Absolutely nothing save some moments of euphoria and so-called bragging rights, is there anything more fleeting?

Titans punch the Texans in the Gut, Again

After appearing lifeless for the first 3 quarters of today’s match up against the Tennessee Titans, the Houston Texans roared back into the game, scoring 29 points in the 4th Quarter take a 36-35 lead. Yet Titans QB Kerry Collins rallied his team to set up Rob Bironas’ game winning field goal.

Final Score: Titans 38, Texans 36

Texans backup QB Sage Rosenfels, who entered for injured starter Matt Schaub, for the 2nd straight year nearly pulled out an improbable comeback against the Titans only to be thwarted at the end.

This was an entertaining game even though Titans starting QB Vince Young did not take one snap because of injury.

Will the Texans ever get over on Young’s Titans? It doesn’t seem that way.

Personally, I was actually pulling for the Texans to win it given the improbable way they came back in the 4th Quarter. Also, given that my man VY did not participate, I wasn’t going to mind if the Titans did lose. I like to think of myself as a Vince Young fan first and then a fan of any particular NFL team, that team being the one he plays on.

Had the Texans drafted Young, a Texans fan I would be. Yet even though I’ve lived in Houston most of my life, I’m not a Texans fan, especially since they have no history here in the city. Quite frankly, I never got wrapped up in all the hoopla when Houston was awarded an expansion franchise.

I even think it comical to see all these diehard Texans fans, not to mention the so-called “long time” Texans fans who call the local sports radio shows. There is no way that kind of loyalty (in terms of a sports team) can exist for a team which hasn’t even been here for 10 years.

In Honor of Vince Young’s upcoming visit to Reliant Stadium

To ready ourselves for the upcoming Titans-Texans matchup this coming Sunday at Reliant Stadium, here’s a clip from the play which ended last year’s showdown.

That’s right, a video of Vince Young’s game-winning touchdown run over his hometown team whose braintrust passed him up in the draft because they had David Carr.

Enjoy Texans fan…