Sunday, September 11, 2011

Football on 9-11 Crushes the Grinch of Terrorism

This weekend we memorialize the tragic terrorist attack of 9-11 ten years ago. The date falls on Sunday, of the NFL's opening weekend.

Though the official kick-off to the football weekend is Thursday through the Monday Night Football game on September 12th, today is the day that we are officially back to football. Thursday night was like Christmas Eve: sure, everyone was saying "Merry Christmas", but the presents were still cloaked in wrapped anonymity beneath the tree at home. And while the socks from Aunt Clara were the one gift you were allowed to open, the good stuff was still waiting until the magic of Christmas morning.

Today is Christmas for football fans. Packers robes flanked by Lions slippers, morning coffee from a Cowboys's all good.

And like the Grinch hoping to gaze upon Americans wallowing in grief, terrorism instead witnesses something amazing. We honor those who died a decade ago on that fateful morning, but we celebrate with unabashed arrogance the spirit and passion of a lifestyle by which the terrorists are so threatened.

And there is no greater metaphor for the American spirit of teamwork and strategy, resiliency and endurance, and conquest through dedicated commitment and sacrifice than the great American game of football played at the highest level: The NFL!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Big Play Scoring

Big Play Scoring


Points Play Description

1 First Down to First Down
1 Gain of 20+ yards
1 Field Goal
1 4th Down Conversion
2 Gain of 40+ yards
2 Touchdown
2 2-Point Conversion
3 Touchdown of 50+ yards


Points Play Description

1 Sack
1 Forced Punt
1 Hold Opponent to Red Zone Field Goal
1 Fumble Recovery
1 Interception
2 Forced Turnover on Downs
2 Fumble Recovery in/returned to Red Zone
2 Interception in/returned to Red Zone
2 Safety
3 Defensive Touchdown

Special Teams

Points Play Description

1 Punt/Kickoff Return Team Pinned inside 5-yard line
1 Punt/Kickoff Return Team returns ball beyond the 50-yard line
2 Punt/Kickoff Return Team returns ball to Red Zone
2 Onside Kickoff Executed Successfully
3 Punt/Kickoff Return for a touchdown

Remember, points earned are points kept. No play, no matter how boneheaded, results in Big Play Points being subtracted.

Big Play Scoring (and its associated components including, but not limited to, its proprietary system of weighted scoring for varying levels of “Big Plays”) is the original idea of Michael A. Knapp, aka Four-9---The Paper Texan, with All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Texans Fans Ready to Feast on Some Football!

The problem for card-carrying members of PETA that attend bullfights is that regardless of the silver lining they may take away from the contest, in the end they have to admit that the player for whom they rooted never really had a shot, Houston Texans helmet design logo pun intended! In the past, despite some impressive, if fleeting, moments that perhaps included goring the matador, by the end of the day there was no doubt regarding the source of the beef for the dinner upon which our team's opponent feasted: The Houston Texans themselves!

On Monday Night Football's pre-Season 41 premiere at Reliant Stadium, Texans fans were ready (finally!) for some football. With high profile starters (Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing) out of the game to nurse non-season-opener-threatening injuries, there was a chance to see what the younger fresh draft choices and undrafted free agents could do. Of more than a little interest was how new Defensive Coordinator Wade Philips' new 3-4 scheme could provide some degree of hope in the form of improvement for the team's maligned defense.

Pre-season is about making the most of the opportunity to evaluate young talent, and the decision on who to keep so that they in one form or another can contribute to the organization's continued development this season and in the future. Potential players kept on to fill the void in the event of unfortunate injuries to starters, or to be traded to acquire additional talent for a more appropriate fit for the team, have the spotlight squarely on them during pre-season games.

Lester Jean, Matt Leinart, and first round draft choice JJ Watt played very well, but the most impressive stat of the night was Neil Rackers going 2-2 with field goals from 49 and 47 yards. Yet to be determined is if Mario Williams can adequately assimilate into a two-point stance as an outside linebacker and contribute like this team needs. But with a host of athletes competing for the limited number of defensive back positions available, it appears that the one glaring weakness of the team is going to be vastly improved this year.

It is important not to be carried away one way or another another based upon a single pre-season game win or loss. But the Houston Texans prevailing upon the New York Jets 20-16 in the style with which they won is certainly not a reason for concern. So for NFL opponents that have the Houston Texans circled as a day on which to feast upon great barbecue, they may want to first make sure they themselves are not on the menu!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tiger Brews Rock Bottom's Up Cheer

Throughout the past year and a half's most precipitous fall from grace any athlete has ever endured, Tiger Woods suffered the deserved slings and arrows associated with his scruples-deficient personal life. But one thing you could never call him was the person who just played a round of golf so pitiful he would not have a decent shot at winning even your local country club's weekend tournament. Until now.

The once unanimously worshipped as the world's best golfer ever has hit rock bottom. Slithering off to the parking lot of a major championship with failing to have even made the cut necessary to continue competing through the weekend, Tiger is no longer anything but the curious case of exhausted talent apparently incapable of ever winning ANY tournament again, much less a major championship.

Experts in the field of psychiatry, therapy, and psychology speak of the prerequisite to hit rock bottom before one can return to a level of greatness associated with the ultimate superiority and domination. But without the desire and commitment to do what is necessary to improve in the first place, rock bottom can in the end be nothing more than an uncomfortable surface upon which to rest in perpetuity, diminished by the luxury of millions of dollars to buffer the otherwise jagged edges of discomfort.

The question is no longer if Tiger is where he needs to be to finally mount a comeback, but if he has what it takes to ignore the comfort of his failure and instead court the pain of exertion and effort necessary to once again be the best there ever was.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen...Your 2011 Houston Texans!

Colts Home Loss 0-1

Dolphins Away Win 1-1

Saints Away Loss 1-2

Steelers Home Loss 1-3

1-3 for the first quarter of season

Raiders Home Win 2-3

Ravens Away Loss 2-4

Titans Away Win 3-4

Jaguars Home Win 4-4

3-1 for the second quarter of season

Browns Home Win 5-4

Buccaneers Away Loss 5-5

Jaguars Away Win 6-5

Falcons Home Loss 6-6

2-2 for the third quarter of season

Bengals Away Win 7-6

Panthers Home Win 8-6

Colts Away Loss 8-7

Titans Home Win 9-7

3-1 for the final quarter of season

At 9-7, the Houston Texans in their tenth season for the first time have a winning record in their division (4-2), and have only their second ever winning record overall, but once again fail to make the playoffs. Bob McNair says he cannot in good conscience fire a coach who has delivered a winning product for him and the city of Houston.

You heard it here first, of course!

Steve Williams Errs Dirty Laundry; Gives Tiger Single Point of Focus

Steve Williams may in the end be not only the contributor as caddy to 13 of Tiger Woods' 14 major championships, but also the dire-strait last ditch effort for the eventual comeback of the once sure-fire bet to surpass Jack Nicklaus' 18 total majors.

Tiger in the past 20 months since his Thanksgiving Holiday unintentional game of chicken with a fire hydrant and his neighbor's front lawn Sycamore Tree has been unable to focus a single point of attack against the myriad of distracting forces preventing his resurrection back to the top of the golf world. He's been like a camper trying to fight off a thousand mosquitoes! Injuries, shame, diminished game and mental toughness...even his very identity has suffered.

Think about it. For Tiger to have lost it all --- the fame, the glory, the money, the respect, the lifestyle (secret and otherwise) --- he has got to be madder than Augustus Gloop at Fat Camp! He may even be mad at himself, though that's a stretch not seen since your last Bikram Yoga class. And no matter how much he tried to harness the negative energy of what ailed him to achieve some positive level of improvement, there just was no appreciable synergy in return for his efforts to vanquish the sum of varied maladies, if even possible.

But then Steve Williams caddied for Adam Scott who won the WGC Bridgestone at Firestone. In and of itself, that alone would probably have equated to nothing more than just one more mosquito swarming around Tiger's head. But Williams had to speak up and fan the flames of what were otherwise probably only the dying embers of the remains of any potential comeback for Tiger.

That did it. Tiger no longer has to manufacture the undeserved, unearned, and unwarranted disdain for TMZ, Elin, or a no-longer-adoring fanbase. Instead, he can singularly with lazer-focus project his mining of the necessary energy to finally mount a successful comeback. He will not be ridiculously at odds with sanity relative to the people, himself included, to whom he did such destruction, but instead to a chirpish ex-caddy.

Thank you, Steve, for making golf interesting again!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

For Texans Fans, Waiting is the Hardest Part

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers said it best when they warned and lamented that "You take it on faith, you take it to the heart, the waiting is the hardest part."

The fact is that the Houston Texans, NFL record holders for the longest period without a playoff appearance, have been asking you the fans year after year to take on faith and take it to the heart that they have finally put the pieces together to make a playoff run. But year after year they fail to deliver as players, coaches, and an organization. There have always been fantastic excuses masquerading as explanations as to why they always come up short.

But in their sixth year as General Manager and Head Coach, Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak will no longer have any viable modus operandi other than to go for broke, because their bank of good will for being "good guys" who "do things the right way" and fill their roster with "character guys" is dead-flat empty.

Respected defensive schemer Wade Phillips, changed assignments for star player Mario Williams, and the acquisition of help for the NFL's worst ever secondary in the form of Jonathan Joseph at cornerback and Danieal Manning at safety are going to have to finally be enough to balance out an offense that is good enough and deserves to be in the playoffs.

Additionally, if DeMeco Ryans can play to a level prior to last year's week #6 season-ending injury, if Brian Cushing can bounce back from his sophomore slump, and if J.J. Watt can deliver as a first-rate first round draft pick, there likely is indeed reason for optimism for the Houston Texans.

But right now, all we can do is wait...and that's the hardest part.