getting bullish on the texans

Lance Zierlein's 5 reasons Houston fans aren't warming up to the red-hot Texans

5 reasons Houston fans aren't warming up to the red-hot Texans

Bill O'Brien Houston Texans timeout
Time out: Is Texans coach Bill O'Brien the problem? Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

You don't love the Houston Texans. Well, it seems like most of you don't. That has become evident over the course of this season. Some of you like them, but you don't love them. I'll admit that I thought winning might change things for you, but it hasn't. In fact, the level of disappointment after the Texans win over the Jets was comparable to that of a loss dropping them out of the playoff hunt.

They have won 10 of 11 (which will end up being just the third double digit win total in team history), will win the division their division for 3 of the last 4 years, and currently have the No. 2 seed in the AFC. This is all AFTER starting 0-3.

So why do the Texans not have your heart?

You don't like Billy
Anytime you have a conversation with someone about why they aren't buying into this Texans team, there is a good chance that Bill O'Brien's name is going to come up. Fans just don't like him. They don't like his demeanor. He's too "red-ass" for them I guess. I know that over the years I've heard people say they wanted more fire from their coaches or managers, but when they actually get it, they don't like it.

Now, admittedly, there are plenty of people whose issues with O'Brien have just as much to do with clock management or "play-calling." I feel like that is fair. I don't think he is as bad a play-caller as everyone paints him to be, but I do have an issue with this team's inability to convert FGs into TDs in the red zone. O'Brien has to own some of that. Same goes for that game management. Yuck. However, when people say Deshaun Watson succeeds in spite of O'Brien or struggles because of him, you know that it's at least a little personal.

It's just not pretty
Let's face it: When the Texans win, it's usually a little ugly. Sometimes it's a lot ugly. The pick-6 win against the Bills. The messy FG fest vs. Dallas. The missed FG vs. Denver. The non-punt win vs. the Colts. The late W vs. the Jets. These aren't the wins that good teams usually have in a single season.

Because of "bad wins," many fans aren't treating this like a 10-win team, they are treating it like fool's gold. They just don't play consistently dominantly on either side of the ball. They need a definable identity.

Deshaun comes back to earth
Deshaun Watson's rookie season was can't-miss football. He had 19 touchdown passes (and 21 total TDs) in just six starts and seven total games. Insane production. Watson was on a tear that had rarely been seen in NFL history before he got hurt. Unfortunately for Watson and the Texans, I think many fans and media members believed that 2017 was the norm and that just wasn't and isn't fair to Watson. Defensive coordinators get paid too and they went to work on Watson studying his tendencies and weaknesses and have game-planned accordingly. Watson is having a solid season as he continues to grow and learn the game, but it feels like a letdown to many fans. It's not fair, but it's reality.

The Astros/Rockets effect
I honestly believe that the silent culprit that has killed the energy around the Texans is the success of the Astros and Rockets in recent years. Winning a World Series set a new standard. There is no way around it. The Astros made us feel an excitement level that hasn't been experienced in this city since the mid '90s.

The D word
Oh, and by the way, this team is lovable. People love the players and love to cheer for them.The Rockets followed that up with a 60+ win season, an MVP season from James Harden and team with great chemistry who played with great passion and effort. Both of these teams had the ability to blow the doors off of opponents.

---

Continue reading this story on SportsMap.  Lance Zierlien co-hosts The Bench weekday mornings on ESPN 97.5.