Don't Let Matt Schaub Be 'The One That Got Away'

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Don't Let Matt Schaub Be 'The One That Got Away'
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Houston sports fans are notorious for giving up on players a little bit early. Whether by trade, free agency, early retirement or other means, the pressure of the boo-birds, naysayers and other negative influences among Houston sports fans and sometimes the media has often led to premature departures of players who weren’t really given much of a chance to develop and show what they’ve got.

From the recent onslaught of criticism and lack-luster performance in Week 1 against the New York Jets, I fear that Matt Schaub is headed that direction too. Not only him, but also Steve Slaton – which is absolutely absurd by the way. He led the AFC in Total Yards from Scrimmage last year! That type of talent doesn’t just dissipate. Get off Steve’s back! He’ll be alright.

Now back to Schaub…

In the early moments of the 2008 season, fans were quick to judge Schaub as could be heard by resounding chant of “Rosenfels” reverberating through Reliant Stadium when the team opened up at Home against the Dolphins. Looking adversity of both the fans and the game in the face, Schaub took the bull by the horns and drove downfield to win that game in the last seconds aided by the magnificent play of Andre Johnson.

For Houston fans though, this wasn’t good enough. The chants for “Rosenfels” continued each Home game until unfair injury to Schaub finally gave the negative minded fans their wish. Rosenfels got his chance to shine, but didn’t shine very bright. His “helicopter debacle” versus the Colts led the fans to chant for Schaub’s return.

When Schaub was able to return, he was a man possessed as he picked apart defenses and led the Texans to a magnificent end to the season. Everyone seemed to suddenly have a restored confidence in Schaub and were looking forward to the 2009 season.
Yet after his freak ankle injury in the Pre-Season and a poor Game 1 performance, it seems as if fans are ready to press “eject” again. It’s absolutely ridiculous and completely proving of their fair-weather fannedness (to make up a word).

Schaub is a talented leader who possesses the talent to lead a team to the playoffs and beyond, but like any player, he has to be given a chance to prove himself. The 2009 season is his chance. If only the negative Houston fans could look at things optimistically and like any other thing in life, bad games are learning experiences for players like Schaub to build upon to make themselves better for the next.

For some reason though, a lot of Houston fans just don’t get it. As soon as someone has a bad game or gets injured, they are calling for a trade. It’s been seen time and time again through Houston sports history and has come back to burn the Houston fans as the cast out players have gone on to have excellent success elsewhere.

Last year Rocket fans were calling for Rafer Alston’s head on a stick. He got traded to the Orlando Magic and in turn helped them get to the NBA Finals. Where did the Rockets end up? Losing to the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs. They did the same for Robert Horry in the 90’s, saying that he was getting too old. He went on to win several championships with the Lakers and the Spurs.

Then of course, who could forget Joe Morgan’s exeunt from the Astros to the Cincinnati Reds in 1971 for a number of players who would never amount to nothing. JOE MORGAN!!! Then what about Nolan Ryan being too old? He certainly seemed to handle batters well in a Rangers uniform.

The list goes on and on and while yes, some of it is due to stupid moves by these Houston sports teams’ brass, a lot of the pressure to get them out of town originates from the fans.

I’ve lived in major markets with major sports teams all over the US including New York and Kansas City and Houston is the only one where I have seen fans be so aggressively negative and eager to jump to giving a player the boot. It’s also the only market where I have heard home town fans actually boo their home team. As a Houston fan and native myself, it’s actually disgusting to hear people who claim to be fans boo their teams rather than rally behind them in a time of adversity.

To the negative Houston fan’s credit, Houston teams have let down the fans time and time again by getting their hopes of having a “playoff season” only to fall short in the waning moments, but it could in-fact be the departure of the “ones that got away.”

Regardless of why so many Houston sport seasons have ended in blunder, the fact remains that the majority of Houston fans are quick to judge and bring the town mob with torches and pitchforks. Before jumping on this train ride of negativity for Houston Texans like Matt Schaub and Steve Slaton, think about the ones that got away. It’s not time to give up hope yet.

Let the 2009 season play out. If Schaub is unable to play 14 games, doesn’t have 3500 yards and has more interceptions than touchdowns – then it will be time to bring out the riot gear. But now is the time to sit back, take a deep breath and support your boys because there is a long season ahead and the Texans will be much better with fans that rally behind them, not against them.

Go Texans!

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