Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NFL Week 6: Ravenous Fanbase Devours Quarterback: 2013 Edition

This is slowly becoming a yearly ritual: A beleagured quarterback, underperforming in the opinions -- sometimes valid, oftentimes invalid, or at least exaggerated -- of fans. A fanbase runs out of patience, and barks wildly for a change -- regardless if the backup QB is by any measure of common sense a worse option. A tenable hate-hate relationship that has been brewing for months finally boils over, and a multitude fans get to show their (lack of cl)ass. Last year it was Matt Cassell in Kansas City, cheered after being felled by an injury in his own home stadium. This year -- at basically the identical point in the season no less -- it is Houston and Matt Schaub.

Now, Sunday's performance by the Texans, at home, against the until-then pushover St. Louis Rams, was certainly a debacle of immense proportions. The Texans gained twice as many yards as the Rams, yet the Rams were able to score 3 times as many points, thanks to multiple penalties and 3 deep-in-opposing-territory turnovers -- none of which were attributed to Schaub. In the midst of a statistically-good, interception-free game, Shaub's leg and ankle get pinned under him while taking a sack. As Schaub limps off the field, many -- enough to be easily heard at least -- in Houston's now ravenous, vulture-like fanbase began to cheer. When backup QB T.J. Yates jogged in to replace him, the cheers doubled in volume and intensity.

Is this where we've devolved to as a society? Easy answer: yes. It was but 2 or so weeks ago that some Texan fan showed up at Schaub's private home, and, by some reports, chewed and/or cursed him out, by others, simply took pictures. You'll forgive us on Mars if we tend to believe the more numerous reports of the former. How long until one of these confrontations turn violent? How long until some fan finally makes good on a Twitter threat? I think that day is coming. These things can't keep happening without eventually spilling over. I hope and pray that I am completely wrong here.

However, the sad took a turn for the comically-fateful when Yates, merely a few plays later, threw a 98-yard pick-6 (something Schaub had finally avoided for the first time in 5 games). And then, a few minutes later, threw another costly interception. Sweet justice, if even you have to shed a tear for Yates' golden opportunity gone sour. Schaub, like many of the other unreasonably-beleagured QBs, is a good, quality signal-caller, one going thru a bad stretch. For him (4 straight games with a pick-6), a horrifically-bad stretch even. But there's no reason to act petulantly and throw out the baby with the bathwater. There is no sensible measure that says the Texans are a better team with T.J. Yates under center than Schaub. The job is only Schaub's to lose -- if he can't right whatever mental blocks he's going thru -- not Yates to win. Give the guy a chance to come thru the other side of the fire.

Of course, we're seeing the ignorant, there-is-a-reason-why-you-don't-make-personnel-decisions fan all over the place. In San Francisco, *some* so-called fans are calling for the end of Kaepernick, judging him for having the audacity to not throw to receivers who can't get open. In New York, some fans are actually calling for the end of 2-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. Take a moment to digest that. Meanwhile, others are saying to dump high-draft rookie Geno Smith in favour of undrafted rookie Matt Simms, because the former has the gall to make rookie mistakes now and again.

Earth would be a much, much better sportsworld if the only occasion that saw fans uttering the names of professional ballplayers would be when discussing potential trades on their pointless fantasy teams.

- Hater Alert #1:
New Orleans Saints inability to move the ball in the 4th quarter, giving an inconsistent Tom Brady and his New Englanders multiple chances to win. *rolls eyes*

- Hater Alert #2:
Detroit Tigers inability to protect a 4-run 8th inning lead against a team being no-hit in 15 of the 16 innings so far, letting the Boston Red Sox jog around the bases and right back into the ALCS. *rolls eyes*

Would you teams please kill the monster when you have the chance? (It's a New York/Boston rivalry thing. If you don't know, under which rock should we mail you your personalized sports almanac?)

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