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On Sunday evening, the Houston Texans refused to pack it in and instead beat the Indianapolis Colts in the final game of the season.
Yet instead of acknowledging head coach Lovie Smith for refusing to let the team tank, the Texans fired their first-year head coach.
January always brings change in the NFL, so firings aren’t unexpected.
But the Texans’ decision to fire Lovie should not be dismissed or taken lightly for its part of an alarming pattern of mistreatment by the team relating to Black head coaches.
In 2021, Houston gave David Culley his first head coaching opportunity in his forty-plus-year coaching career. Culley, an assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens, was also the only Black head coach hired out of seven vacancies.
He made history that season, something he’d done previously. At 65, he was the oldest first-time head coach in NFL history.
But after history was made, the precarious reality of Culley’s situation settled in.
He walked into a dysfunctional team and organization, one lacking talent and leadership.
JJ Watt was gone, D’Andre Hopkins had been traded to the Cardinals, Deshaun Watson stepped away due to the sexual assault and misconduct allegations and Shaq Lawson was traded to the Jets.
The team suffered from the horrendous coaching and talent decisions made by former coach, Bill O’Brien, who was fired in 2020 after starting the season 0-4.
But the disarray wasn’t just on the field as team management was even worse.
The Texans tried to become the Patriots of the midwest, and the experiment backfired.
After firing former Patriots coach Bill O’Brien, they promoted Romeo Crennel, another member of the Patriots and Bill Belichick family tree, to head coach. He took over the 0-4 team and finished 4-12.
The Texans had previously brought in a vastly unqualified Jack Easterby, another former Patriots staff member, as their EVP of Football Operations. He’s the same Easterby that Sports Illustrated wrote this revealing and scathing feature on. Then they hired former Patriots GM Nick Caserio as their new GM.
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