Welcome to another installment of our 32-part series, Better Know a Football Team.

Houston, We Have A Football Team?

The thing about genital warts is that they never really go away – you can go 6 months without a single appearance of one of “Satan’s hickeys,” and then, just when you think you’ve got everything under control . . . BAM! They’re back, and you’re stuck staying inside in front of your TV waiting for things to clear up, wondering why you even went to Thailand in the first place. And really, isn’t that the rub when it comes to genital warts? At least with other humiliating social diseases you know where you stand – you’re either sick or you’re not. None of this on again, off again malarkey.

In a lot of ways, the Houston Texans are very much the genital warts of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. By all accounts you expect them to be a really bad team – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of this generation. And to their credit, they have certainly had moments that fit that bill (after all, when they lost to San Francisco last season, did anyone even accuse them of taking a dive to get the draft pick? I think by then the occurrence of a Houston loss was way past the point of raising eyebrows). But then you look at the Texans’ record during the last 4 years –4-12, 5-11, 7-9, 2-14, and you get the sense that, kind of like genital warts, they’re not just going to go away that easily. Instead of just sucking to the point where even Jay Leno is piling on, they do things like win two consecutive season openers, against Dallas and Miami, and actually get folks thinking that they may only be a few players away from solid mediocrity.

Now, I wish that I could deliver a long, statistic-laden analysis of the Texans for you. And it would be great if I could run down the roster and have some opinions on the players. But I can’t. To be perfectly honest if there are athletes in Houston and they’re not named Yao or Roger, I’m probably not the guy who’s going to have the answers. I could have done some research on this, I suppose, but quite frankly as I write it is July 3rd and I had to work today and “research” of any type just isn’t going to happen. Not unless it involves the bottoms of many, many beer bottles. And besides, shouldn’t the analysis be left for, you know, the teams that are going to contend for something this season? If a mechanic is looking under the hood of a Hyundai, he’s not going to use the same tools as he would with a Ferrari. So with that in mind, here are some nuggets about the 2006 Texans:

Some little known facts about the Texans:

1 – The Houston Texans are, in fact, a professional football team.
2 – The Texans have never appeared on Monday Night Football
3 – In 2003, the Texans decided to save on expenses like salaries by playing without an offensive line.
4 – Sadly, the real David Carr died in 2004 after he was sacked for the 358th time that season. Since then, the Texans have just kept replacing him with look a-likes, like they did with Lassie. These replacements QBs can always be identified by their “new Carr smell.”

Dates For Houston Fans To Look Forward To:

1 – September 10 – Week 1. At Philly. Continuing their streak of surprise opening day performances, this game is nothing short of a lock for Houston – I’m so confident in the outcome I’m not even going to watch the game. This probably has more to do with Philly, who seems to need to begin every season in complete crisis mode, than it does with Houston. But the fact remains you do not want Philly in week 1 in your suicide pools. Trust me on this one, kids – by the time this game is over Eagles fans will be rending their garments and Rush Limbaugh will be sitting somewhere in an OxyContin induced haze, and waiting for the little blue pills to kick in.

2. – Week 5 (Bye Week- and don’t think this won’t be a lot more enjoyable at 1-3 than if they were 0-4. Plus, pizza party at Kubiak’s place).

3 – October 15 – Dallas @ Houston. Texas football. If you can’t hold on to the lamp, you can’t hold on to the football.

(Captain Caveman: Don’t forget April 28-29, 2007 – the NFL Draft. Ha!)

Most importantly, these are not your father’s Texans (nor are they your father’s genital warts) – remember that these guys are going to begin the 2006 campaign with the help of the #1 overall pick: a multi-talented running back who already has a career’s worth of highlight reel material and who many experts think could –

no, wait . . .

- A quarterback who happens to be a hometown hero and capped off a remarkable college career with one of the most impressive individual performances ever in a championship game

no, that’s not it either . . .

- Mario Williams. Uh-oh, there’s that familiar itching sensation again . . .