Football is an emotional game, and fans certainly have every right to be outraged over subpar play from their teams. The emotional and visceral release provided by the game is one of the reasons so many people watch it. However, like everything else, there is a line, and when you're hacked off at your team, that line starts right about the point where you're cheering for the injury suffered by your starting quarterback. Some Texans fans crossed that line at Reliant Stadium on Sunday when Matt Schaub went down with a lower leg injury with 3:54 left in the third quarter of Houston's 38-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams. After the game, Schaub's teammates were, shall we say, not impressed by the lunatic fringe.
“It’s disgusting," left tackle Duane Brown said. "I don’t want to address them first; I want to address the fans that were there until the end cheering us on into the tunnel. We appreciate you loyal fans and the fans that stick by us. For the fans that cheered when he got hurt, that’s disgusting. You can feel how you want about him as a player, but this is his livelihood and how he provides for his family. When a man goes down and he is not able to get up, you don’t know what is wrong with him at that point; that could be the last play of his career and for you to applaud at that ... I have no words for that. Shout out to the fans that stick by us; we really appreciate y’all.”
It wouldn't be the first time someone in Houston took Schaub's recent on-field failures far too seriously -- one individual pulled into the driveway of the Schaub home last Tuesday and yelled obscenities from his car. This was done after Schaub set an NFL record with his fourth straight game with a pick-six, but most reasonable people would agree that there's no excuse for taking things this far.
“That is just tactless and tasteless," said running back Arian Foster. "I was extremely heated at that. They have to go home and look at themselves in the mirror and if they were born to hurt a man, that’s fine. They can do what they do. The fans can get emotional. That is just not how I was brought up. That is not the kind of man I am. I’ve got to go home and raise a daughter, and teach her right from wrong. That is just not something you do. I don’t care how you feel about a man. You don’t kick him when he is down.”
The Texans have lost four straight games. Head coach Gary Kubiak is under fire, and Wade Phillips' defense looked unusually porous against a Rams offense that generally struggles to score. Of course, backup quarterback T.J. Yates, who replaced Schaub, helped out by throwing an interception to Rams linebacker Alec Ogltree -- which Ogletree returned 98 yards for a touchdown with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.
Still, the venom directed at Schaub seemed to put things in perspective for a lot of unhappy Texans players.
“Yeah, that is disrespectful," Yates concluded. "The guy is laying there on the ground holding his ankle, and the fans are cheering. For all that guy has done for this city and this team, for the fans to be booing him when he is hurt on the ground, [that's] straight-up disrespectful.”
And that's the bigger picture right there. Matt Schaub may be a hot mess as a quarterback right now, but he's still a human being, and a decent one by most accounts. It would do a few people in Houston good to keep that in mind.