June 20th, 2011

Houston Sports Franchise: A Bit Rank

When I came across this blog post on the Chron, I did a double take. Apparently ESPN has done what they do best: Subjectively measure something (”Ultimate Team Rankings“) based on criteria that may or may not exist. “Subjectively” seems to mean just that. So, of course when Houston doesn’t rank particularly high in any categories, we get to throw our arms up and cry foul.

“No respect,” huh? That’s something that has to be earned (so says my father).

The way we rank (overall):
Houston Rockets #37
Houston Texans #77
Houston Astros #88

Out of the 122 franchises comprising of the total number of NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams, Houston does its part holding up the bottom half. Can you say you’re surprised? I really hope not. Are you going to pull a Dangerfield? Oh, please don’t.


Houston sports used to be a bit of a hobby for me. Now just a decayed shell of a blog, Fourth and Fifty was once the apple of my eye. In fact, I once had the pleasure of “reporting” on one of the Houston Chronicle’s subjective rankings of sports value in the city. University of Houston’s athletic programs were ranked first. Mass hysteria did not ensue. Lack of respect was not cited. The Astros, Rockets and Texans still did not make the top third of the ranking.

But as a city we must rise up as one to defend our honor, even though Houston franchises can’t seem to substantially beat our traffic problems in The Loop Scoop’s hosted poll (H-Town Showdown: #3 Houston Transit vs. #6 Houston Sports Teams). When the sports overlords in Bristol, CT put their heel into our chest… that’s a different story. At least the topic must be presented as an injustice to the people, in the case the commenters on Chron.com seem to be more steeped in reality than the author.

The only injustice that I see at all in this ranking is the lack of Major League Soccer representation. Unlike some of our on staff writers, I tend to like futbol. I would contend that the Houston Dynamo would rank a lot higher on this list and with the new stadium on the horizon, that seeding might even rise higher.


With the Astros touting new ownership, maybe we can expect some good things (like investing in players on the field). With the Rockets looking at a post-Yao world, perhaps we can find a reliable center (that doesn’t need Adamantium feet). With the Texans staring down the barrel of a lockout, we can pretend they haven’t underachieved (6-10, 8-8, 8-8, 9-7, and 6-10 records since 2006).

There’s a lot to look forward to (maybe), but no reason to look back on this ESPN poll with any angst. They probably got it right.

— Paul


robes — Monday, June 20, 2011 5:54 pm

Your defense of Houston sports is soccer? It’s the 5th? most popular sport in the US… The most popular in the world maybe, but this is a US ranking. I also doubt we would dent the top 100 worldwide for soccer popularity.

Largest error in ranking is time, if you completed same pole mid 90’s or early 00’s when the Rocket’s and Astro’s were making their presence known, this ranking will look different. Other than Andre Johnson, who is our Bagwell? Biggio? Drexler? Olajuwon?

ESPN got it right now, but those who remember Clutch City… Know this city is good for more.

Paul — Monday, June 20, 2011 9:29 pm

That’s ok, Robes. It wasn’t a defense, just a point to make. The Dynamo are the only team in Houston currently investing in their product. As a fan of sports and a fan of the city I respect that more than handing out contract extensions to middling coaches and trying to play moneyball.

Your points are my points. The value of the franchise trickles down from the top. There can be no Bagwells, Biggios, Dream Shakes or Glides around without ownership willing to make contracts happen or at least cultivate the talent in the farm system. This ain’t the 90s or early 00s. No reason to keep living in that era. Let’s just hope for a new one. A new one with deeper pockets.

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