Friday funnies: Rockets make up for pain of watching Matt Schaub, but Astros sure won't


Us sports fans are a spoiled bunch.

Any day of the week an athlete can lead his or team to victory and inspire others, news can break about a scandal, an announcer can drool over someone in the crowd at an event or the power can go out at the Super Bowl.

No one could have foreseen just how awesome the Super Bowl turned out to be, even if that meant watching Shannon Sharpe fumbling to refresh everyone’s knowledge on how electricity works. The Superdome may never host a Super Bowl again, but what a way to go out — a great game and freak power outage made for easily the most riveting NFL game in recent memory. It’s no wonder broadcast rights for NFL games are as high as they’ve ever been.

It’s always tough to say goodbye to the NFL. For the first few weeks it's gone you still find yourself logging on the computer to adjust a fantasy lineup, only to be hit by a wall of disappointment when you can’t claim anyone on waivers. Thankfully, other sports exist to fill in the time spent no longer watching football for hours on end every weekend in the fall.

College basketball is as crazy as ever. For the fifth straight week the No. 1 team has been upset and February has just began. With first-round action of the NCAA Tournament coming to the Erwin Center March 22-23 there’s a chance to get a closer look at some of the nation’s best teams. The Longhorns don’t have their dancing shoes on this year but whichever YMCA team they face at the end of the year probably has one or two players worth keeping an eye on, too.

The NBA has its usual glut of storylines, and though the Spurs lead the league in wins, another Texas team is staking claim to "NBA's most exciting." The Rockets are starting to awake from the post-Yao period and have a terrific crop of fresh faces that have been scoring in bunches. James Harden and his beard have brought hope to a city that still clings to memories of a World Series appearance eight years ago. Remember that song Chamillionaire and a few other Houston rappers released in 2005, Astros fans? To quote the song, "Turn It Up," “Couldn’t win the Series is what they thought, so now we provin’ it.” There’s irony somewhere in there, but Houston has suffered enough just by having to watch Matt Schaub play quarterback so Chamillionaire gets off easy this time. Something tells me he won’t make an Astros-themed song ever again.

Speaking of the Astros — whose opening day payroll is set to be around $25 million: they have some work to do. However, it’s work that should have been taken care of before now. Trades and smarter draft picks have started to replenish the team’s farm system, but there’s no immediate help on the way. This can only mean one thing: free games! Seriously, the Astros don’t have any room to charge admission to watch a team that is collectively paid less than some individual players like Alex Rodriguez, Johan Santana and Cliff Lee. At the very least fans should be allowed to bring their own beer, pets and other forms of entertainment into Minute Maid Park. Being the worst team in baseball isn’t easy, but here’s to the Astros — good luck making any headway in the AL West this year.

There’s never a shortage of entertainment in the wide world of sports, and if you’ll join me I’ll try to bring you the most interesting, funny or perplexing news each week along with some thoughts of my own.