by James Ginsberg
Last year at about this time, I was praising the glory, that is football, and praise it I still do. But I can no longer include the Oilers in such adulation. Like any red-blooded American male, I love sports in general and my home team in particular. But stay or go, I'll never love the Oilers again.
A few weeks ago, however, I would have had the Oilers, if they were willing to have me. "Give the word, Bud, and my season tickets are renewed," was my position. Of course, no word would be given, but I knew it was never the Oilers' fault. The players and coaches wanted to stay, and only owner Adams wanted to leave for greener pastures, fields, the color of money. The actual team still respected its fans, still wanted me, and so I still wanted the Oilers to stay in Houston - or so it seemed.
But then I watched Jeff Fisher's last press conference, after what was probably the Oilers' last game here. Coach Fisher restated his desire to stay in Houston, to remain loyal. He was planning to hold various training camps here. He didn't want the potential move to enter his equations. He had nothing to do with it. His players had nothing to do with it. "It's a business decision," Fisher claimed for the umpteenth time.
And one week later, Jeff was in Tennessee drumming up "business." Bud Adams needed more money, and so Fisher was sent to Nashville, Memphis and every other hillbilly burg to shake a few hands, kiss a little ass and suck some more cash out of the hicks. So much for loyalty.
Sure, Adams is Jeff's boss, but that only means that Fisher would have to coach in Tennessee and not swindle it. Would Bum Phillips have gone? Would Rudy T? You feel crazy just asking the question, but not when it comes to Fisher and his Oilers crew. You must know they really don't have to go to Nashville if they don't want to - no gun is being put to their heads. McNair, Jeffries, Bishop, all of them can ask to be cut or traded so that they need not be a part of this reprehensible move. They can hold out and not play if such a request is denied - they do all of the time when they want more money.
Ahhh, but therein lies the point - the players do want more money, just as Fisher does and just as Bud. Adams may be greedy, but that greed is at least partially motivated by skyrocketing, player salaries. After all, if the Oilers offered to play for Adams in Houston at half-price, he'd turn back from the Nashville trail in a second. No, all of our "loyal" players smell the greener pasture as well and long to move into it. And they can go with my blessing, for the Oilers were never truly my team nor Houston's to begin with - we aren't dollars. I gave the Oilers a lot of my money and all of my heart, and Fisher and his players have told me that just wasn't good enough for them. So be it. I won't miss them because they will not miss me.
Ginsburg is a junior political