McNair's issue with help at start puzzles me


Sometimes Bob McNair makes excuses.

I was quite surprised Monday morning when I read this one in Dale Robertson’s column about how things went after he was awarded the expansion team that first took the field in 2002:

He had to pay a king's ransom, to boot. No, make that an emperor's ransom -- far more than any long-established team in the state has sold for. Then, once he handed over that $700 million expansion fee, his new National Football League business partners effectively said "Good luck and good-bye."

"The league did nothing to help us," McNair said. "We didn't have anybody come down to show us anything, (such as) how teams set up their books, how you prepare for the draft."

In retrospect, he admits he wishes he'd sought the counsel of his experienced peers, but at the time there was a pretty good reason why he chose not to.

"I'd been negotiating with them over the price of the team," McNair said.

"They were trying to get as high a price as they could, and I was trying to get a reasonable price," he said. "After you've gone through that, you're not real confident talking to those folks and asking for advice - not after they've just finished trying to take every nickel you have.

"I mean, how much could I trust them? I had to learn who would be honest and candid with me. That took some time."

So in hindsight, McNair needed more handholding as the Texans opened for business? That’s fine, but how unrealistic is it to expect the league to offer him some sort of mentoring? How weak is it to say he needed it?

It’s easy for a billionaire businessman to address that issue. You hire people who know how to get a team off the ground. I thought that was part of the rational for going with Dom Capers as the initial coach, because he was the initial coach in Carolina.

The last few times we’ve heard from McNair, he’s done poorly with his message. He took pats on the back at an owners meeting about the Texans' great comeback against Baltimore as a sign the team is on the right track, failing to miss one gigantic point -- Houston lost that game, and ultimately nine others.

Now he’s sounds like he’s complaining about the lack of coaching the league gave him at the start.

Owners want your money as you become a partner, they want to chalk you up as a win when you’re on their team’s schedule. No sympathy here for McNair if he didn’t figure that would be the case.