Bad-Hire Bob: Why The Houston Texans Are Doomed To Failure
I am going to save Houston Texans gnomes from any further needless arguments over what is wrong with the team. The owner, the head coach, the defensive coordinator, the general manager and the hash-slinger at the hot-dog stand variously have been blamed for the Texans' continued dismal showing, yet there is only one among them who spans the entire life of the team, and that is the owner. Hear me out.
Allow me to start with the obligatory "Bob McNair is a nice guy" statement. Now that we have that out of the way, I will explain why Bob "Mr. Potato Head" McNair is the root of all Texans' evil.
It's as simple as this: Bob McNair does not know how to hire talent. Period. When you think about it, he has no record that says he ever knew how to hire top-notch talent, including his stint as owner of his own company, Cogen Technologies. I mean, how smart do you have to be to sell electricity in Houston? The Utilities industry is sort of like the Banking industry in that regard. You only have to be smart enough to get into the industry and make the right connections; strong management skills, including the ability to hire top-notch talent, aren't really a requirement.
When you have no particular skill set for hiring good people and you have the bad luck to hire bad employees, the problem simply perpetuates itself when those bad management hires are themselves making bad hiring decisions. Again, you have management people with no particular skill set for hiring and no track record of having done so successfully who are themselves hiring people. The problem simply multiplies with each bad managerial hire.
Case in point: Gary Kubiak. Was he a bad hire? Obviously. So, why did Bob McNair hire him? Well, not for the right reasons. Why do you think so many organizations passed on Kubiak before nice-guy Bob took the bait? Because really, really good organizations know how to assess talent. Kubiak was not then, is not now, and never will be a great talent as a head coach. Savvy organizations did their homework and passed on Kubiak. Maybe McNair hired him on a "gut feeling" or because he is a nice guy, or because he felt sorry for him, or because he is an Aggie, or for any combination of those reasons, but he certainly did not hire him for his intelligence or his demonstrated potential to become a great head coach. The organizations who said "no" to Kubiak have moved on and have made the play-offs in the years since rejecting Kubiak. The Texans are left with a bad hire in Kubiak, the bad hires Kubiak has brought on board and the perpetual underachievers Kubiak and Rick Smith have managed to assemble and call a football team.
Unless he just gets lucky, McNair will never have shot at hiring a great coach because hiring well requires the kind of hiring experience and ability that he lacks so sorely. McNair needs to contract with a professional recruiter to hire a great head coach and great GM who have a proven track record for talent evaluation. Until that happens, the hapless Texans will continue their long (but getting shorter) journey toward the NFL record of most consecutive seasons without a winning record or a play-off appearance.