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Old 07-31-2004   #1
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Default Camping Indoors

More workouts moving indoors during camp
JOSEPH DUARTE
Houston Chronicle (click for entire story)
Copyright 2004

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The third installment of Camp Capers will offer a noticeably different feel this summer. A nice, cool breeze. Hoping to escape the sweltering Houston heat, Texans coach Dom Capers will conduct at least one-third of the 27 training camp workouts inside the team's climate-controlled facility. "If we can mix where we aren't constantly out in the heat and humidity every day," Capers said, "it will be in our best interest."

The 24-day training camp which begins with two workouts today at Reliant Park calls for the Texans to alternate days they practice outdoors. On days that involve two practices, the team will remain outside for two-hour practices in the morning and evening. Days that involve one workout, which will begin at 3 p.m., will be moved inside the team's practice bubble.

During their previous two training camps, also held in Houston, the Texans worked out almost exclusively outside. Other than moving some of the practices indoors, Capers wasn't planning any other changes this year. "We spent a lot of money for that bubble," defensive end Gary Walker said with a grin. "We need to use it. I think Dom is just trying to take care of us. Practicing inside at 3 p.m. makes a lot of sense. Everybody knows how hot it is around here."

Capers said the main reason behind the decision to hold at least nine workouts inside was a weather-friendly schedule during the early portion of the season. The Texans play August exhibitions at Pittsburgh and Denver. After opening the regular season at home against San Diego at Reliant Stadium, which features a retractable roof, the next three road trips are to Detroit, Kansas City and Tennessee in late September and mid-October.

To prepare for last season's opener in steamy South Florida, Capers worked his squad outdoors for most of camp. The Texans responded with a 21-20 win over Miami. "Miami had won 11 straight openers, and I think a big part of that was because the teams weren't ready to go in there and play in the heat and humidity," Capers said. "This year we open at home (Sept. 12), so we have the option of having the roof closed or open. And even when it's open, with the air conditioner it's not that much of a factor."
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Old 07-31-2004   #2
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At first, I missed the Lopez column and to my horror, I thought the Cowboys coverage had surpassed Duarte's Texans "coverage" today with that half page on the 'boys by McClain along with the 6"x6" mug shot of tuna. That still isn't right IMO. McClain is at 'boys camp all week so get ready for daily updates....oh boy.

The Chronicle sports editor is dan.cunningham@chron.com

Last edited by aj.; 07-31-2004 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 07-31-2004   #3
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Camping indoors - makes sense to me! Why suffer needlessly? Glad the schedule gives them a better choice this year. Last year they put themselves on the line to win that Miami game and I'm glad it panned out.

As for that dang newspaper in town .. quit buying it!! Hit them in the pocketbook and maybe it might make an impression.
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Old 07-31-2004   #4
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Thanks for the e-mail link. I just sent off an e-mail asking why the Houston Chronicle's most experienced NFL writer covers the Cowboys and the Titans and not the Texans. I just do not understand why we get the less experienced and more milquetoast offerings from the less experienced and arguably less talented writers for the local team. Seems fairly backwards to me.
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Old 07-31-2004   #5
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I like reading the daily newspaper. One subscription out of over a half-million circulation does nothing to them. It hurts me more than it hurts them if I quit subscribing to "prove a point." They are a monopoly in this city.

I don't like other NFL teams continually getting routine and prominent features in HOUSTON Chronicle Sports. I know why they do it as I've exchanged letters with them several times. As long as I'm a subscriber and as long as I see half page articles of another team that I could care less about in my paper (that cuts into the coverage of our own team), I will continue to ***** about it. It may be futile but that's the way it goes.

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I just do not understand why we get the less experienced and more milquetoast offerings from the less experienced and arguably less talented writers for the local team. Seems fairly backwards to me.
The Chronicle's perspective is that the NFL writer gig should be reserved for the most experienced and seasoned writer (as is McClain). McClain has tons of contacts around the league and his experience would be wasted here as a local beat guy. The problem to me is the priority/focus/emphasis (call it what you want) of what the NFL beat guy writes about. He should be more focused on the general NFL and less focused on the Cowboys and Titans. I'm not talking about his notebook, I'm talking about features. Did you know that McClain is at Cowboys camp all week and will be covering EVERY Cowboys away game this season? I submit that it's the focus that's screwed.

My best example of that lack of focus was last season (or was it '02?) when Peyton Manning returned to NO to lead the Colts against the Saints in Prime Time. What a perfect opportunity for an article of great NFL interest for Houston Chronicle readers. Do you remember what we got from the Chronicle's NFL beat writer that week? It was a throw down article titled "(Jeff) Fisher is one of the best." Harrumph....

What about Portis in Washington - how's he doing? What about Champ Bailey in Denver - how's he doing? What about Kenechi Udezi, Duante Culpepper, Randy Moss, Michael Bennett and the forever underachieving Vikes? What about Byron Leftwich and Reggie Williams? What about Lovie Smith in Chicago? How long will Norv Turner last? Will it be Rivers or Brees......There is so much more out there for NFL fans than the "regional coverage" we get from our NFL guy, i.e., north Texas and middle Tennessee region.

The local beat is typically covered by less experienced guys. I've met Duarte. Super nice guy but he's a young guy and (then) admitted inexperience. He told me at camp in '02 that it was his first time to cover football and that he was a more of a "baseball guy" (he was probably still in college when the Oilers were last here in '96).

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Old 07-31-2004   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
I don't like other NFL teams continually getting routine and prominent features in HOUSTON Chronicle Sports. I know why they do it as I've exchanged letters with them several times. As long as I'm a subscriber and as long as I see half page articles of another team that I could care less about in my paper (that cuts into the coverage of our own team), I will continue to ***** about it. It may be futile but that's the way it goes....
and again I say ... oh never mind!

By the way, "Mr. Voice of the Fans" .. thanks for the article on the front page.
Always a great job aj.
Maybe between you and Vinny, the Chronicle could use some help from you both.. just a thought.
The best information about the Texans is always on the message boards.
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Old 07-31-2004   #7
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I agree with Sassy. The best place for TEXAN info is right here!

I grip constantly about the lack of TEXAN coverage in the Chronicle. But, like Aj, I enjoy reading my daily newspaper. Something I have done for over 40 years. All we can do is continue to express how we feel. I truly believe the owner of the Chronicle must be a girls fan! With J. McLain being not only a girls fan, but a meatball fan as well, I do beleive we are **********!!!!! Duarte and Thompson need to get a pink slip! JMHO!!!!
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Old 07-31-2004   #8
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Quote:
By the way, "Mr. Voice of the Fans" .. thanks for the article on the front page.
Thank you. If there's anything you or anyone else wants me to write about, I'm open for ideas and suggestions. I think my next piece will be quick hits instead of the long articles I've been writing recently. I may include a Chronicle rant or two just to liven things up a bit. The articles will be more frequent now, and probably less lengthy, now that the season has started. It appears that ht.com has hired a new writer (J. Michael Moore). I hope he's no kin to that other Michael Moore guy...

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Old 07-31-2004   #9
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Most of us who post here are die hard fans. Not living in the area, but logging in to try to find information has caused me to post some feelings in regard to the chronicle. There are basically two ways to show how you feel. One is to drop your subscription and the other is to complain. Unforunately we are small in numbers and its hard to know the affect. The one thing that leads me to believe that they might be becoming sensitive is the article by McClain where a reader supposidly made some comments and McClain was rewarded by receiving a number of compliments from the readership. McClain picked an Email that was probably out of line so that he could try to put down the uprising and justify his moves afield. I would say keep the heat on, because the message is getting out. I think the postings here are solid and I think the complaint that if you are covering the NFL, then it should be a far wider coverage than is given by McClain is valid and fair. In fact that kind of complaint is probably more of an eye opener and will probably have more affect than one which is viewed as by a harrasing fan. I think McClain has told them who he wants to cover, and its his way or the highway. Personally I feel he is very arrogant and I had similar experiences with writers in our area when I served for a period of time as the official scorer for football and basketball at Fresno State. Its amazing what you run into. I found out that their knowledge of the game was nowhere near what others thought, but people certainly bowed down to them. Everyone was afraid to take them to task even when they were making outlandish statements.
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Old 07-31-2004   #10
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When the Texans came into the league, McClain was given the choice to be the Texans beat writer or remain as the NFL beat writer. He chose the NFL gig because he would get to cover the entire NFL and not just one team......and I think he got a little burned out from being the Oiler's beat writer.

For those who keep complaining that he spends a lot of time on the Cowboys and Titans, remember that there are a lot of fans in the Houston area of those two teams. A good newspaper would make sure to skew the amount of information to what the readers want. In the Houston area, that means the Cowboys, Titans, and Saints will get more attention than other NFL teams.

John McClain isn't the problem at the Chronicle. He is one of the most respected and knowledgeable NFL writers in the country.

The problem at the Chronicle is that those who are assigned to the Texans don't put out enough information. Especially when you consider how media-friendly Casserly and Capers are, we should be seeing a ton of Texans info. Everyone in the NFL uses the last few weeks before training camp as their vacation time, because the rest of the "off-season" is spent on the draft and mini-camps, but now that training camp has started we should be seeing a lot more Texans information. Player profiles, position by position analysis, etc. If there isn't at least a couple of articles about the Texans every day from now until the Super Bowl, someone at the Chronicle should get a fire lit under their butt.
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Old 07-31-2004   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BornOrange
... John McClain isn't the problem at the Chronicle. He is one of the most respected and knowledgeable NFL writers in the country...
Based on what?
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Old 07-31-2004   #12
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I was reading the past Q & A sessions from John McClain and decided to write to him and ask him a question on why if he is a writer for "Our" Houston Chronicle, why doesn't he cover more about "our" team and not the Titans and Cowboys.

Here is his response via email:

"Dante'

Thanks for writing.

I don't cover the Texans. Carlton Thompson and Joseph Duarte cover the Texans.

I still answer questions about them in my online column. I answer questions from everyone who writes, including Titans and Cowboys fans.

Last year, because the Cowboys did so well, I had to cover all eight road games, plus one home game and one playoff game. If they continue to win, I'll cover their road games again. We have a writer who resides in Dallas and covers home games.

I covered three Titans regular-season games, including the Texans game, and two playoff games.

Plus, the Titans are in the Texans' division, and they were 12-4. There's still a lot of interest in the Titans in the Houston area, according to our surveys.

Anyway, that's why I don't write much about the Texans.

Thanks again for writing. I'm going to use your e-mail in my next online column.

Take care.

john"
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Old 07-31-2004   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistril48
Based on what?
Decades of work. He is well respected around the league and was one of the key reasons why ex-Oiler Elvin Bethea is now in the Hall of Fame.
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Old 07-31-2004   #14
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Just read the Chronicle online. You can go right to the articles you want to read; I believe the stories are the same.

I don't buy it; don't live in Houston anyway but I have it bookmarked and I'll read what John McLain has written and whatever else interests me.
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Old 07-31-2004   #15
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Quote:
Last year, because the Cowboys did so well, I had to cover all eight road games, plus one home game and one playoff game. If they continue to win, I'll cover their road games again. We have a writer who resides in Dallas and covers home games.

I covered three Titans regular-season games, including the Texans game, and two playoff games.

Plus, the Titans are in the Texans' division, and they were 12-4. There's still a lot of interest in the Titans in the Houston area, according to our surveys.

Anyway, that's why I don't write much about the Texans.
What this tells me is that the Chronicle has made a decision to put their senior football writer on the Cowgirls & Titans, and let the junior guys cover the home team. Why? "Survey says...." There is still interest in these teams. Fine, I can't argue against marketing data I'm not privileged to. What's the big difference between McClain vs the other guys covering the Texans, anyway?

Well for one, copy space. With McClain being a senior writer, he gets more space in the sports section than the other guys would if they were covering Dallas & Tennessee. Therefore you read more about Dallas & Tennessee than you would normally. Secondly, football contacts. I don't know how much McClain's work is respected, but he's been around since forever and he knows a lot of people. Usually he's willing to share that on his radio shows (when he doesn't babble about movies, dining, wine, fashion, or politics). You get more scuttlebutt on the Texans in 1 McClain radio show than you will in a month's worth of Thompson & Duarte's pieces.

I'm not a big fan of John McClain's writing (though he can report), so I don't think re-assigning him to the Texans would automatically make the Chronicle's coverage of the Texans top-shelf. It would be better to some degree, but not enough to put it on a par with the other big market newspapers in the country. The Morning News, the Globe, the Tribune, those are the type of newspapers than give their readers what they want to know concerning the local teams. We're not going to get that type of coverage from this newspaper. I'd call the Chronicle a 2nd rate newspaper, but frankly I'd be overrating it.
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Old 07-31-2004   #16
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I don't know how true this is but it makes sense. It appears that the trend is that newspapers will one day be only online...much has email has taken over for letter writing the prediction is that one day the daily newspaper will be only available via PC.

The Post has been gone for many years. I'm sure the cost to start a new paper in a city as big as Houston is many, many millions and I'm not sure in this age if anybody would attempt it.

I like John McClain (sorry for the misspelling in previous post). I've had a few contacts with him and he's been very nice and helpful. I won't criticize him but I get everybody's else point.
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Old 07-31-2004   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by __V__
Decades of work. He is well respected around the league and was one of the key reasons why ex-Oiler Elvin Bethea is now in the Hall of Fame.
"Decades of work" = Peter Principle (rise of our level of incompetence);
"Well respected around the leagues" = When Houston lost it's team, which major markets were fighting over him for their coverage?
"key reasons why ex-Oiler Elvin Bethea is now in the Hall of Fame" -link?
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Old 07-31-2004   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistril48
"Decades of work" = Peter Principle (rise of our level of incompetence);
"Well respected around the leagues" = When Houston lost it's team, which major markets were fighting over him for their coverage?
"key reasons why ex-Oiler Elvin Bethea is now in the Hall of Fame" -link?
I don't know how old you are mistril but I have followed the NFL for parts of 4 decades. All I can tell you is what I perceive over three decades of being a fan of the NFL. McClain was OUTSTANDING covering the Oilers. He hasn't been the same since we lost our team. Some say he has been a bit lazy and self absorbed. All I know is he was a fantastic beat writer back in the Oilers salad days. If McClain was so bad (I think you termed it the "Peter Principle"), how is he one of the 39 select people on the NFL Hall of Fame selection committee? If he wasn't widely respected he would not be on the NFL HOF selection committee.

Quote:
By JOHN McCLAIN
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

NOTE: With the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl out of the way, I'm ready to start churning out these e-mail columns regularly. Thanks for being so patient.

I've received so many e-mails about former Oilers' defensive end Elvin Bethea being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I'm including a few of them in this column. As one of 39 on the selection committee, it was an honor to present Elvin to the voters at our annual meeting the day before the Super Bowl. No player in franchise history is more deserving than Elvin. He and his wife, Pat, were on Cloud 9 at the Pro Bowl, where the newest members get together for the first time.

One more thing: I know you guys are fired up about the draft, as I always am. I'm sorry I can't run every e-mail about the Texans and other teams, too, but I'll include as many as I can in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading, listening, watching and writing. Keep 'em coming.

Q. I want to than you for your work that enabled Elvin Bethea to make it into the Hall of Fame. He obviously deserves it, but without your lobbying, he never would have made it. Thanks again for all of the work that you do for the former Oilers' causes. We're fortunate to have you as a member of our local media.

Jeff in Kingwood

A. Thank you, Jeff. You'd be amazed at how many e-mails I get ripping me for writing about the Oilers. But I can take it. As far as Elvin, let me point out a few others who helped his cause immensely. Titans VP of community affairs Bob Hyde, who was the Oilers' media relations director for the last seven years of Elvin's career, did more work than anyone in helping me prepare my presentation. Hal Lundgren, who covered the Oilers for the Chronicle for 11 years before I inherited the beat, sent me some convincing statistics I used in my speech to the selection committee. Texans VP of community relations Tony Wyllie, who grew up in Houston as an Oilers' fan, encouraged every committee member to vote for Elvin. They played instrumental roles in Elvin making the Hall of Fame.

Q. Thanks for helping Elvin Bethea get into the Hall Of Fame. I guess only long-time Oilers' watchers like you and I can really appreciate how good he was. I'll tell anyone who'll listen that back when I was 10 years old in 1973, Bethea was dominating despite playing on another 1-13 team. Anyway, as an old, ex-Oiler fan, his election to the Hall somehow makes my memories of the many bad Oiler seasons and playoff losses a little easier to take. I'm glad he's finally getting the recognition he deserves.

Joe in Galveston

A. Here are some statistics I used before the selection committee, Joe: Only one defensive end in the Hall of Fame went to more Pro Bowls than Bethea (Gino Marchetti). Only three defensive players made more Pro Bowls than Bethea in the 1970s (Joe Greene, Alan Page, Ken Houston). No defensive end in the Hall of Fame played in more games or played more seasons than Bethea. I also used statistics comparing Bethea's statistics to other defensive ends in the Hall. I also provided testimonials from Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, Chuck Noll and Ron Wolf, among others. Upshaw and Shell, both of whom are in the Hall of Fame, said the only defensive end they had to consistently double team was Bethea.

Q. As a 40-something lifetime Houston football fan, I was really pleased to see that Elvin Bethea was given his due respect and elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I remember opponents double- and triple-teaming Bethea because he was such a dominant force. I recall most teams designing their game plans to stay away from him, and he still managed to make outstanding play after outstanding play. I recall many who now happen to be in the Hall of Fame who held him in the highest respect as a great player.

Lonnie in Copperfield

A. Elvin was, without question, the greatest defensive player in Oilers/Titans history. By the way, Lonnie, Hall of Fame selection committee members who spoke up for Elvin before we voted _ some giving their opinions and others informing the voters of testimonials they had compiled on Bethea _ were Paul Zimmerman, Sports Illustrated; Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Don Pierson, Chicago Tribune; John Clayton, ESPN; Cliff Christl, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Q. Is Elvin Bethea really going into the Hall of Fame as a Titan? He didn't even play a down for them. By the way, I'm from Houston but moved to Fort Worth, and I miss your opinions.

Eric in Fort Worth

A. Unlike the baseball Hall of Fame, Eric, NFL players aren't inducted as a member of a certain team. For instance, Marcus Allen can't demand to be inducted as a Chief rather than a Raider because he and Al Davis hate each other. Now, here's the rub for many who loved the Oilers: There are 32 teams. The Oilers aren't one of them. But anyone who played for the Oilers is listed as played for the Oilers even though there's a team display for them, and it's the Titans. The busts stand alone in a different room.

Q. As a kid growing up during Elvin Bethea's career, I always admired the way he played. Like the fans, he suffered through those 1-13 years, but he gave everything he had on every play. I'm sure it would have been easy for him to dog it like some of his teammates, but I can honestly say I never saw him take a play off. Congratulations, Elvin _ you deserve it.

Robert in League City

A. It's been amazing to me, Robert, before and after the vote, how many people were following Elvin's possible induction. Once he made the list of finalists for the first time, I couldn't believe how much interest there was in the Houston area from fans, media and former Oilers. It was much more than Mike Munchak received two years ago. Even though Munch played his entire career with the Oilers, I guess there wasn't as much interest in Houston because he'd been in Nashville since the team moved in 1997. After Elvin made it, I received calls from a lot of people. Two of the best were from Dan Pastorini and Carl Mauck.

Q. Since you're a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, I have a question for you: Has Billy Cannon ever been considered for membership. If not, do you think he ever will be considered?
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory...ain/qa/1764992
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John McClain of the Houston Chronicle went before the Hall of Fame and told them why I should be in. I owe them and all of the fans and supporters of the Hosuton Oilers and me. I can't thank them enough."
http://www.insightnews.com/policyFor...6&mode=display
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Bethea thanked longtime Houston sportswriter John McClain for helping get him voted into the Hall. When the Class of 2003 was announced back in January, Bethea was probably the biggest surprise among the five enshrines.http://www.profootballhof.com/histor...?release_id=68
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Old 07-31-2004   #19
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For those who keep complaining that he spends a lot of time on the Cowboys and Titans, remember that there are a lot of fans in the Houston area of those two teams.
There's a lot of Packers and Bears fans living in Minneapolis. Do you think they wake up to find half-page articles about Favre or Grossman in the Star Tribune?

The only reason Bethea is in the HOF (besides his body of work) is because of McClain.

I liked McClain better as a Oilers beat writer back in the day than I do as an NFL guy now. I still like listening to him on Friday evenings. He is a really nice guy. I just don't like the Chronicle's NFL priorities beyond the Texans.

Whether his "assignment" to cover all Dallas' road games was the Chonicle's choice or not is anybody's guess. He says he's not a Dallas fan but he sure likes spending time over there. He really hasn't done that much titan coverage in the Chronicle lately but he's still very much plugged in over there.

Last edited by aj.; 07-31-2004 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 07-31-2004   #20
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Originally Posted by __V__
I don't know how old you are mistril but I have followed the NFL for parts of 4 decades. All I can tell you is what I perceive over three decades of being a fan of the NFL. McClain was OUTSTANDING covering the Oilers. He hasn't been the same since we lost our team. Some say he has been a bit lazy and self absorbed. All I know is he was a fantastic beat writer back in the Oilers salad days. If McClain was so bad (I think you termed it the "Peter Principle"), how is he one of the 39 select people on the NFL Hall of Fame selection committee? If he wasn't widely respected he would not be on the NFL HOF selection committee.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I don't know that my age is particularly revelant, but I haven't been in Houston long enough that I was able to enjoy the Oilers. It felt to me from reading these boards that although several posters felt John McClain was 'untouchable' (it felt like he arranged something for them, but I don't know) others were really upset by the coverage. You've mentioned he's had along history of excellent work when the Oilers were here (I had no reference for this not being in Houston) and I think that certainly justifies support from a long standing Houston sports fan. I'm afraid I've formed my opinion based only on the years when you say "Some say he has been a bit lazy and self absorbed".

My reference to the Peter Principle was merely that holding a position for a long time is not necessarily a gauge of competence. The Peter Principle said that you would start out doing a job and if you did it well, you moved up until you eventually landed in a job that you didn't do well (and you didn't get promoted), but you didn't do so badly that you got fired ... and there you sat.

You've convinced me about Elvin Bethea, but as I've said, I didn't follow the Oilers. Perhaps others will have an opinion as to whether the Oilers have been fairly represented in the HOF as a result of his respect and influence. I have no comment.
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