For about an hour on Saturday evening, the Cougar faithful were upset. Not a single Cougar drafted? How could it be? The team that put up tied for the best record in major college football didn't have any of the 253 best players? How can you allow this, National Football League? Explanations were demanded. Obscenities were uttered. Boycotts were threatened. (I kind of wish I was joking about that last one, but I am not.)
If Keenum does make the final roster for the Texans, he might immediately become the most popular third-string quarterback in NFL history. And why not? His signing is the perfect storm of hometown pride.
Being both a Cougar fan and a Texans fan makes a lot of sense. It's about sticking up for your city despite the hoards of fans for other, more popular teams (Cowboys, Longhorns) in other parts of the state. It's been about enduring a lot of rough seasons at the beginning of the 21st century. And finally, in recent years, it's been about enjoying the fruits of your long suffering. Forget all the records Keenum broke, forget all the teams he beat. He made Houston relevant. Who care how far the Texans went in the playoffs last year? They made Houston relevant.
So for the face of the Cougars to graduate and stay in town with the pro club? Too good to be true. That's why Saturday night saw Twitter and Facebook blowing up with the news. Mass texts were sent. One Cougar fan kept getting so many phone calls in the middle of his mother's birthday celebration that the guest of honor herself finally told him, "Just go ahead and pick up, it must be important."
Maybe Keenum won't take a meaningful snap next year. Hopefully Matt Schaub will have a full year of health, and we'll all get to see what the Texans are capable of at full strength. But for plenty of Texans fans, the highlight of the year will be getting to buy that Texans jersey with "#7 Keenum" on the back.