How the Texans Helped Change the Perception of Mental Health Issues

Written by :
Published on : March 28, 2017

 

Football and masculinity dominate life in Texas. Feelings and emotions in men are tied to a rigid ideology – you don’t show or talk about them because men don’t do that. Likewise, men across the country may have lived under the same social norms that restrict them from showing emotions other than anger. Former Vice Chairman of the Houston Texans, Philip Burguieres said, “I felt that I couldn’t talk about depression, because it seemed like admitting to weakness, or failing.” He further elaborated on this stifling mentality by saying that it is “really hard for…America to accept depression for what it is: a disease.” This fundamental flaw in consciousness reinforces the stigma that men face – if and when they experience a mental health crisis.

 

This is why it was a breakthrough that George W. Bush signed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. This bill requires insurance companies to provide mental health services at the same capacity as it does with physical well-being services to group health plans offered by employers. Two years later, the Houston Texans became the first team in the NFL to offer mental health parity to their players and personnel. This happened largely in part because of Burguieres’ bout with depression. It was the first time pro-athletes were offered mental health services under their contracts.

 

 Philip Burguieres used his own experiences to raise awareness about mental health.

 

Former running back for the Texans, Arian Foster, candidly contrasted the difference of using mental health services at his disposal to destructive self-soothing mechanisms. Foster was crumbling under the duality of growing up with domestic abuse coupled with periodically not having enough food to eat. As an adult, he stumbled into the depth of “mo’ money, mo’ problems”, the pressure that players signed to pro-sports teams face, plus career threatening injuries. To cope with the complexity of his internal pain he damaged himself inwardly by heavily relying on drinking because he could not express himself outwardly. He found this “was extremely powerful.”

 

Contrarily, he added “the emotions that you numb you can’t be selective with… you also numb everything good. So I was blocking out a lot of love.” Blocking out love cost him greatly because it ended his first marriage. This downward spiral alongside falling prey to the stigma of asking for help, “it just got to a point where I just threw my hands in the air and I was like: ‘This is going to kill me.” The weight of his emotional and mental issues took a toll on him; however, he adds, “I went and got help and it was the best decision I ever made.”

 

Mental and emotional disorders can manifest as a culmination of unresolved childhood issues that cross over into adulthood, others have a genetic predisposition to them, or others have both environmental and genetic vulnerabilities to mental disorders. The point is that the range of depressive, personality, anxiety, dissociative, eating, obsessive, substance use, sleep, sexual dysfunction, etc., mental disorders of any kind carry the capacity to self-destruct a CEO of a football team, pro athlete or regular person. Mental disorders are part of a collective human experience. In that sense, we can mirror the Texans and work through our feelings by owning up to them rather than let them diminish the sense of self and will to live.

 

 Arian Foster is the Texans all-time leading rusher and has battled with mental health issues.

 

Surprisingly, it did not cost the Texans more money to cover mental health. Burguieres said, “We have found no increase in our costs for mental health parity… It’s pretty simple. People who have access to mental health programs are healthier employees.” This revelation was highlighted by the reality that serious mental health conditions totaled more than $193 billion in lost earnings per year before the 2008 bill. Sick leave and absenteeism impacted team expenses more than covering mental health costs.

 

Football players are revered for their physicality, intellect on the field, and their remarkable performances that defy average human force. It takes a lot to make men of this caliber admit that they are overwhelmed by feelings and emotions, but in doing so they are paving the way toward a greater social consciousness. Real men in Texas or anywhere are strong enough to confront issues that cause them emotional distress. In the words of Mr. Rogers, “if we… can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable we will have done a great service for mental health.”  The example the Texans have set will help usher in a new era where mental health and mental health services are no longer taboo. People who need help can get the type of care that they deserve to preserve their sense of dignity and self-worth.

 

In loving memory of Philip Burguieres and Mr. Rogers.

 

 


Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : September 21, 2016

 

 

It’s only week 3 and already many big names have gone down with serious injuries. This is the biggest x-factor of fantasy football. Players on your team are going to get hurt. It happens. Champions scoop up their replacements and the next big thing off the waiver wire. So far, we’ve seen Keenan Allen, Jimmy Garoppolo, Danny Woodhead, Adrian Peterson, Robert Griffen III, Doug Martin, Ameer Abdullah, Josh McCown all get added to the injury report. Well, SBS is here to help. First, I’m going to assume you play in a good league and most of the notable players are already unavailable. Below are some free agent options (all less than 50% owned in ESPN standard leagues) to fill the holes in your fantasy roster.

 

QB

Carson Wentz, Philadelphie Eagles – The rookie isn’t totally lighting up the box score but he has been efficient moving the ball and has zero turnovers so far. Owned in 19.5% of ESPN leagues.

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets – Posted 14 and 20 points in his first two starts. Only 1 pick, plus Fitzpatrick has some solid options with Matt Forte, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall (if he isn’t hurt). Owned in 33.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

RB

Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina Panthers – With Jonathan Stewart banged up, Fozzy got the start and put up 100 yards on 16 carries against the 49ers. Stewart’s hamstring may hold him a few weeks longer making Whittaker a must add. Owned in 1.1% of ESPN leagues

 

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings – AP is going to miss some time and that opens the door for Jerick. Matt Asiata will also be in the mix but McKinnon is the back you want to add. Owned in 24.4% of ESPN leagues.

 

Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins – Another replacement killer. Arian Foster is nursing a groin injury so it’s time to add his backup. Ajayi got some work at the end of last game but the Dolphins were behind and not running the ball much. Look for Jay to post a decent stat line in Cleveland. Owned in 46% of ESPN leagues.

 

TE

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Sam Bradford is in and he is throwing. Rudolph found the end zone for the first time with Sam as QB. Look for this trend to continue as the pass game becomes the focus because of the AP injury. Owned in 32.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

 

Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan is red hot and spreading the ball all around. And there is plenty to go around. Tamme has at least 5 catches in both the first two games and has made it to pay dirt once. Falcons will keep passing and Julio Jones keeps sucking up all the coverage. Jacob is a steal right now. Owned in 10.9% of ESPN leagues.

 

WR

Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys – Rookie QB Dak Prescott (owned in 44.3% of ESPN leaagues) has built a rapport with the wideout and looks for him often. He has been second on the team in targets two weeks running. That consistency makes him a legit plug-and-play option for those in need. Owned in 7.4% of ESPN leagues.

 

Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams – Britt has posted 67 yards and 94 yards in two games. He has yet to score a TD but he is LA’s best receiving threat in terms of fantasy. You could do a lot worse. Owned in 8.3% of ESPN leagues.

 

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots – Coming off a 4 catch, 50 yard and 2 touchdown game, Danny will be a popular add. The Pats throw the ball enough that this makes sense, no matter who the QB is. Only owned in 3.5% of ESPN leagues.

 

K

Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs – 10 points in week one, 15 in week two and hasn’t missed a field goal yet. Look at your roster, is your kicker this good? Owned in 28% of ESPN leagues.

 

Nick Novak, Houston Texans – 11 points in week one, 13 in week two and he’s only missed one field goal. Look at your roster, is your kicker this good? Owned in 9% of ESPN leagues.

 

D/ST

Philadelphia Eagles – The Philly D has scored 14 fantasy points in both games. They haven’t allowed more than real 14 points in any game and already have 4 takeaways. Owned in 27% of ESPN leagues.

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers – This unit hasn’t scored a ton of points but they been solid through two contests. Never giving up more than 16 points and averaging two turnovers won per game. Not too bad for a crew owned in merely 21.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

Need more help than that? Then you’re probably screwed. Check back soon for more waiver wire tips as we approach the dreaded dog days of the bye weeks.

 

Flex.

 

 


Overreaction: NFL Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 20, 2016

 

 

Week 2 is over. The 2016 season is officially off and running. Some would say it’s still too early to know anything about the identity of teams but those people have obliviously never met me. Listen up while I spout off wild, speculative snap judgements on all 32 NFL teams after only two games completed.

 

– The Bills are 0-2 and their season is already over. It was fun while it lasted Buffalo. Maybe they should have let Rock Star Bon Jovi buy the team a few years back.Well, better luck next time. Living on Prayer.

 

– The Jets offense is great as long as Matt Forte stays healthy and keeps moving them down the field. Without him, this team is doomed to be a sub .500 unit.

 

– The league office still hates the Detroit Lions. The conspiracy continues. In the 15-16 loss to the Titans, the Honolulu Blue and Silver were flagged 17 times for 138 yards. None worse than the two fantom calls that negated TD’s on back-to-back plays. Those calls completely changed the landscape of the game.

 

 

– The Titans are now 1-1 but this crew showed me little to make me believe in them. They exploited a super injury-weakened Lions D and scored some late points but that seems more situational than skill. It was mostly just smart play calling. I’m obviously still salty about this but this team sucks plain and simple.

 

– The Panthers got back on track in week 2 with a solid performance against the 49ers. Cam had 4 TD’s with two going to Kelvin Benjamin. This offense is even better than last year because Benjamin is back. Panthers look bound for another deep playoff run.

 

– San Fransisco blew out the Rams last week and no one knew what to make of them, but hanging with Carolina tells me they are more complete than most think. They leave the bottom of the barrel of last campaign and join the blurry middle of the pack.

 

– The Cincinnati Bengals cannot beat the Steelers. They melted down in the playoffs last year and failed again at Heinz field this Sunday. Marvin Lewis needs to figure a way to slay this dragon or else they might never get Andy Dalton that postseason win.

 

– The Steelers are legit. They score bunches of points and this is all without star running back Le’Veon Bell. If Big Ben stays off IR than the steel city boys are eyeing another division crown and maybe a meeting with the Patriots in the conference finals.

 

 

– Speaking of the AFC North, the 0-2 Cleveland Browns still suck. What’s new? Week 3 may see the Browns start their third QB of the year. Ouch. This team is done. Go hang out with the Bills. Your year is over.

 

– Baltimore is 2-0, sounds great but they barely came back against Cleveland and squeaked by Buffalo week 1. Two close wins against the worst of the NFL does not inspire confidence.

 

– Washington is 0-2 after losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh. Kirk Cousins is playing on the Franchise Tag trying to prove he is worth a big contract. So far, he hasn’t shown that moxie of 2015. Things better turnaround quick or the D.C. area may have to start rebuilding, again.

 

– The Cowboys got their first win with rookies Dak Prescott at QB and Ezikel Elliot at RB. This young team is lead by that great offensive line but I don’t see them going too far with all that inexperience running the show.

 

– Giants are looking good. I talked shit about them before but at 2-0 they are now the favorites to win the NFC East. The defense has played well and they have showed guts in two close contests.

 

 

– The Saints are winless. It feels like the same story every year with these guys. They can score lots of points and Drew Brees keeps it close but they can’t string the W’s together. No chance at the playoffs.

 

– The Miami Dolphins. A squad full of talent and names that never seems to be able to put it all together. Another slow start at 0-2 and Arian Foster is already dealing with health issues. Call the nurse, we have another dead team. Sorry not Sorry.

 

– The New England Patriots are undefeated and playing without Gronk or Brady. Their next two games are at home and untested rookie, Jacoby Brissett, may start at QB for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. If the Pats are ever going to lose, it may be next week against Houston, but after that, they will probably run the table. As per usual.

 

– The Houston Texans will win the AFC South. They are 2-0 and the most complete team in the division. I’m sure JJ Watt can’t wait to introduce himself to Brissett on Thursday night.

 

– Kansas City Chiefs are a hard team to read. They beat the Chargers week 1 but lost to the Texans. They will hang around the Wild Card spot most of the year only to drop off at the end.

 

 

– The Los Angeles Rams are one of the worst teams in the league. It pains me to type that because they are now my second favorite. It’s a mystery how they beat Seattle but it was a 9-3 ugly affair. They should start planning their draft picks now.

 

– The Seahawks are 1-1 after that bizarre game with L.A. that saw injuries to Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson. Russ stayed in the game but was clearly ailing. Seattle will weather the storm and make a serious push for the playoffs.

 

– Arizona lost a close one with the Pats in week 1 and took their anger out on the Bucs in week 2. This is a solid team top to bottom. They will be hosting a postseason game. Hopefully Carson Palmer can last that long.

 

– Tampa Bay is 1-1. They have some nice pieces across the roster but don’t get too excited. They are not ready for prime time. Maybe they can finish second in the NFC South. No postseason though.

 

– Jacksonville Jaguars were a breakout pick from many talking heads in the sports world. I’ll admit they have many promising players but they still suck.

 

 

– San Diego Chargers are once again battling the injury bug. Already, key starters Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead are done for the year. This trend will unfortunately continue because that’s what happens in San Diego.

 

– The Falcons sit at 1-1. Matty Ice leads an even attack that is more than effective but the lack of close out defense will limit Atlanta’s potential. No playoffs for you, one year.

 

– The Raiders have all the tools needed to make the postseason and they will finally punch their ticket this year. Move over Warriors, Oakland’s true love is going to the dance for the first time since 2002.

 

– The Colts can’t stop anybody so they will keep losing. They are 0-2 and have zero chance of winning their division.

 

– Broncos will be playing without DeMarcus Ware for a bit but it’s okay, that defense is still so nasty that they will be in every game. Look for Denver to have another serious playoff run.

 

 

– Green Bay is 1-1 after a win over the Jags and a loss to the rival Vikings. Jordy Nelson doesn’t look 100% and Eddie Lacy is still fat. I hope and pray the wheels fall off but they will probably turn it around all over the my Lions this Sunday.

 

– The Sam Bradford project is working in Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Packers which is all you need to do to win over the locals. The team is 2-0 but may have lost Adrian Peterson for extended time. I still see them in the hunt for a Wild Card birth.

 

– Carson Wentz looks good in two games. The Eagles are 2-0 and those monsters in Philly must be smiling. Just wait for some adversity and those cheers will turn to boos. The Eagles can’t keep this up.

 

– Bears are really bad. Jay Cutler is worse. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier. At least the Cubs are good.

 

Is it week 3 yet?

 

 


Fantasy Football Saints, Sinners and Sleepers: QB Edition

Written by :
Published on : August 15, 2015

 

“Here we lay bare the souls of those who play the game for our entertainment. We praise the saints, condemn the sinners, and root out the sleepers who can help your fantasy football team stay on the righteous path.”

 

The first installment of Saints, Sinners and Sleepers will explore the quarterback position heading into the 2015 NFL season. These are the best of the best, the worst of the worst and some of the most underestimated in their field. The following players can help you gain entry into the pearly gates of a fantasy football championship, or send you to the seventh circle of a losing season. Heed the words you are about to read, and know that it is truth.

 

Saints

Number 12 will be giving opposing defenses trouble once again this season.

 

Aaron Rodgers– The best quarterback in the NFL is also your best option in fantasy football this year. He and Andrew Luck are just about neck and neck, but Rodgers is much more of a proven commodity. He has been slinging the pig skin with pinpoint accuracy for years now, and doesn’t look to be slowing down. Despite some nagging injuries last season he managed to throw for 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns. He can make plays on the ground as well as through the air, and with a running game led by Eddie Lacy, he’ll have less pressure on him and more defenders in the box than in recent years, which should translate to some big play opportunities. He is a perhaps the biggest saint among QBs in the world of fantasy football and can do no wrong this year if he is your starting quarterback.

 

Andrew Luck- The football chucking ogre in Indy will be carrying his team once again this year and that means lots of yards through the air and touchdowns. In the last few seasons, the Colts have left a lot to be desired in the areas of running game and defense, and this year doesn’t seem to be any different. Hoping that an over the hill Frank Gore can resurrect the ground game seems like a long shot and they just didn’t add enough pieces to improve a bad defense. Once again, the Colts will be trying to hang 50 points a game and outscore their opponents. For owners charmed enough to land Luck this is great news and there’s no reason he can’t come close to the 4,791 passing yards and 40 touchdowns he racked up last season. He is still a very young saint with room to improve on his already very good numbers. If he is still available in the end of the first round then draft him.

 

Ben Roethlisberger- The Steel City has been fortunate to have Big Ben as their quarterback for the last decade. He has helped them win two Super Bowls, and is coming off of his best season yet, statistically speaking. His 67.1 completion percentage, 4,952 yards and 32 touchdowns were all high points in an already impressive career. Oh yeah, he also has arguably the best receiver in the game, Antonio Brown. These two are just hitting stride together and should be a potent combination for years to come.  If that wasn’t scary enough, Le’veon Bell will back after he serves his two game suspension and will have defenses stacking the box and leaving plenty of room for Ben to work miracles. The offense in Pittsburgh is going to score a ton of points, and if Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy he will be a true saint as your fantasy football QB, helping you win it all.

 

Sinners

Expect more of this if Ej Manuel takes the field for the Bills.

 

Whoever starts in Buffalo- Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel or Tyrod Taylor; it’s all garbage. The three QBs combined for an astounding 1,263 yards, 8 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last season. Compound their collective ineptitude with new head coach, Rex Ryan, who is notorious for staunch defense, strong running game and terrible quarterback play, and you have a recipe for an awful passing attack. I don’t think this really warrants further explanation, but they are bound to live up to their reputations as bums. No matter who wins the starting job, they are sinners and should be banished to the depths of fantasy football hell. Should you be unfortunate (or stupid) enough to end up with them on your roster, don’t say you weren’t warned, and may God have mercy on your soul.

 

Whoever starts in Houston- When Arian Foster went down with a gruesome groin injury in the opening days of training camp, life got considerably harder for whichever QB comes out on top. The two guys vying for the starting job are Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, and neither of them should have fans down in Houston very excited. Mallett passed for 400 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in three games with the Texans last year. Hoyer actually gave fans up in Cleveland a fleeting moment of hope last season, only to collapse in the second half of the season and finish with 3,326 yard, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Without their starting running back to keep opposing defenses occupied, you can be sure that both of these guys will see the field at some point, and will perform poorly when they do. DeAndre Hopkins can only do so much to cleanse these sinners and mask their deficiencies. Avoid them at all costs.

 

Whoever starts in Cleveland- This committee thing is becoming a common theme for the QB sinners, but hear me out. Gone are Brian Hoyer, a troubled but talented Josh Gordon and pass-catching TE Jordan Cameron, and in their place are Josh McCown, Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe. None of these names are scaring anyone and the fact of the matter is that Josh McCown and his competition, Johnny Manziel, combined for 2,381 yards, 11 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last year (Manziel contributed zero touchdowns to that total). Neither of these guys have ever given the indication that they were any good at the pro level. If you draft either of these sinners you are either desperate or crazy, and guaranteed to a fantasy football season full of pain and despair.

 

Sleepers

The number 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft will be putting up some numbers this year.

 

Jameis Winston- It’s never all that smart to put your faith in a rookie QB in fantasy football, but you could do a lot worse than former Heisman winner and national champion, Jameis Winston. Having two stud wide receivers, in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, to help ease the transition to the big leagues doesn’t hurt either. There will be interceptions for sure, but look for Winston’s talent to shine through often. Leading to good numbers in his first season under center in Tampa Bay.

 

Matt Stafford- It’s hard to consider Matt Stafford a sleeper at this point considering the fact that he has put up some very big numbers at times. Passing yards have always been fairly easy for Mr. Stafford but he has been inconsistent and had issues with interceptions at various points throughout his career. That changed last year with the arrival of head coach Jim Caldwell, and Stafford threw the fewest interceptions in any of his seasons as a full time starter. Stafford was much more careful than in years past and even seemed to be going against his gunslinger instincts. As a result, touchdowns were down along with interceptions. Look for Caldwell to give his young QB a longer leash and allow him to sling the ball downfield to the bevy of weapons at his disposal this year.

 

Derek Carr- The young quarterback in Oakland did an admirable job in his debut season for a Raiders team that was not very good, passing for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns. With the addition of Amari Cooper, look for Derek Carr to improve vastly over the course of the 2015 season. Cooper is a game changer and will be an easy target for Carr, and I see them connecting for at least 12 touchdowns this season. Opposing secondaries will learn very quickly that they must key in on the rookie wide receiver out of Alabama, leaving Carr plenty of opportunities to spread the ball around, and build on a strong rookie campaign.

 


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