When Black Monday comes for the NFL in less than three weeks, Bill O’Brien could be one of the several head coaches parting ways with their current team.
O’Brien is completing his fourth season as the head coach of the Houston Texans and it has been by far his worst during his tenure; 4-10 after Week 15.
His name has come up as being on the hot seat in Houston and with things unsettled with the Texans, Bill O’Brien could be one of the several head coaches fired at the conclusion of the 2017 season.
With that said, if O’Brien were to get fired from Houston, he should be a candidate the New York Giants give serious consideration to for their head coaching job.
With the Giants looking for their next head coach, they’re likely going to want someone with previous head coaching experience. A few of the names floated this off-season; Josh McDaniels, Mike Smith and Jim Schwartz. Jon Gruden didn’t rule himself out for the job, but nobody actually thinks he’ll leave ESPN to coach again.
With Houston, O’Brien is currently 31-31 during his tenure; he had three straight 9-7 seasons; two of which had Houston winning the AFC South division. O’Brien also won his first playoff game with Houston last year and gave the New England Patriots a fight in the AFC Divisional Round before being eliminated. O’Brien checks off several boxes; one of which is head coaching experience that the Giants will likely be looking for.
O’Brien is a former assistant off the Bill Belichick coaching tree; one that hasn’t done well in the NFL. Bill O’Brien might be one of the few assistants in the NFL from the Belichick coaching tree that hasn’t fallen completely on their face. Josh McDaniels failed. Romeo Crennel failed. Charlie Weis failed. Eric Mangini failed. And even Nick Saban failed as a head coach in the NFL. Yet Bill O’Brien has done pretty well for himself.
More importantly, Bill O’Brien knows how to take over teams who are in utter chaos and a mess. He did that in 2012 when he was the head coach of Penn State University following the Jerry Sandusky scandal and was the head coach after Joe Paterno’s dismissal as a result of the Sandusky incidents.
Despite the sanctions placed on Penn State and the negative backlash against the school, Bill O’Brien handled that about as well as any head coach could; they went 8-4 in 2012 and in his two seasons with the Nittany Lions, they went 15-9 before he left to take the Texans head coaching job.
With the New York Giants, they are a bit of a mess. They fired Ben McAdoo mid-season, something the team hadn’t done with a head coach since 1976. And that was after he and Jerry Reese fumbled the handling of Eli Manning earlier in the month when he wrongfully benched him due to the team’s struggles for Geno Smith.
Steve Spagnuolo is filling in as the interim head coach and while he’s doing the best he can, the team is 0-2 under his direction and he doesn’t look like he’ll be the best choice to become the permanent head coach.
While other names mentioned for the job like McDaniels, Smith and Schwartz are assistant coaches and coordinators that will get a lot of attention for coaching jobs, Bill O’Brien is a unique name to come up since he is still under contract as an NFL head coach and signed on for at least two more years.
But with Deshaun Watson now the quarterback of the future and the team potentially deciding to move in a new direction coaching wise, O’Brien might find himself looking for work after the 2017 year. But given his work with several backups and still finding a way to get to the playoffs, he’ll find work again as a head coach.
One person who made a strong case for Bill O’Brien for the Giants head coaching job was Boomer Esiason, who on Monday morning while doing his radio show on WFAN in New York, said he’d be a strong candidate if he left Houston.
Of course, all of the speculation on Bill O’Brien and for the Giants is all based on if he leaves Houston. It’s a big what-if.
But if he does leave the Texans, the Giants should be calling him to see if he wants to come coach in East Rutherford for the 2018 season.