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Poll: How Has Bill O’Brien Done As Head Coach Of The Houston Texans?

Let’s look at the stats and see.

Detroit Lions v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Yesterday’s Red Zone Play column generated a lot of polarizing opinions about who was more valuable to the Houston Texans, an elite edge defender in Jadeveon Clowney or head coach Bill O’Brien. For more insight on that situation, check out this solid Over The Cap explanation of the Clowney situation.

While many love O’Brien—he is a very likable guy, after all—a seemingly equal amount of folks would like him to move on to the next phase of his career somewhere outside of H-Town.

One of the things that always adds an interesting layer to any sports-related conversation where opinions are everywhere and argued with great passion is the story told through statistics. The NFL and surrounding media-sphere has found ways to quantify just about everything, including the effectiveness of head coaches. To that end, let’s take a look at the story Bill O’Brien’s statistics as a NFL head coach tell.

  • Beginning with the basics, O’Brien has coached the Houston Texans for five seasons and 80 games. His win-loss record over that span is 42-38, giving him a total win percentage of .525. So, average.
  • Digging deeper into the most important stat, the wins and losses, we find that the O’Brien-led Texans are 16-31 against teams with a record above .500, which clocks in at a .340 winning percentage for OB against winning teams.
  • But wait...O’Brien has won three AFC South division titles. If he’s losing two out of every three games to winning opponents, how can that be?
  • Against divisional opponents, the Texans are 15-6, or .714. That’s how they’ve won three division crowns under O’Brien.
  • How did O’Brien fare after winning the division? By going 1-3 in the NFL Playoffs and being outscored 50-99, including a 30-0 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs and last year’s 21-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Outside of the AFC South, the Bill O’Brien led Houston Texans are 15-20 (.429).
  • As of the end of the 2017 season, O’Brien was second-worst in the league when it came to challenging officiating calls, with a success rate of 8-23 (.348).
  • One bright spot: When leading at halftime, Bill O’Brien’s Texans are all but a lock to win. Over his head coaching career in the NFL, the Texans are 32-1 when leading at halftime. The flip side to that is Houston is 10-37 when not leading at the half under O’Brien.
  • While O’Brien’s Texans can beat their division opponents, they cannot seem to get past the elite teams of the AFC. Over the course of O’Brien’s time in Houston, those teams are the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, as each team has made multiple trips to the postseason since O’Brien came to town. Against the team O’Brien should know the best, the New England Patriots, Bill has led the Texans to an 0-5 record including one playoff loss with a point differential of 75-151 in that span. To quote the old Maddenism, “If we could have scored more points than the other team, we might have had a chance of winning.”

O’Brien has gone head-to-head with the Pittsburgh Steelers twice, losing to Mike Tomlin 30-23 in 2014 and then 34-6 in 2017.

No Texans fan can forget the utter destruction that was the loss to Kansas City (thanks in large part to Brian Hoyer, who turned in what may have been the worst quarterbacking performance in postseason history) in the 2015 NFL Playoffs, when Houston gave up 30 points and scored none. The Texans currently sit at 1-2 versus KC in O’Brien’s tenure.

Against the Baltimore Ravens, Houston is 1-1 in the regular season, beating them the first time O’Brien faced the Ravens and losing the second time.

Against the AFC elite over the last five seasons, that’s good for a record of 3-10 (.300). This falls just north of O’Brien’s playoff record of 1-3, with the lone win coming against an Oakland Raiders team fielding a rookie quarterback in his first ever NFL start.

  • Bill O’Brien loves to run the ball, as evidenced by the Texans having the eighth-most rushing attempts in the NFL last year. However, Houston only achieved a first down on 28.61% of those rushes, good for the twelfth-worst percentage in the league.

What picture do these stats paint for you? Are you convinced O’Brien is the guy that will turn this team into a Super Bowl winner? Ready for the end of the BO’B experiment? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Give us your take in the poll and the comments section below.


What do you think of Bill O’Brien’s head coaching for the Texans so far?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    He’s the best head coach in Houston history!
    (1153 votes)
  • 1%
    Stats, schmats. I love O’Brien!
    (22 votes)
  • 5%
    I’d like to give him one more season to see what he can do.
    (112 votes)
  • 15%
    Short leash - if the Texans don’t get past the divisional round this year, he’s gotta go.
    (343 votes)
  • 6%
    Shorter leash - if they lose more than four games in 2019, fire him mid-season and move on.
    (141 votes)
  • 11%
    Fire him now!
    (249 votes)
  • 6%
    I can wait until the Texans get a new General Manager to answer this question.
    (132 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (explain in the comments box).
    (16 votes)
2168 votes total Vote Now