The NFL is littered with stories of head coaches who took over playoff caliber teams and guided them to Super Bowl glory in short order. From Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers, to Jon Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and so on. The really good coaches take a team from the wastelands and turn them into champions. Like Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins, Dick Vermeil and the St Louis Rams or, most notably, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
Bill O’Brien took over the Houston Texans one season removed from a 12-4 record and promptly turned them into a champ -err - average 9-7 team. Rumors swirled of O’Brien’s displeasure with former general manager Rick Smith’s supposed inability to find the right players—even though Smith built the 12-4 roster that O’Brien inherited.
O’Brien was touted as an offensive super-genius/ quarterback guru, superlatives thrown at Hall of Fame coaches like John Madden, Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Belichick. Despite all the grandiose rumors of O’Brien’s nigh-superhuman coaching abilities, he couldn’t get the team out of the 9-7 mess until Year Four, when they improved to 10-6 before getting utterly embarrassed in the NFL Playoffs, primarily due to horrible coaching decisions.
Along the way, we heard all the talk about how O’Brien couldn’t win without a franchise quarterback. Then the [NAME REDACTED] debacle happened. O’Brien had finally got “his guy” whom he allegedly “watched very closely” in the Texans and Denver Broncos’ joint preseason practices. O’Brien rubber-stamped handing the gross national product of Panama to [NAME REDACTED] and then proceeded to subject the Houston faithful to some of the worst offensive football of the Rick Smith era.
The Texans were able to trade their mistake, thanks to Rick Smith, and actually get out of the mess in fairly decent shape, before trading up to draft Deshaun Watson. This series of moves makes Rick Smith look like the smartest man to ever live in comparison to O’Brien’s recent trades.
Soon thereafter, Smith left the organization and Houston brought in Brian Gaine, a general manager touted as a “Bill O’Brien” guy. Then Gaine promptly screwed up the entire 2019 initial free agent period and 2019 NFL Draft before he found himself unemployed.
In an attempt to replace him, O’Brien and Jack Easterby put their hands in the tampering cookie jar—as if Bill Belichick is ever asleep at the wheel—in an attempt to steal Nick Caserio away from New England. Once that fiasco died, O’Brien took over and it has been straight downhill from there.
Any general manager who pays a Pro Bowl player to leave the team is clearly unable to manage the talent entrusted to him. See Jadeveon Clowney. If nothing else, the traded player should have been seen as an asset Houston could swap for other assets equaling similar value.
After that preseason debacle, Bill O’Brien managed to bring yet another historically embarrassing playoff loss at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs to Houston—the second of his career by his own admitted incompetence.
But with the offseason came renewed hope. The Texans fan motto is “Waiting for next season since 2002,” after all.
Sadly, O’Brien wasn’t finished ruining the Houston football club just yet. After allegedly comparing All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins to high-profile NFL murderer Aaron Hernandez, a guy currently in the public eye due to a documentary that clearly details the former New England Patriot’s mental instability, O’Brien decided to trade Hopkins in a deal that made the Clowney trade look like a stroke of genius, which it clearly wasn’t.
As we sit here waiting, expecting, Houston Texans owner Cal McNair to do what any business owner with the slightest iota of common sense to do (fire Bill O’Brien), the only thing the fan base can do is boycott Bill O’Brien.
In case Cal is uncertain of how to rid himself of O’Brien, one fan made a quick tutorial video for him:
Until O’Brien is removed, the Texans won’t overcome the deficiencies he brings. More players will continue to have their careers wasted. The product on the field, and off, will fall from the “entertainment” category into the “don’t need this stress” category.
You can also bet other NFL free agents are taking notice and avoiding Houston as if it’s the newest COVID-19 hotspot.
A good head coach should give a fan base hope. He should reward the hard-earned dollars spent supporting the team by properly managing his talent and game plans to leverage it all for a championship.
Bill O’Brien is clearly incapable of doing any of these things. Until he’s removed, #BOYCOTTBOB should be the rallying cry for all faithful Texans fans.
Even with the scandal of a tainted World Series title, the Houston Astros’ recent controversy is far more palatable since the players were caught cheating in order to win. The ‘Stros had no allegations of racism, no high-profile players alleging A.J. Hinch compared them to the worst criminal in NFL history, no second-string players coming out of the woodwork to accuse him of destroying their career because they were a “product of their environment”.
In the 100 years of the NFL, there’s never been such an utter stain on a head coach/general manager like this. It’s not good for Houston, it’s not good for the NFL, and it’s certainly not good for the fans.
Maybe it’s time NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped in. Or maybe it’s time Bud Adams’ family buys the Texans and moves them elsewhere so someone like Mark Cuban can bring a better franchise to H-Town.
Unfortunately, we can’t hold our breath on that. What we can do is boycott Bill O’Brien.
What does that mean? Stop buying Texans memorabilia, game tickets, etc. As long as Cal McNair continues to rake in all of our money by selling this clearly flawed brand, he’ll have no motivation to take action - other than the sheer embarrassment of employing arguably the worst ball coach in Texas history.