The New Guy in Town: Your Required Bill O'Brien Reading and Viewing

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Photo by BenJones88 via Wikipedia.
This morning out at Reliant Stadium, perhaps already in the books by the time you read this, the Texans will introduce now former Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien as the third head football coach in their franchise's history.

As the head coach for the professional football team in the largest city in the biggest football state in our country, this is not just your garden-variety hire. Sure, I'm guessing Bill O'Brien has to fill out the normal H.R. paperwork we all do when we start a new job, but make no mistake, as head coach of the Houston Texans, he just immediately became our most discussed and scrutinized citizen in town.

At least until he and Rick Smith choose a quarterback in May's upcoming NFL Draft.

Sure, there will be a flowery press conference this morning (11 a.m. sharp, kids!) where O'Brien will say all the right things. The words "winning," "aggressive" "and disciplined" will all come up, I'm sure. Those are as standard "introductory press conference" fare as chicken breast, asparagus and potatoes are at an awards banquet dinner.

Over time, it will play itself out as to whether Bill O'Brien's Houston Texan teams practice what their new head coach will no doubt be preaching. I think the good news for Texan fans is that O'Brien's track record, both on the field at Penn State and previous stops, and off the field in his private life indicate that whatever he says today will not just be rhetoric.

Bill O'Brien is smart, innovative, disciplined, adaptable, essentially he hits all the checkpoints Bob McNair outlined as the traits he'd be looking for in the Texans' new head coach in his press conference where he cut loose O'Brien's predecessor, Gary Kubiak.

In the most grotesque example of flawed logic and lazy analysis, skeptics will point to O'Brien as a Bill Belichick disciple, and point to the failures of other apples off the "Belichick tree" as a reason to be concerned about Bill O'Brien. By that logic, Charlie Weis' arrogance and inability to develop talent, Romeo Crennel's comical situational tone deafness, and Josh McDaniels' love affair with Tim Tebow are all reasons Bill O'Brien will fail.

It makes no sense. Those guys failed because they were flawed to begin with. Bill O'Brien is not them. (Thank God.)

So as you prepare for the next era of Houston Texans football, here are a few required bits of reading or viewing to get acquainted with Bill O'Brien:

5. Bill O'Brien is a great family guy
O'Brien and is wife, Colleen, have two boys, Jack, 11. and Michael, 8. Jack suffers from a neurological disorder called Lissencephaly, where he is in a wheelchair and suffers from nearly daily seizures. Here is a video of O'Brien talking about dealing with that at a media day while he was at Penn State:

Go read up on Lissencephaly. Needless to say, O'Brien's ability to compartmentalize and deal with adversity is unquestioned.

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He's kind of cute.  I would do him.


I read an interview with McNair saying something like having expectations of immediate excellence.  Sounds like a thinly veiled threat, maybe Phase 1. Wild Enthusiasm.  Followed (closely?) by the other phases: 

Disillusionment, Confusion, Panic, Search for the Guilty, Punishment of the Innocent, and Distinction for the Uninvolved.


Jerome Solomon's usual "too cool for the room" schtick and Dave Tepper's "off-the-wall" silliness makes their radio show almost unbearable to listen to, but I caught a little of his take on O'Brien, and it's useful to remember that what the chattering class in sports says is little more than talking points.  O'Brien didn't have much of a record with Penn State, and he was a coach long before he joined Belichick in New England.  Tom Brady was Tom Brady before O'Brien got there, so he has a thin resume.  What is ominous is Bob McNair saying that if there was a disagreement between Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien over draft picks that he would have the final decision.  Sounds more and more like Drayton McLayne.

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