Given the status of Bill O’Brien’s current contract and the unusual nature of this season, it’s likely the Houston Texans keep him at least through 2021.
While the coronavirus pandemic isn’t helping anyone or anything, there’s one unintended consequence it may cause that could be considered a small silver lining: This 2020 season is set up to be unlike any other NFL season in history.
To be clear, that’s definitely not a good thing … unless you’re a head coach in this league.
The NFL is famous for being a “what have you done lately for me?” organization. The pages of NFL history are littered with talented coaches and coordinators who had tremendous success one season, struggled the next, and found themselves suddenly unemployed as a result.
Needless to say, owners are not the most patient of people.
That all being said, the unusual and unprecedented nature of this pandemic and how it will inevitably affect the NFL season — if there ends up being a season at all — could actually benefit many coaches in the long run.
Whereas in a “normal” season some of these coaches and employees might find a pink slip in their inbox should they struggle at doing the job they were hired to do, owners might be more forgiving this season because of all the changes that have occurred (and will occur) with the pandemic still raging around the country.
This could benefit Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien, who is under no uncertain amount of pressure to take this roster to the next level in his eighth season at the helm.
Houston Texans’ run on division titles is Bill O’Brien’s saving grace
On the surface, O’Brien has done a phenomenal job in H-Town. Under his leadership, the Texans have captured four of the past five AFC South titles.
That’s an impressive accomplishment no matter how you want to spin it … but it might not be enough much longer.
This is a franchise that is ready for another step forward, particularly given all the talent on offense now to complement an already strong defense (hello, Deshaun Watson).
The Texans have lost in the Wild Card round twice and in the Division round twice. They have yet to make the AFC Championship Game in their history — and they’re the only team out of all 32 clubs in the NFL who hasn’t yet made a conference championship appearance.
They’re also one of four teams to have never made a Super Bowl appearance (Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, and Detroit Lions are the other three).
Because O’Brien has two years left on his current contract extension — and because of how the pandemic is affecting this year — it would be a surprise to see Houston ownership move on from him prematurely.
Barring a total collapse in 2020, expect O’Brien to return for 2021 (the final year of his deal), no matter what happens this season in terms of the Texans’ playoff hopes.