- Oddsmakers are offering a prop wager on the future of Bill O’Brien as head coach of the Houston Texans
- The sportsbook has set the odds at -300 odds that he’ll retain his job to start the 2020 season
- The Texans blew a 24-0 lead in their AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs
Coach Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans made NFL history on Sunday. It’s not the kind of momentous occasion that he will be highlighting in next season’s yearbook, though.
The Texans were the first team in NFL playoff history to hold both a 20-point lead and face a 20-point deficit in the same game. In their AFC Division Round game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Texans raced out to a 24-0 lead.
They’d squandered that advantage by halftime, trailing 28-24 at the break. Kansas City finished with a 51-31 victory.
Nonetheless, oddsmakers believe that O’Brien will survive his latest failure. The sportsbook has set the odds of O’Brien still coaching the Texans come Week 1 of the 2020 NFL regular season at -300.
Odds Bill O’Brien Is Coach of Houston Texans in Week 1 of 2020
Odds taken Jan. 13.
O’Brien just finished his sixth season in charge of the Texans and is 54-48 overall, including playoffs.
What Was O’Brien Thinking?
Two questionable decisions summed up why O’Brien is feeling the ire of Texans fans and being openly questioned by the media following Sunday’s stunning setback.
With Houston ahead 21-0 and facing a fourth-and-one at the KC 13-yard line, the he opted for the field goal rather than going for it and seeking a fourth touchdown to perhaps put the dagger in the Chiefs.
Let’s waive the 5-year waiting period and induct Bill O’Brien’s 2nd quarter into the Bad Coaching Hall of Fame, pantheon wing, with his bust covered in gold and vomit.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 12, 2020
After Kansas City got on the board via a TD, Houston faced a fourth-and-four from their own 31. They tried to catch the Chiefs by surprise with a fake punt but were thwarted on the gamble.
Gifted with a short field, three plays later KC scored another TD to narrow Houston’s lead to 24-14.
A History Of Questionable Game Management
This certainly isn’t the first time that O’Brien’s in-game decision making has come under scrutiny.
For instance, in a 2017 regular-season game at New England, Houston led 30-28 late in the fourth quarter. Faced with a fourth-and-one, O’Brien opted to kick a field goal and take a 33-28 lead with 3:31 left in regulation. Tom Brady then drove the Patriots for a game-winning TD and a 36-33 triumph.
Bill O'Brien on 4th & 1:
"I just felt like we didn't have a great play there for the fourth down at that point and time."
The Texans led the NFL in conversions on 4th & 1 this season (9-for-12).
— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) January 13, 2020
O’Brien’s play-calling shortcomings were again evident on Sunday. He goes conservative when a gamble makes sense, and takes risks when playing it safe is the logical path.
Texans Won’t Fire O’Brien
O’Brien is 52-44 as Houston’s coach in the regular season, winning four AFC South titles. But he is just 2-4 in the postseason. The Texans have never won a playoff game beyond the Wild Card round under his tutelage.
However, he has what all NFL coaches craves – personnel control. O’Brien’s been Houston’s de facto GM since Brian Gaine was fired in June.
Deshaun Watson said he has "no doubt" Bill O'Brien is right coach for Texans.
Watson: "As long as I’m at quarterback, he’s cool with me. He’s got my heart. He’s going to get all 110% every time I step on the field." pic.twitter.com/6Jh8wiMeWw
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) January 13, 2020
More importantly, O’Brien’s star players remain firmly in his corner. Quarterback Deshaun Watson openly supported his coach postgame Sunday.
Houston Texans Under Bill O’Brien
|2014||9-7||2nd AFC South||N/A||N/A|
|2015||9-7||1st AFC South||0-1||Lost Wild Card|
|2016||9-7||1st AFC South||1-1||Lost Divisional Round|
|2017||4-12||4th AFC South||N/A||N/A|
|2018||11-5||1st AFC South||0-1||Lost Wild Card|
|2019||10-6||1st AFC South||1-1||Lost Divisional Round|
Under O’Brien, the Texans are a good but not great team, and that appears to be satisfactory for ownership.
Although, after Sunday’s debacle, it’s hard not to recall the infamous line of former Detroit Lions coach Darryl Rogers: What’s a guy gotta do around here to get fired?
Pick: Yes (-300)
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