There Is No Loyalty In Coaching

The NFL playoffs will begin this weekend with some exciting matchups. And as those begin, there are also some teams looking to make changes to be a part of the playoffs next season. The Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings all fired their coaches one day after the end of the season. The Texans, on the other hand, had made it known before the season was over that they were going to be looking for a new head coach. They fired head coach Gary Kubiak with a few weeks to go in the season due the disappointing results on the field. So while others were firing their head coaches, they were hiring a new one to lead them. News broke this week that the Texans and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien were in talks to bring him in as the new head coach of the team. And on New Year’s Eve, that news became official as both sides agreed to a deal.

With the hire of O’Brien, I am sure some Penn State fans were not very happy. Gone is the coach that was supposed to lead them back out of the darkness that ended the Joe Paterno era. O’Brien once spoke of how he was committed to the process there at Penn State, only to go back to the NFL where he was once the offensive coordinator of the Patriots. The feeling at Penn State has to be one of frustration that their coach spoke lovingly about how he was going to be there one minute and the next he bolted for the NFL. I am sure the word “loyalty” has come up a few times among those that have witnessed this situation and that is understandable. But why anyone expected loyalty from a coach is what baffles me.

At one point and time, you used to see collegiate coaches stay at universities for long periods. Who can forget Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer and previous Penn State coach Joe Paterno walking up and down the sidelines? No one would ever thought they would be gone. But eventually, circumstances changed and that led to both being gone not on their own accord. These coaches showed loyalty only to be shown the door when certain situations arose.

With coaches getting let go quicker and quicker across the country, why should a coach be loyal to a university? The truth of the matter is collegiate sports is a dog-eat-dog world.  A coach may get a five-year deal and only finish two years due to the university not being happy with the results. A coach has a limited amount of time to make his money, so I do not fault them for jumping to renegotiate a deal or taking a better opportunity for more money. So to all that are downing O’Brien for leaving Penn State after being the supposed “Savior” or their program, I say get over it. The new era of coaching should tell you that coaches staying at programs forever does not happen. So loyalty all around is no more. The new era of coaching is here. Get used to it.


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The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free's World, the website for radio personality and former cohost of BET's 106 and Park Free (, The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on as well as here on My Mind On Sports . Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Cubs, and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions.

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4 Thoughts to “There Is No Loyalty In Coaching”

  1. Great article, It does seem that some coaches are always planning for the next big pay check. To be the coach of a traditional college like Penn State should of been an honor. The other thing is when some of these players sit there and believe in a coach and decide to make that commitment to attend a school, depending on the reason they made that choice, they made the decision to put their career in the hands of that coach. College football is only the first step of many players dreams of entering the NFL, that is a big trust they are putting in an institute.

    1. Mike Patton

      I’m sure it was an honor for him at Penn State, but its a dog-eat-dog world. Better get yours before they get you.

  2. Herm P

    I’m not upset with him either. To bad he’s now my enemy (AFC South). In all seriousness; hopefully he’s successful, because he’ll find the NFL has no patience for coaches who’s teams don’t make the playoffs regardless if the coach is at fault or not.

  3. MaineSkin

    I knew long ago when players and coaches started reciting, “Show up and do my job”, that part of the game described as the “human element” was leaving us for good. Due to paychecks professional sports is now considered a business where everyone shows up just to do thier job. Ask a CEO of a major cooperation if he’s always been “loyal” to those who allowed him to plant his roots. The answer is no because money drives most passion and as long as football is a $9B business, loyalty will always play 2nd fiddle.
    If players were compensated for their college careers, would they be more acclamated to follow their hearts and stay loyal to thier drafting franchise?

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