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.