Sean Pendergast

Bill O'Brien Back in the NFL as New Patriots Offensive Coordinator

Bill O'Brien is back in the NFL as the new offensive coordinator in New England.
Bill O'Brien is back in the NFL as the new offensive coordinator in New England. Photo by Eric Sauseda
When we last saw Bill O'Brien employed in some capacity in the National Football League, he was busy murdering the Houston Texans' roster with a slew of awful trades and bloated contracts handed out to subpar free agents, while subsequently starting the 2020 season with an 0-4 record. O'Brien was fired by the Texans in early October, and if you would like to relive that bit of magic, here was his goodbye press conference:

For the last two years, since leaving the Texans, O'Brien has been the offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama, and the position coach for possible future Texan quarterback Bryce Young. At times, he has been the punching bag for a college fan base that is unaccustomed to losing multiple games in a season in back to back years. (Nice problem to have!)

Well, Alabama will not have O'Brien to kick around anymore, as he will be returning to the place where the roots of his NFL career began. Bill O'Brien, as of Tuesday, is once again the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, a position he held for three years (2009 through 2011), before leaving to become the head coach at Penn State University. The news of O'Brien's return to New England was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Low.

O'Brien, 53 years old and a native of Massachusetts, will enter the Patriots offensive coordinator role under far different circumstances than he did in 2009, when the offense was being skippered by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. This time around, O'Brien is coming in to clean up a mess, as the Patriots just completed a season where former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was inexplicably handed play calling duties on OFFENSE.

The results were catastrophic for second year quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots' offense, as the Patriots plummeted into the bottom five in the league in key statistical categories like red zone efficiency, third down efficiency, and first downs. The results were so bad that the Patriots actually put out a press release on January 12 announcing they would be seeking a new offensive coordinator.

The job is not only a great fit geographically and inside the building, but O'Brien already has a preexisting relationship with his new QB Jones, as it was Jones who helped O'Brien learn the Crimson Tide offense in the months following Jones' final season with Alabama.

O'Brien is the latest former Saban offensive coordinator to see his coaching stock rise back up, following
Steve Sarkisian, Mike Locksley, Brian Daboll, and Lane Kiffin, who are all now either NFL head coaches,  offensive coordinators, or Power 5 college head coaches.

In case you're wondering, the Texans do not play the Patriots in 2023, but will play them in New England in 2024.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast