Sean Pendergast

Bill O'Brien Climbing The Odds Board For First NFL Coach Fired

Bill O'Brien is climbing the odds board for first head coach fired this season.
Bill O'Brien is climbing the odds board for first head coach fired this season. Photo by Eric Sauseda
On my radio show, which I cohost with original Houston Texan defensive tackle Seth Payne, Seth and I jokingly refer to Texans head coach Bill O'Brien's general manager alter ego as "William O'Brien." In other words, there are two Bill O'Briens — there's the head coach who is named "Bill," and the GM who is named "William." Well, three weeks in, William O'Brien's atrocious personnel decisions this past offseason have really pained Bill O'Brien into a corner.

Not that Bill O'Brien doesn't deserve some serious blame. The play calling, handled by O'Brien's hand picked pupil Tim Kelly, has been atrocious. The playbook itself is unimaginative and wonky. Bill O'Brien, the head coach, is wasting Deshaun Watson's early prime by tossing him to the wolves every Sunday behind this underachieving offensive line.

As a result of all this, the future of both versions of O'Brien are in serious jeopardy, and if you're looking to cash in on the termination of his head coaching career, you can do that. Nothing like wagering on people's future employment. See? There are some cool things about 2020!

Courtesy of the wagering website, here are the futures odds on which NFL head coach will be the first one fired this season, with my case for betting on each one:

First Head Coach Fired

Dan Quinn, ATL  (1-2)
Quinn was hanging around the top of the odds board halfway through last season during a 1-7 start, but the Falcons kept him around and he held onto his job with a 6-2 finish. They may be regretting their patience now. The Falcons are 0-3 with two monumental collapses the last two weeks, blowing second half leads of 19 points and 16 points to the Cowboys and Bears, respectively.

Adam Gase, NYJ  (3-1)
Gase was brought in because it was thought that his work with quarterbacks at previous stops would translate into good mentorship for Sam Darnold. Instead, the 0-3 Jets are the consensus worst team in football, and Darnold is coming off a loss to the Colts in which he threw two pick sixes.

Matt Patricia, DET  (5-1)
A little over two seasons into his head coaching career, and Patricia is proving to be latest Belichick Tree failure, with a 10-24-1 record in 35 games as a head coach. He is 1-2 this season, and with both losses, the Lions had a double digit lead dissipate before their very eyes.

Bill O'Brien, HOU  (9-1)
Y'all know the story here. Moving along....

Mike Zimmer, MIN  (9-1)
The head coach on the opposite sideline this weekend versus O'Brien, Zimmer's Vikings are looking for their first win on the season. Zimmer is widely respected around the league, and he just signed a huge contract extension, so betting on him is like lighting money on fire.

Doug Marrone, JAC  (10-1)
I really like the value on Marrone here. The Jags are 1-2 on the season, and the pluckiness of their first two weeks (win over the Colts, close loss to the Titans) is buoying his stock to some degree. I think the blowout loss to the Dolphins is closer to what we see this season. If they start out, say, 2-8, couldn't we see the Khan family finally move on from Marrone? I could.

Vic Fangio, DEN  (12-1)
The Broncos are 0-3, and they are ravaged with injuries, including a shoulder injury to their starting QB Drew Lock. Look, Fangio can't control the injuries, but the Broncos are ripe to hire a young, forward thinking, offensive head coach. Eric Bienemy, the current Chiefs OC, would be perfect here, having played football at the University of Colorado and coached in the division the last seven years with the Chiefs.


Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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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 afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast