Is Bill O'Brien going full Rocky IV before our eyes?
Bill O'Brien may finally be getting some self-awareness. The Texans coach has at long last realized he has an image problem, not just locally, but nationally.
After a year in which he blew a big lead in a playoff game, went off on TV at the draft, traded away key players like DeAndre Hopkins and Jadeveon Clowney for pennies on the dollar and became the star of the infamous "you suck, too!" video, O'Brien is trying to change the narrative.
First, he had a truly heartfelt and emotional reaction to George Floyd's death. It showed a rare human side to a man who has appeared anything but publicly.
Next, he announced he would take a knee with his players during the national anthem. It showed a change of direction for the entire organization, and it again made O'Brien look human.
Finally, he hosted a roundtable off-the-record chat with several Houston media members. (I must have misplaced my invite, but good for him). A few people there said it was nothing earth shattering, but at least trying to open communication is a step in the right direction.
Is he really changing? Or is it just a desperate attempt to clean up an ugly image? Believe it or not, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. These times we live in are changing all of us. Some for the better, some for worse. There is no "normal" anymore. We will simply have to adjust to whatever is the new normal.
O'Brien is at least making an effort, and listening to others for a change. Maybe that translates to his in-game coaching skills as well, because he could afford to make some changes there.
The media meeting was an attempt to maybe erase some of his terseness with that group in press conferences. Most press conferences are useless, but O'Brien's are next level worthless. "Best interest of the team. We have to coach better, we have to play better. I have to look at the tape."
No one expects that to really change. It doesn't help when half the questions are softballs and the other half O'Brien takes as personal attacks. But getting to know the media that covers you outside of doing business with them is always smart. Listening to each other and getting a sense of what makes us tick is essential in life, especially in the wake of current events.
O'Brien has a long way to go, no question. But he seems to be making an effort, and hopefully it will translate to the field next season as well, if there is a next season.
I'm reminded of the words of Rocky at the end of Rocky IV.
"If I can change and you can change, everybody can change."
Maybe it's just O'Brien's turn. Finally.
- Bill O'Brien Says He'll Kneel with Texans Players During Anthem: 'All ... ›
- Bill O'Brien will take a knee for national anthem: I'm all for it ... ›
- Houston Texans' Bill O'Brien vows to kneel with players in protest ›
- Bill O'Brien says he'll kneel alongside Texans players ›
- Texans' Bill O'Brien says he will kneel for the national anthem during ... ›