The Texans are unlikely to fire Bill O'Brien. Any defense of O'Brien has included the fact the Texans made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. Something he had previously accomplished with Brock Osweiler and barely accomplished this season with Deshaun Watson.
It isn't unheard of for a coach to have been fired after making it to the playoffs though. Rare, but not unheard of in the NFL.
Here are the examples of teams moving on from coaches right after a playoff appearance or even a playoff win and how they fared with their new head coach.
2001 - Tampa Bay fires Tony Dungy for Jon Gruden
We all know how this one turned out!
Dungy had seen back-to-back wild card playoff appearances end just one game into the postseason. The Buccaneers got smoked in both those games scoring just 12 points in the two games. Each year they also had a team go further in the playoffs from their division.
Tampa Bay fired Tony Dungy and later traded for John Gruden. It was a hefty price to pay (2 first round picks, 2 second round picks, and $8 million) but they won the Super Bowl in Gruden's first year.
It worked out great for them. It worked out great for Tony Dungy too. He went to Indianapolis and won a Super Bowl a few years later with the Colts and Peyton Manning.
2006 - San Diego fires Marty Schottenheimer for Norv Turner
I loved Marty Schottenheimer. I, like most, knew his playoff disappointment was too much for the Chargers to stomach. It was only his second appearance in the playoffs for San Diego and the Chargers were the best team in the NFL. They promptly lost their first playoff game to a hot Patriots team.
Norv Turner would take over and though the offense wasn't as good, they went a round further and if Philip Rivers wasn't hurt they might have ousted the Patriots and won the Super Bowl. Turner would never reach the conference championship again losing in the divisional round the following year and the wild card round the year after that. Turner would coach three more seasons where he wouldn't make a playoff apperance before being fired. Marty Schottenheimer would never coach in the NFL again after San Diego fired him.
It almost worked out perfect in the very first year for the Chargers.
2017 - Tennessee fires Mike Mularkey for Mike Vrabel
This one has to sting the most for Texans fans.
It was a joke Mike Mularkey was hired after a 2-7 stint in 2015 as the interim head coach but he rattled off a 9-7 record the following year. The Titans lost three of their last four in 2017 but made the playoffs. Miraculously, they went to Kansas City and beat the Chiefs.
Mike Mularkey was going to save his job.
Then the Patriots smacked them down and Mularkey was fired a couple of days later.
"We've done a lot of good things here over the past two years. I just felt like we needed to go a different direction and maximize the skill sets of the players."
Those are the words of Titans general manager Jon Robinson.
Now, think about those words as Deshaun Watson had a worse statistical year in 2019 than the previous year. Same for DeAndre Hopkins. In fact, the whole offense was worse statistically finishing 14th in points a year after finishing 11th. The team was deeper on offense. The offensive line was better. Deshaun Watson had a healthy offseason.
And the Texans regressed.
The Titans, thanks to Mike Vrabel maximizing his players, are playing in the AFC Championship this weekend with a former Texans coach.
History is against O'Brien
O'Brien was asked what he needs to improve on: "There will be things, definitely John, and again this is no excuse ... we're gonna work here for a while, we're gonna take some time off, and those are things that I'm gonna really think about." pic.twitter.com/UhhThqxlyc— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) January 13, 2020
Every Super Bowl winning coach since 2000 played in a conference championship game before their fourth year with their team with two exceptions. Tom Coughlin and Pete Carrol, the two exceptions, each won the Super Bowl in year four coaching their respective teams. Heck, even the Super Bowl losing head coaches in that same time frame had almost all played in a conference championship before year four.
O'Brien is entering year seven as the Texans head coach.
All three of these situations worked out nearly immediately for these teams. The Texans will not have that option. Will O'Brien even be in trouble for year eight if he replicates this past season? Would he even be in danger of losing any sort of power if he took a small step back.
Despite history working against him and evidence showing there can be big success after medium and small success, it might not be in the cards for the Texans. We could be in the decade of O'Brien unless he truly is special and unique or unless the Texans take a page out of their hated rivals' book.
What do you make of this? Should the Texans have pulled a Titans and moved on from O'Brien despite his 2019 campaign?
The Rockets are back in action against the Warriors Monday night. Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Going into Sunday night’s game, LeBron James wasn’t motivated alone by Dillon Brooks’ slights against him.
The Los Angeles Lakers superstar took to Instagram on Saturday night and wrote under a graphic showing he had 108 games with at least 30 points since coming to Los Angeles in 2018 “But I just came here to make movies though! Ain't that what y'all said right !?!?”
That graphic needs to be updated.
James scored a season-high 37 points, including the go-ahead free throw with 1.9 seconds remaining, as the Lakers held off the Houston Rockets 105-104 on Sunday night.
It was James’ fifth 30-point game this season and his fourth in his last seven.
“Sometimes you need to remind people. So that’s what it was,” James said about the graphic.
Alperen Sengun's layup tied it with four seconds remaining when the Lakers called timeout. Austin Reaves passed it into James, who was fouled by Tari Eason as he drove inside. James missed the first free throw, but made the second.
Houston, which did not have a timeout left, got the ball to midcourt, but Brooks' 3-point attempt was offline.
“I liked how we battled back and kept fighting. We just didn't play smart at the end,” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said.
James scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and gave the Lakers their fifth win in the last six games.
Earlier in the game, the NBA's All-Time leading scorer became the fourth player in league history with at least 10,500 assists (he finished with eight and is at 10,504). He also tied Vince Carter for seventh on the 3-pointers list with 2,290, and moved past Clyde Drexler for eighth on the steals list at 2,208.
“That's the LeBron we’ve all come to know and love over these 21 years,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said.
James and Brooks, who have had a nice rivalry going since last season's playoff series between the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, put on another entertaining show.
James picked up a technical for shoving Brooks early in the third quarter but then made a “too small” gesture on the court after he scored over Brooks late in the quarter.
“He's a great competitor. I like going against him. And he was hooping tonight for sure. He shot the ball exceptionally well and kept them in the game,” James said.
Anthony Davis added 27 points and 10 rebounds, but fouled out with 58 seconds remaining. Reaves came off the bench and had 17 points.
Brooks led the Rockets with 24 points, including a season-high six 3-pointers, and Sengun had 23. Houston has dropped two straight after five straight wins.
Rockets: At Golden State on Monday night.
Lakers: Host Utah on Tuesday in the In-Season Tournament.