The "Bill O'Brien to the NFL" Rumors Are Starting Again

December 15, 2013 at 12:22p    by Vico    
Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien's debut in Penn State was, by most measures, a success. Though he began the season 0-2 with a home loss to Ohio, and a rather ugly loss at Virginia, O'Brien rebounded to win eight of the next ten games. Amid considerable turmoil and still in the immediate wake of Paterno's dismissal, death, and all the NCAA storm clouds that came in tow because of the broader university-wide Sandusky scandal, the 2012 Penn State football team finished 8-4. O'Brien picked up coach of the year honors from the Big Ten, the Maxwell Football Club, and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

His follow-up was not as successful. The 2013 Nittany Lions followed an 8-4 season with a 7-5 campaign. The losses at Indiana and Ohio State were unqualified disasters, though O'Brien's Nittany Lions rebounded to beat Wisconsin in Madison on Wisconsin's Senior Day. This, perhaps, cost Wisconsin a BCS bid (at least if Ohio State would have won the Big Ten Championship Game).

Now, O'Brien is allegedly testing the NFL waters again.

Penn State's Bill O'Brien, who came close to taking the Eagles job a year ago and was approached by several other teams, is ready to return to professional football, according to pro and college sources, and has already been approached by the Texans and Vikings.


O'Brien struggled with the decision last year and ultimately felt he owed it to his players to stay at Happy Valley for a second season, but relations between him and the school frayed some when the school was subjected to more post-Sandusky sanctions than expected, and he also has had three staff members depart recently. His buyout is less financially restrictive than in past years, and, furthermore, there could be litigation over his buyout as well, if the situation escalates, given the penalties the program faced.

Count me as one of those Ohio State fans very curious to see how good O'Brien is with a full roster and no NCAA sanctions. I think it would be great for the Big Ten. It's one reason why I'm reluctant to see him leave for the NFL, even if the ensuing meltdown from Blue White Illustrated's message boards would be hilarious.

My own hunch is that O'Brien's iron in the NFL fire will never be hotter than it is now, or was last year. If he turns down the opportunity this time, or is not presented with one, I think he stays at Penn State for the long haul.

As of right now, it's a development worth following as we enter the new calendar year.



Smanpoint10's picture

I really hope he stays. Penn State and the B1G need him

The Clean North's picture

If not this year then next year there will be speculation, and the year after that, and the year after that until he finally takes a job in the NFL. 

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Uh oh...unHappy Valley once again.

PA Buckeye's picture

Go Bill go. I want to see the meltdown. Yes, I know it would hurt the B1G. So did TSUN losing to Arizona yesterday. So?

Hell with the lid off

smokeybandit's picture

O'Brien will always be linked with NFL jobs.  He's just a trendy candidate for the beat writers to offer up.
He may some day go to the NFL, but it won't be this year.  It won't be next.  With sanctions all but gone next year (PSU will be bowl eligible, mark it down) he's got unfinished business there.

InvertMyVeer's picture

Football is complicated...

ATXbucknut's picture

Are those boobies?

CptBuckeye24's picture

I don't understand why he would stay.  The talent on that roster is depleting.  Yes, there is Hackenburg, but still.

otrain2416's picture

Every time I see something like this I become more glad we have a coach like Urban who is dedicated OSU and to making the great state of Ohio proud. 

vtbuckeye's picture

If BoB leaves PSU... Herman, Fickel, Withers, or Drayton...Which one is going to be rumored to be a head coach candidate for the vacancy at PSU.

hetuck's picture

Tom Bradley returns.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

Phutatorius's picture

The sense I have from articles and quotes I've read is that BOB doesn't especially enjoy the recruiting aspect of the gig.  And that strikes me as a deal breaker, in the long run.

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

I hate articles like this because I can never decide if I want the B1G to keep good coaches to raise the conference profile or if I want to mock other fanbases when things go stupid.  I guess if I had to make a decision I'd go with the latter.  If the Buckeyes are undefeated they'll be in the top 4 in the country.  Just win, baby.

Buckidelphia's picture

B1G needs O'Brien to stay. I think I saw his contract buyout was 13 million which is huge. 

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Texas could pay that with money to spare.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

buckguy10's picture

I'm not an expert but I'm pretty sure you're wrong. 13 million sounds quite high.


He'd be the logical choice if Belichick decided to step down just because he knows Tom Brady and the organization. Not sure if that's going to happen anytime soon.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

FitzBuck's picture

I know one player that Urban will flip like a pancake if this happens.  Go Bill 


Toledo - Ohio's right armpit 

"A troll by any other name is still a troll". 


buckguy10's picture

I, for one, as a Vikings fan would love to have BoB as their coach. Maybe he could coach the QBs there up from "Dumpster Fire" to "Respectable"

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Looked pretty respectable against the Eagles.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

buckeyeboy59's picture

If Bill O'Brien went to the NFL, Penn State would have a rough time finding someone to help their program the way he has