Straight Up Bull

Bill O'Brien

To believe anything that a prominent public figure says these days would be naive. Charlie Brown believing that Lucy won’t pull the football away when he tries to kick it naive.

For some reason though, I think we all wanted to believe Bill O’Brien when he stated that he was “committed for the long term to Penn State.” After what was possibly the most tragic scandal in sports history, Bill O’Brien was promising something more than winning football games to not only the men at Penn State but every loyal supporter of the program in Happy Valley.

He was promising hope.

Hope is exactly what Bill O’Brien gave Penn State this year. He walked into a situation worse than what anyone could have had nightmares about and made the Nittany Lions respectable again. Respectable wasn’t expected right away but Bill O’Brien somehow managed to do it. He promised hope and he delivered.

At least for one year he did.

However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bill O’Brien is now rumoured to be considering interviews for the many vacant NFL head coaching positions following the dreaded Black Monday.

Even though this shouldn’t be a surprise, I think we all expected more out of Bill O’Brien. Given the circumstances, it wouldn’t be fair to the young men that he promised hope to and it wouldn’t be fair to everyone who thought Bill O’Brien was being genuine when he said he was completely on board to reviving Penn State football.

Bill O’Brien has shown us that he is no different than most any other high level professional head coach in North America.

All of these head coaches preach commitment, brotherhood and loyalty. They expect the players to buy into these things that they preach but in the end it is all just garbage they spew out for their selfish gains. Their ultimate goal is not to help mold teenagers into young men or fight the good fight with their players as if they were brothers. It is simply a means of furthering themselves in the cutthroat world of professional coaching.

It is more of a do as I say, not as I do kind of thing. Get the players to buy in. That’s all that really matters.

Bill O’Brien said what he said because he knew he had to. There was no other way he was going to convince the current players at Penn State not to jump ship. But to look those young men in the eye and tell them that he was going to be in it for the long haul with them is plain old disgusting. This was a disaster for the ages and Bill O’Brien is choosing to ignore the unique situation in favour of me, myself and I.

Whether he decides to interview for an NFL job or not is irrelevant. The fact that it has gone public that he is even considering it is enough to prove that he is no different than any other selfish professional head coach.

You know, the ones who portray themselves to be family men but in actuality spend 18 hours a day working, never seeing their wife or kids. What about the college coaches that tell their superstar player they would be better served staying the extra year in school (I’m looking at you Pete Carroll).

I should have learned by now that the circumstances of their program or team is not important. Coaches will say whatever it takes to get ahead in the game. They can’t practice what they preach because so much of what comes out of their mouths is a bunch of blinkin’ fertilizer. A coaches supposed steadfast commitment to their current team and players is about as trustworthy as the National Enquirer.

They are committed to themselves.

If someone in Bill O’Brien’s shoes is willing to say he is in it for the “long term” and that he would do everything in his power to “help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence” then pretty much everything is fair game.

Bill O’Brien has every right to explore his options as an NFL coach but it’s not as if those opportunities won’t be there down the line for him.

Is Lane Kiffin really that much worse than any of these other guys? Lane Kiffin doesn’t give a damn about anyone except for himself but he is just not as subtle about his overt selfishness. Really, none these coaches give a damn about anyone else.

So the next time you hear a coach speaking about dedication, loyalty and commitment, call it out for what it is.


Agree? Disagree? Reply in the comments section below or e-mail me at

Also, you can follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

4 Responses to Straight Up Bull

  1. Chris: Thanks for your comments on my blog.

    I really want to believe that O’Brien is going to come out and say that all of these rumors are false and that he isn’t going anywhere. I want to believe there are a few decent coaches out there, but I’m afraid that much of what you have posted is accurate. If he leaves it will be total devastation for the program, community, kids etc. He has to know that. Let’s hope he does the right thing.

  2. For $5 million a year Bill O’Brien will allow anyone to bi$ch slap him for the privilege .

    Tophatal ……………..

  3. Chris

    Do you by any chance recall Saban’s role reversal while with the Dolphins , some years back when pressed on his issue of quite possibly returning to the collegiate ranks ? Just thought I’d throw that in !

  4. Chris

    And now the state’s governor Tom Corbett </a. is now proving to be an arrogant @sshole , as he seeks to sue the NCAA in order to rescind the $60 million fine levied against Penn State .

    Sent you a “tweet” concerning this and a link to my site concerning the story .

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