It figured all along that Bill O’Brien was staying at Penn State next year.
His contract buyout would have been prohibitively expensive. Moving his family one year after moving them to HV seemed problematic in a number of ways. His family includes two young boys, one of whom has extremely specialized medical and educational needs.
He told us a couple weeks ago that he and his sons were extremely comfortable and happy with their school situations in State College, that he loves the neighborhood he’s in, that he’s hugely impressed with the youth-sport coaches his son is playing for, etc, etc. And if he’s being even halfway truthful about his pride in and affection for his 2012 team, you’d think that would be a powerful magnet.
The entire argument for leaving, to me, was always just: 1. “Football coaches don’t think the way you and I think,” and, 2. “The NFL is football Nirvana.” Both those arguments, it says here, are trumped by the truth that O’Brien has a better long-term chance to be an icon, a legendary, hall-of-fame type figure, and a better chance to have big fun doing it, at Penn State than anywhere else.
I’m a little annoyed with O’Brien for making the announcement that he’s staying the way he did. Two weeks ago, during his weekly press conference before the Indiana game, I asked him how he’d respond if the NFL came calling, and he not only didn’t use the chance to say he was staying, but seemed a bit annoyed by the question.
After the Indiana game, he was asked again, and the question was worded in a way that afforded him a chance to simply say yes (staying) or no (leaving). This time he became more clearly agitated, and again stonewalled.
Then he makes the announcement on a Tuesday morning on an Atlanta talk-radio show? Makes you wonder if he or his agent were looking at something they decided against, or that fell through. Whatever.
As for the Big Ten awards, the Harrisburg Patriot is reporting that the coach of the year vote was unanimous, apparently by both the coaches’ and media, who vote separately, for separate awards.
I thought O’Brien would win, but considering that there’s a first-year coach in the league who went 12-0, unanimous is amazing, and tells me the other coaches see what O’Brien pulled off as a near-miracle.
Excellent piece from Food Guru Bodani here about how BOB did it, including interesting stuff from Stephon Morris, who emerged late in the year as the team’s Oscar Wilde in terms of quotability.