Bet the First Head Coach to be Fired 2019 (Part II)

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

This will be the second part of our analysis of the ‘First Coach to Be Fired’ market found in the NFL proposition betting odds.  In the first part, we suggested that second favorite Pat Shurmur is the most likely candidate to be first coach fired.  In this article, we’ll look at a couple of candidates down the board at higher prices:

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The Jets have decent personnel on hand, some big name additions at skill positions and a promising young quarterback in Sam Darnold.  Unfortunately, they made a highly questionable coaching hire in Adam Gase.  The theory is that Jets co-owner Christopher Johnson brought in Gase to help develop Darnold.  It’s important, however, to keep in mind that the Jets’ day to day operations are now in the hands of Christopher Johnson and not his brother Woody Johnson who is now the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom.  Christopher Johnson has only been on the job since 2017.  Maybe older brother Woody would have realized that Gase is a poor fit for Darnold’s skill set?  He almost certainly would have not considered Gase some sort of ‘offensive guru’ since his offenses in Miami regressed each year during his tenure ranking #24, #25 and #31 it total offense.  Miami’s discipline was bad under Gase and the Dolphins were annually one of the most penalized teams in the league. 

Gase’s most recent miscue came in the Jets’ second preseason game of the year when linebacker Avery Williamson tore his ACL late in the second quarter with the rest of the Jets’ starters on the bench.  Gase has ‘taken blame’ for a bad coaching decision and expressed ‘regret’.  To be fair, injuries are just something that happen in sports and Williamson could have just as easily suffered the season ending injury on the first play of the game. Gase probably isn’t to blame for the injury even with the ‘bad coaching decision’. The problem is that the rationale for having him in the first place was dubious at best.  He also capitulated almost immediately to the swarming New York media and that suggests he might not have the thick skin and decision making confidence of a Rex Ryan or Bill Parcells.  If the local sports media smells blood in the water it could make things tough for Gase.  Should the Jets under perform with their new talent acquisitions, the risk of an early exit for Gase would be even greater.


Bill O’Brien got his ticket into the NFL coaching ranks after he did a phenomenal job at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and departure of longtime coach Joe Paterno.  He made the move to the Houston Texans in 2014 after compiling a 15-9 record at Penn State.  That college record might not sound like much but with the Nittany Lions program at it’s lowest ebb ever due to the scandal and severe NCAA sanctions it’s a pretty impressive feat.  He’s put up three winning seasons in four tries in the NFL but even so the jury is still out on how effective he is at the pro level.  His first three years in Houston saw identical 9-7 records which earned the Texans the top spot in the AFC South on two occasions.  In 2017, the Texans dropped to 4-12 but they rebounded to a 11-5 record in 2018.

The Houston Texans had a miserable start to the 2018 season losing their first three games.  At 0-3, it was clear that O’Brien was on the ‘hot seat’ but from that point the Texans turned things around winning 9 straight and 10 of 11.  They'd finish the season 11-5 but would end up losing to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs.  It’s unclear how much of the turnaround was O’Brien’s doing.  The Texans won two games in OT to start the streak and would end up winning 5 of the 9 games in their long winning streak by single digits.  Four of these wins were by 3 or less.  In addition, the Texans enjoyed the benefit of a +13 turnover differential.  The problem is that statistical experts consider a team’s record in close games and turnover differential as more of a function of variance than anything else.  O'Brien still isn't a great clock or game manager.  Quarterback Deshaun Watson is excellent but played last season behind one of the worst offensive lines in football.  The Texans made the line a focus in the draft but it’s unclear if there has  been a substantial upgrade.  They lost cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and star linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is currently a holdout.  If Clowney digs in for the long haul and misses any time he’s a huge absence.  Ultimately, O’Brien’s leash is much shorter than the price suggests.

Next up, we’ll head back to the coaching props at BetOnline.ag and see if we can find any value in the ‘AP Coach of the Year’ market.

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