The Houston Texans are in the market for a new head coach. There are plenty of candidates available, but with the Texans, it's much more complicated than finding the best man for the job. The Texans have had their eye on one particular candidate for years now, the question is, have circumstances changed around the league enough for them to justify pulling the trigger?
Let's start by going backwards. Bill O'Brien was the Texans' head coach for six and a quarter seasons before he was fired after an 0-4 start in 2020. At the time O'Brien had taken the Texans to two consecutive postseasons and had even won a playoff game the previous season. When O'Brien was fired he was replaced by Romeo Crennel.
At the time Crennel was given the interim job he was 73 and had compiled a 28-55 record in stints in Cleveland and Kansas City earlier in the century. He was clearly not a long-term option, but then again neither was the man who replaced him, David Culley. At 66-years old, Culley had never been a head coach. It was clear at the time he was a placeholder, but for whom?
Another person the Texans interviewed that offseason was Josh McCown, a veteran quarterback who they had recently signed off the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. It was a long time ago, but I don't really recall anyone taking them seriously. McCown was moonlighting as a high school coach at the time so they couldn't really be serious, right?
We got our answer a year ago when the Texans again interviewed McCown following Culley's firing. McCown seemed to be the favorite for the job, but public pressure may have forced the Texans to relent and hire Lovie Smith out of nowhere. Smith had been the team's defensive coordintor and was never mentioned as a candidate. Smith went 3-13-1, but the team won two of their last three games, which the front office probably didn't appreciate since they played themselves out of the top pick.
Now Smith is out. Meaning for the third straight year, the Texans have fired a black coach who had been in an impossible situation. All in the last two calendar years. So now can they hire McCown?
In a September profile in The Athletic that outlined his vast NFL experiences, it was determined that McCown had his eye on the NFL, but was not "angling" for an NFL job this year. The one big thing that changed since that article is that Jeff Saturday was hired. Jim Irsay showed that a courageous owner could hire whoever the hell he wanted and many media members admitted that he was justified in doing so when the Colts won their first game under Saturday.
The glass ceiling for unqualified NFL coaching candidates had been shattered. While Saturday was simply taking a break from talking about football on television, McCown has been in the trenches coaching high school football deep in the heart of Texas where it just means more.
Clearly Cal McNair and Janice McNair have waited long enough to hire the guy they interviewed three times in the last two years. How much longer must they wait? McCown told The Athletic that he would "clean toilets if it’s the best thing for the organization," so there's really no reason not to bring him on in some capacity. Even if he has to wait out another placeholder hire before he can finally take over the mighty and proud Texans.