New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 09: Head coach Bill O'Brien of the Houston Texans reacts before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth,

Bill O’Brien is getting ready to join an exclusive club – football coaches who have worked for both Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. On Thursday, Alabama announced they are hiring the 51-year-old to be the team’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

O’Brien will go to Alabama to try to reset his stock – his disastrous run as the head coach and GM of the Houston Texans came to an end when he was let go back in October. In six-plus seasons under O’Brien, the Texans went 52-48, but never advanced past the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

His most recent experience at the college level was from 2012-2013, when he took over at Penn State following Joe Paterno’s departure and the Jerry Sandusky scandal and sanctions. O’Brien went 15-9 as the head of the Nittany Lions, but due to the sanctions never played in a bowl game.

Before heading to Penn State, O’Brien spent five years on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England, most notably as the offensive coordinator in 2011. With Josh McDaniels a candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles coaching job, there was some speculation that O’Brien could return to the role as a replacement. Alabama officially announcing the move – which had been first reported a week ago – just hours after the Eagles hired Nick Sirianni, adds some validity to that theory.

Other coaches who have worked for both Saban and Belichick include McDaniels, Giants head coach Joe Judge, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at