Two days after news first broke, the New England Patriots have made it official. On Thursday morning, they announced hiring Bill O’Brien as the team’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“I am looking forward to working with Bill again,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in a statement provided by the team. “He is an outstanding coach and an asset to our staff.”
O’Brien, 53, therefore returns to the team that gave him his start in the NFL. He initially arrived in New England back in 2007, and over the next five years climbed up the organizational ladder. He was named quarterbacks coach in 2009, and two years later was promoted to offensive coordinator.
In his lone season at the job, the Patriots had the third-best scoring offense in football and advanced all the way to the Super Bowl. He later left to become head coach at Penn State (2012-13) and the Houston Texans (2014-20), before spending the last two years at offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama.
Now, O’Brien’s career has come full circle. He will therefore replace assistant coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who jointly led the offense through a tumultuous and eventually disappointing 2022 campaign.
Patricia served as offensive play-caller, with Judge coaching quarterbacks. Now, O’Brien will take over both those roles leaving the statuses of his predecessors in question — especially given that neither was listed on the Patriots’ coaching roster for the upcoming East-West Shrine Bowl.
O’Brien, on the other hand, will be part of the team’s contingent. He will serve in a supervisory role, as was announced on Wednesday.