That's surely not what David Culley sees in the his Houston Texans mirror. He's waited a quarter of a century for this shot, a football lifer now in charge in an NFL where there are only 32 such jobs.
But what a difficult job it figures to be.
As CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes: "Poor guy has to wait til his mid-60s to get his first shot and he does it with he Texans at the worst possible time. All kinds of palace intrigue, a coach-in-waiting (Josh McCown) hanging around, an awful roster and a rookie GM who comes from New England, where casting aside someone after just one year is never not an option. Oh, and they are at war with their franchise QB who may end up suspended for quite some time for the various allegations against him. Brutal.''
We cannot argue with the writer's general take on the Texans. "Palace intrigue'' sounds right. "Worst possible time'' sounds right. Bad roster and Deshaun Watson in limbo and the distinct possibility that Houston will be the NFL's crummiest club?
Sounds right. Or at least plausible.
But what of the notion, tucked inside La Canfora's column "ranking the seven new head coaches'' situations, that first-year general manager Nick Caserio might "cast aside'' Culley "after one year''?
La Canfora is, we assume, envisioning in general the cold-hearted Bill Belichick's approach in New England, where Caserio has spent all of his NFL time learning his craft. We're not sure of specific examples where Belichick's behavior would lead one to conclude that Culley would be one-and-done in Houston.
But the general idea of Caserio running things with a style borrowed from Belichick? "Patriots South,'' in so many ways, no matter how much Texans owner Cal McNair dislikes the label?
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Yes. That we get.
Houston might indeed remember Culley as either a stepping stone or a doormat, someone who was the placeholder for a successor who led Houston to greater heights - ideally because Culley put down important foundational groundwork.
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Or, less than ideally, because he turned out to be not good enough at the job, or overwhelmed by the job, or a poor fit working in tandem with Caserio, or because he's made a scapegoat.
But when Culley - who grew up in segregated Tennessee and is just one of five minority head coaches in the NFL - looks in the mirror, he surely sees something else: Opportunity.
"I'm the head coach here for a reason," Culley said. "I don't feel like I'm the head coach here with the Houston Texans because I'm a minority. David Culley was the best hire for this job, for this family and this franchise, who just happens to be African-American. ... All I know is it happened for me.''
Clearly, "poor guy'' doesn't fit David Culley's outlook. Also clearly, he deserves Houston Texans time to establish that his outlook is accurate.
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