Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Houston Texans head coach David Culley reacts against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans fired head coach David Culley on Thursday after just one season at the helm. It was a move that surprised a lot of people but also disappointed many who saw it as the latest instance of a black coach getting less time and support than would be expected.

Many NFL pundits noted that there was reason to believe this was always Culley’s fate when the long-time assistant took the head coaching job, his first, last year. It was seen as a stopgap for the franchise between the end of the contentious Bill O’Brien era and a time when they were ready to truly start rebuilding.

It had been reported that Culley’s contract was only guaranteed for two years, implying even further that his employment was meant to be short.

However, that apparently does not tell the whole story, as Culley himself told the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain. Culley told him that he has four years remaining on his contract, guaranteed through 2025.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero added that, per a source of his own, the Texans owe Culley $17 million on top of the $5 million he earned this season.

If that’s true, the Texans spent nearly $22 million for one season so that they could turn around and pay someone else presumably even more money.


The reaction to the news about Culley’s contract was mixed between those who felt that any pity people had for Culley should be tempered while others wanted to make sure the reality of the lack of black coaches in the NFL wasn’t lost in the numbers.

We’ll see if Culley ends up taking another job or if he feels like he doesn’t have to or want to based on the experience. We’ll also wait to see who the Texans wanted to hire so badly that they were willing to pay Culley over $20 million for one season of work.

[Tom Pelissero, John McClain, Mark Berman]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.