Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor won’t consider leaving the NFL for the vacant Oklahoma head coaching job. And why would he?
The college football world has been rocked with jaw-dropping news this past week: Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU, and Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for USC, all within 48 hours of each other.
Two prominent college football teams are currently seeking new head coaches, and there have been whispers that Oklahoma wants to lure Zac Taylor away from his Bengals coaching position.
Taylor does have some distant ties to the Sooner football tradition. He was born in Norman, Oklahoma, went to a high school that was less than a mile away from the university, and his father played safety at Oklahoma for three years from 1976 to 1979. Taylor, however, attended Nebraska, who is a rival of Oklahoma’s (or used to be, at least).
On Wednesday, Taylor delivered a crystal clear response to the alleged rumors:
Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor isn’t leaving the team anytime soon
The quote continues, as Taylor told the Cincinnati Enquirer:
"“We’ve put in too much work here. I’ve got too much respect for an organization that took a chance on a young guy that not many people would and have the patience to stick through two difficult years with this vision in place.”"
Taylor is right.
This moderately successful Cincinnati Bengals team wasn’t built in a day. Taylor has spent the last three seasons carefully rebuilding what used to be a bottom-feeding franchise, bringing on flashy talent like Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.
In year three, Taylor is finally enjoying the fruits of his efforts and can boast his first winning season as an NFL head coach. Cincinnati currently has a 7-4 record and a spot in the playoffs, and if the Bengals do advance to the postseason, it’ll be their first appearance since 2015.
The Bengals’ stellar team performances of late have focused the spotlight on Taylor and the painstaking journey he’s taken to instill a winning culture in Cincinnati.
Taylor still hasn’t proved all his doubters wrong, but after Week 13’s rout of the Steelers, he has won seven of his last 11 games.
For comparison, he won just six of his first 32 games in Cincinnati.
It’s no wonder a college football team has its eyes on Taylor, but the Bengals are his special project and, for the foreseeable future, his home.
Taylor might have been born in Oklahoma, but he bleeds black and orange through and through.