O’Brien’s game familiar in sports

PITTSBURGH-This isn’t specifically about Bill O’Brien and Penn State, because the dance is all too common.

You know how it goes. A successful coach has a job, but he’s in demand for other jobs. So he explores the other possibilities, then comes back to the place that’s made a commitment to him.

Maybe there’s an incentive involved, maybe not.

But is everyone supposed to feel good about how it plays out? If there’s a real sense of commitment, why is the coach even looking at other opportunities?

It always brings to mind this analogy: Happily married man takes a job in a new workplace. He strikes up friendships with female co-workers, several of whom let him know they’d be interested in pursuing a more serious relationship.

Happily married man considers all his options carefully, then tells his wife he’s decided to stick with her.

Is that going to make her feel good?

When it’s all said and done, he’s staying. But he thought a lot about taking a different course, and who knows if he won’t revisit that path?

The sad part is this really isn’t about any one situation because it’s become so common.

Finding and signing a good coach is only part of the challenge. Then you have to keep him, and it seems like that’s almost an annual issue.

Bad choice

What was Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan thinking when he had quarterback Robert Griffin III playing on one leg in Sunday’s playoff game?

Griffin is a talent, no doubt. But a big part of his game is his elusiveness and the threat that he’ll run. You didn’t need a doctor to tell you Griffin was less than 100 percent on a bad knee.

Coaches are bonded to their No. 1 quarterback, even when injury greatly diminishes their skill.

Game on

The NHL is back, and the Pittsburgh Penguins will resume their streak of sellouts.

There is no concern about fan backlash over the lockout that wiped out almost half of the regular season. The bigger issue will be deals with sponsors, who won’t get quite so much out of marketing agreements they have with NHL teams.

As soon as the puck drops, Penguins fans will be back to normal. That means anticipating a Stanley Cup season and complaining constantly about the power play.

Not much of a show

The “S” in BCS could have stood for snooze. It wasn’t much of a title game between Alabama and Notre Dame.

In fact, the case could be made that television ratings were salvaged by Brent Musburger’s over-the-top comments about Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s beauty queen girlfriend, Katherine Webb.

Maybe viewers stayed with the one-sided game just to see how far Musburger’s drooling would go.

Mehno can be reached at