Rex Ryan came to Buffalo full of bluster and boast, proclaiming himself as the man who was going to end the Bills’ unfathomable playoff drought, which in January 2015 stood at 15 years.
Rex was going to build a bully, the kind of team that no one was going to want to play against. The No. 4-ranked defense he inherited would become No. 1, just you wait and see. Playoffs? Of course the Bills were going to make it.
“I’m not going to let our fans down,” the bombastic Ryan said the day he was introduced as the Bills’ head coach, two weeks after Doug Marrone had quit. “I’m not going to do that. I know it’s been 15 years since the Bills made the playoffs. Well, get ready man, we’re going. We’re going. Am I guaranteeing a Super Bowl and all that? I’ll tell you what I will do; I will guarantee the pursuit of it. Through hard work, through preparation, we’re going to see how many teams match our work ethic, and all that.”
Well, two years later, Bills fans are let down, way down, not to mention aggravated, and now they have to saddle up for another bumpy ride as the Bills — yet again — will hit the reset button after announcing Tuesday that Ryan and his brother, Rob, have been fired.
Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will serve as head coach when the Bills close their season Sunday in New York against the Jets. It was also announced that general manager Doug Whaley - who has had a hand in hiring the last two Bills head coaches - will lead the search to find Ryan's replacement, a strong indication that Whaley's job is safe.
Owner Terry Pegula released a boilerplate statement that read, “I spoke with Rex earlier today and we mutually agreed that the time to part ways is now. These decisions are never easy. I want to take this opportunity to thank Rex for all his efforts and wish him all the best moving forward. Kim and I and our entire Bills organization share in the same disappointment and frustration as our fans, but we remain committed to our goal of bringing a championship to western New York.”
Rex is walking out of town with his tail between his legs, having never backed up any of his big talk. The Bills won just 15 of the 31 games he coached; they tacked on two more years to their postseason drought; their defense got much worse as the players never bought into, nor understood, Ryan’s complex scheme; and while no one ever questioned the work ethic of Ryan or his players, it was clear the Bills were not a well-prepared team, and they were often an out-coached team on game days.
When you lose in the NFL, it's worse than anything on Earth. It is quite possible that, fifty years from now, aggrieved Bills fans will burn the Ryan brothers in effigy. But, the funny thing is, the Ryan brothers will be back next season, standing on the sidelines somewhere, and they'll have good jobs and good contracts and all of this will be forgotten.