The Buffalo Bills introduce Rex Ryan as their new head coach. And I reintroduce Bills fan and guest blogger Maggie Zuffranieri with her reaction.
The Buffalo Bills is an organization recognized by fans and football connoisseurs for its rich history. A history that includes: a valiant victory in the “greatest comeback game ever played,” multiple division titles and conference championships, an appearance in four consecutive Super Bowls, and a franchise composed of multiple Hall of Famers. Though Bills fans are proud of their rich history, we continue to yearn for a reputable present and a prosperous future following a 15-year playoff draught.
2014, a season flourishing with great potential, quickly became a rollercoaster ride for fans after the passing of our beloved owner, Ralph Wilson Jr. Uncertainty around the team’s future and fear of franchise relocation shook the “Queen City,” HARD.
*Enter Terry and Kim Pegula* — *Sighs of relief*
The regular season instilled “billief” for fans of Buffalo Bills football. Playoff hopes were alive and attainable in December for the first time in many years. While Buffalo ultimately failed to reach the playoffs, the Bills found themselves with a winning record for the first time in ten years. However, as fate would have it, the season did not end at the conclusion of that victorious game in Foxborough.
Just days later, quarterback Kyle Orton announced his retirement from the NFL – a slap in the face for those hoping to employ his veteran poise for one more season. Nevertheless, this news was trivial compared to the blow felt when second-year head coach, Doug Marrone, opted out of his contract, essentially abandoning his team.
The Bills immediately scrambled to find a new head coach, interviewing numerous – and I mean numerous – offensive/defensive coordinators and former head coaches. Meanwhile, the fallout from Doug Marrone’s departure haunted Bills fans. He was characterized as having a poor attitude, lack of respect, and a sense of entitlement in sports and NFL blogs. Emotions intensified when rumors circulated that Marrone made negative comments about the organization to prospective “football czar,” Bill Polian.
But the conversation shifted Sunday morning, when chatter on the airwaves suggested that the Bills were preparing to make an offer to former New York Jets head coach, Rex Ryan. The news was unpredicted and shocked many. Opinions flooded social media. But by Monday morning, it was official. And on Wednesday, the Buffalo Bills introduced Rex Ryan as their new head coach.
Though much remains to be proven, I believe Ryan possesses the skills and intellect needed to develop a winning franchise. He brings with him invaluable football knowledge and NFL experience. And his extreme distaste for the Patriots and Bill Belichick is just an added bonus!
Rex is recognized throughout the league as a defensive mastermind, giving Buffalo a unique opportunity to further improve its dominant defense. Ryan wasted no time tackling (pun intended) the need for a great offensive coordinator, securing Greg Roman, former 49ers offensive coordinator, and a perfect fit for Buffalo. Roman’s offensive schemes are heavily invested in a “ground and pound” philosophy and the Bills possess both talent and depth at running back, which should take pressure off of third-year quarterback EJ Manuel.
Perhaps the greatest attribute Rex will bring, is his genuine personality and the strong bond he’s known to form with his team. Not since the reign of Marv Levy, have the Bills had an outspoken coach who puts so much faith in his players – an essential component to a winning culture. Ryan’s reputation as a skilled motivator and a player’s coach has already created excitement among the players.
So, while 2014 was the rollercoaster ride no fan signed up for, it was one that forever changed our franchise. Though the future is unclear, it is clear that Terry and Kim Pegula are ready to do and risk whatever is necessary to make the Buffalo Bills a championship franchise once again.