On to the ‘Rex’ one. In Ryan, Bills find new leader.

Bills head coach Rex Ryan (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Bills head coach Rex Ryan
(Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

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.

Broncos’ Von Miller wins prize for first Super Bowl XLVIII guarantee

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The NFL offseason had been kind of quiet. Too quiet. Something was missing. Or amiss.

I thought it would happen. It always happened. But what if it didn’t happen? What would happen then?

And then…it happened.

On March 5, 2013 at 3:17 AM, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller tweeted the following:

 

And with that, ladies and gentlemen…we have our first Super Bowl guarantee of the 2013 NFL season.

Miller may have been first. But he probably won’t be the last. There will likely be a few more Lombardi Trophy winners declared before the start of the season. New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan is always good for one. And last season, Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil took out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer to do so.

How did those teams fare? Well, the Panthers didn’t make the playoffs. And the Jets? Oh, you know the story. No one wants to go back and relive that. Suffice it to say, there are no photographs of Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan hoisting the Lombardi Trophy together. There may be a tattoo though. I’m not sure.

The first Super Bowl XLVIII victory declaration has been made. And Von Miller wins the prize. Unfortunately, the prize is not the Lombardi Trophy. In fact, the prize is usually an early trip to the offseason or, for a lucky few…an all expense paid trip to the NFL Pro Bowl.

But that doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t deter.

The only question now is…who’s next?

In 3…2…1…

XO

NY Ink

Jets Coach Rex Ryan Sunbathing in the Bahamas

Rex Ryan. The Bahamas. A tattoo. A photographer. Social media. This is what twitter was made for. Thank you, God.

Yes, that is a tattoo on Jets Coach Rex Ryan’s arm…of what appears to be his wife, Michelle, wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey (and nothing else). She also appears to be Tebowing.

ESPN (Mike & Mike)

Closeup of Ryan’s Ink

What more is there to say? This pretty much answers any lingering questions I had about the Jets season and Ryan’s decision making at quarterback. Wonder if Tim Tebow knows about this. He certainly does now!

There are questions regarding the tattoo and its authenticity. But even if it’s temporary, I still have the same question…why?

ESPN writer Jane McManus had quite possibly the best reaction to this morning’s story.

If it didn’t qualify before, this now throws the Jets into full-fledged circus mode. Ryan is ridiculous and clearly part of (if not all of) the reason no one can take this team seriously.

I never thought seeing Rex Ryan shirtless could bring me this much pleasure. Well, maybe pleasure is a bad choice of word. Entertainment is better.

I couldn’t write this stuff. Thankfully, I can write about it.

Stay classy, Rex. Stay classy.

XO

 

 

 

Monday Bloody Monday

Former NFL Coaches: Crennel (Chiefs), Reid (Eagles), Shurmur (Browns)

Former NFL Coaches: Crennel (Chiefs), Reid (Eagles), Shurmur (Browns)

We knew it was coming. We knew heads would roll. But who knew Black Monday would be this bloody?

By New Year’s Eve day, seven NFL head coaches and five general managers were unemployed. Dozens of coordinators and assistants followed. A post-regular-season house cleaning like we’ve never seen. More head coaches lost their jobs Monday than in the previous three seasons combined.

Some teams chose to start over completely, removing both the general manager and head coach. The Arizona Cardinals did so with Coach Ken Whisenhunt and General Manager Rod Graves. The Cleveland Browns with Coach Pat Shurmur and Manager Tom Heckert. And the Chargers followed suit with Coach Norv Turner and Manager A.J. Smith.

New Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Shad Khan chose to fire General Manager Gene Smith. And the New York Jets turned General Manager Mike Tannenbaum loose after a season that proved to be interesting, yet disappointing. No word yet on Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan’s future. In fact, we’re still waiting for his end of the season press conference.

Four other teams chose to part ways with their coaches: The Buffalo Bills with Chan Gailey, the Kansas City Chiefs with Romeo Crennel, the Eagles with Andy Reid, and the only real surprise…the Chicago Bears with Lovie Smith.

Smith’s firing created a backlash in the Bears locker room as well as the national sports media. Because…well, everybody loves Lovie. Both Tony Dungy (a close friend of Smith’s) and former Bears Coach Mike Ditka referred to the decision as “ridiculous.” Bears star Wide Receiver Devin Hester is reportedly so distraught by the news that he is pondering retirement.

One person who won’t be retiring…Lovie Smith. He is a hot commodity in the now busy market for NFL head coach shopping season.

So, what happens now? Does a game of musical coaches ensue…cut your guy and pick up the one to your right? It’s already started, with Andy Reid reportedly interviewing with the Chiefs today and Cardinals tomorrow.

And the bloodshed may not be over.

In the meantime, we’re still waiting…

Rex?

XO

 

Ode to Fireman Ed

Retired firefighter and Jets fan Ed Anzalone (Fireman Ed)

He was the most recognized fan of the New York Jets. A superfan, if you will. In his white fire hat and his Jets jersey, he was a fixture for the home team…both home and away. His chief responsibility, to lead Jets fans in their chant…

“J-E-T-S…Jets…Jets…Jets!”

He was Fireman Ed. And he is no longer.

It’s safe to say most Jets fans weren’t feeling very grateful on Thanksgiving night, as they watched their team get blown up by the New England Patriots 49-19. There were mistakes, miscues, and the now infamous butt fumble, when Quarterback Mark Sanchez ran his head straight into Brandon Moore’s backside, knocking himself down, and fumbling the ball in the process. The most poorly executed play in football history? Possibly. The most entertaining? Definitely. That is, until the Patriots recovered the ball and ran it in for a touchdown. Then did it again. On the next play. This time on a Jets fumbled kickoff return.

Yes, it was more than most fans could endure. Even a superfan. Fireman Ed packed up his gear and left Met Life Stadium before halftime. But that’s not all he did. He also went home, deleted his Twitter account, and hung up his fire hat for good. He claims it isn’t the team’s performance that led to his early retirement, rather the growing hostility from the divided fan base. Or so he stated in his letter of resignation, published in the Metro.

Even Jets Coach Rex Ryan seemed saddened by the news of Fireman Ed’s departure. “I love that guy’s passion and the energy that he would bring.”

The fans could use that energy right now. Not to mention the team…

Which begs the question…was Fireman Ed really a superfan? The Jets are desperate. The fans are in despair. And he’s willing to quit and walk away…right when they need him the most? He could have set an example for fans…to stick together and stand by their team. No matter what. Instead, he gave them yet another reason to be disappointed.

So, (cue the Irish wake music) goodbye…old friend, Fireman Ed. May you rest in peace…

It won’t be long before another superfan swoops in to take your place.

Until that day, I’m sure Jets fans can figure out how to spell J-E-T-S without you.

XO