For 15 seasons, the head coach at One Bills Drive just hasn’t belonged. Gregg Williams shut himself off from the city after getting drunk, having a fight with his wife, and falling in a pond. Mike Mularkey couldn’t handle his “detractors” in the local media. Dick Jauron sounded star-struck when he would talk about New England, a contender for the most hated franchise in the history of Buffalo sports. The Doug Marrone saga speaks for itself.
They weren’t Buffalonians. I don’t mean that they weren’t born here. They didn’t understand how to handle the circus that is the NFL in a small market city that cares about little else for 4-5 months out of the year. They didn’t have the ability, like everyone I know from that city does, to laugh at themselves while being unabashedly proud of the team and the city they represented. If it sounds like I’m placing too much importance on the “representing the city” angle. Consider this: if you live outside of Western New York, do you know who the mayor of Buffalo is? Do you know who Doug Marrone is?
The Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills doesn’t need to go 11-5 (though it would be nice once per decade). They just have to care as much as we do. And for 15 years, I’ve watched coaches who coached not to lose. Coaches who let players leave the field with a minute to go. Coaches who punted away entire seasons.
Whether you love Rex Ryan or not, he isn’t any of these things. He hates Bill Belichick as much as I do, and that feels really good. If we go 6-10 next season, but he buries a gameball in the ECC lots if they get blown out by New England, I’m at least having fun. I can tolerate losing. I’ve had a lot of practice. I can’t stand losing the way Buffalo has lost: “meh” coaches with “meh” excuses for their “meh” decisions. Rex Ryan isn’t the best coach in the league, but he unapologetically will try to be, and be anything but “meh” along the way.