Chan Gailey was pretty much a washout from the start for the Bills, and fans who withstood his 16-32 record there are understandably happy to have him gone. Still—who's the new guy? Doug Marrone is: Syracuse's former coach, a one-time offensive coordinator under Sean Peyton, and...that's kind of it. Marrone may well be a miracle-worker, but when the new top guy's best qualification is taking an awful Syracuse football program and nudging it to a mediocre .500 record over four years (11-17 in the Big East), the news reports of his signing with the Bills—in the midst of far sexier coaching searches—will inevitability feature some inadvertently damning facts and strained attempts to sell this as great news. Here are our favorites.
The 48-year-old Marrone went 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse.
The Syracuse job was Marrone's first as a head coach.
The Bills' decision to go with Marrone came on a day they were scheduled to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. The meeting, however, was postponed by McCoy, according to a person familiar with the coach's plans.
The Bills opened their coaching search Tuesday, when newly promoted President Russ Brandon and several executives traveled to Arizona, where they interviewed candidates. They met with former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
It's also possible that Marrone's hiring will affect the Bills' draft plans at the team's most important position. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse's quarterback, is NFLDraftScout.com's fourth-rated player signal-caller in the 2013 draft class.
The Bills began negotiating with the Syracuse coach after their visit with Oregon coach Chip Kelly. It became clear Kelly was more interested in other options, and Marrone was viewed as an excellent candidate with strong pro and college experience as well as ties to New York state.
The Bills were interested in having an offensive-minded coach, and figuring out the quarterback position is their top offseason objective.
Former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt also was a finalist for this job and was the first person whom Buffalo interviewed.
"I think we all should appreciate what coach Marrone did for Syracuse," former Syracuse offensive tackle Justin Pugh said on his Twitter account. "He left the program in much better shape than where he found it."
He managed to earn the program some respectability in short order, has developed some NFL talent (defensive tackle Arthur Jones, running back Delone Carter, linebacker Doug Hogue, defensive end Chandler Jones and guard Andrew Tiller were all drafted out of Marrone's program), and has one of the best quarterback prospects coming out this year in Ryan Nassib.
By reportedly hiring Doug Marrone as their head coach, the Bills are daring to be different.
Nobody can accurately predict how Marrone will fare, but give the Bills credit for decisively identifying the person they wanted.
Turning around the Bills will be much harder for Marrone than turning around Syracuse's program.
We're about to find out if Marrone is ready for this.
When Marrone interviewed, he must have been extremely impressive. Marrone wasn't even the hottest college coach on the market.
The Bills have gotten it wrong plenty of times. With Marrone, Buffalo fans can only hope that the Bills have finally gotten it right.
So, Chip Kelly said no, and they figured they might as well hire a guy who knew New York state and Ryan Nassib, because they've got to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick, who they're paying $59 million over six years. Bills football: At the very least, led by someone besides Chan Gailey.