It’s never a good sign when a GM has to defend a coach at the introductory press conference, but that’s exactly what Buddy Nix was doing last week in Buffalo while sitting next to former Chiefs offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Jeremy Trantham of the Times-News expresses why the natives are restless.
Try our patience as they might — and try it they will — it takes a lot for us to denounce our favorite sport teams.
We will put up with everything from poor coaching, mismanagement, bad drafts, free agent mistakes and losing seasons — heck, losing decades — and come back for more. Next season, we think, things will be different.
In a way, it seems to me, we’ll put up with more from a franchise than we will from a person. If someone lets you down too many times, it’s over. If your team lets you down too many times, it’s not.
There remains, as with anything, a limit. With the hiring of Chan Gailey as head coach this week, the Buffalo Bills are pushing that limit with their fans.
I don’t know Chan Gailey, but I’m sure he’s a nice guy. This isn’t about him. This is about a franchise, which has not made the playoffs since 1999, telling its fans in effect that: “In a year when there weren’t many NFL coaching changes, Chan Gailey is the best we could do.”
You might remember Gailey and his previous mediocre stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
He began this season as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator. He was fired in the preseason. The Chiefs finished the year ranked 25th in total offense.
Bills fans have remained faithful — probably because there isn’t much to do in upstate New York besides eat chicken wings — despite four straight Super Bowl losses and a decade-long playoff drought. And just when they thought they were moving on from Dick Jauron, they get Chan Gailey.
Maybe Gailey’s hiring is the final straw. Maybe the Buffalo brass thinks if it keeps giving a giant middle finger to the fans, attendance will drop low enough to force a move to Canada.
I’m starting to think that’s the plan.
I was surprised as anyone that Gailey ended up being the choice in Buffalo, but it really is amazing how negative the hire has been received by Bills fans. I don’t think it would have been welcomed in Kansas City if Scott Pioli decided to promote Gailey last season, but there’s no way there would have been this kind of full-on revolt from the fans and media alike.
The mistake Nix made was telling anyone that would listen about how all kinds of big names were calling him begging for a shot at the job. Talk up all the reasons why you wanted Gailey (offensive mind, head coaching experience) and how he will help your team. Don’t pull a McCarthy and talk up a list of “mystery names” that also wanted the job.
Gailey is a very good offensive coach and someone that will find a way for Buffalo to move the ball in the air, something they have continued to struggle with as a franchise. I just wish the fans would give him a few games (or maybe a training camp practice) before deciding he’s the worst coach in the league.