ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Having a coach, general manager, and team president all answer to the owner seems like an unusual arrangement. This got us wondering, just how common this type of chain of command is around the NFL.
"The owner stays out of the way until he sees too much of a mess all the way around, and he just doesn't worry about firing the coach, he fires the head of the football operation. That's usually how it's done," says Vic Carucci with The Buffalo News.
But that isn't how it was done here. Bills’ owner Terry Pegula made the chain of command clear in 2015 when Rex Ryan was hired.
"Rex, Russ, and Doug will report to Kim and myself," said Pegula.
Carucci has also worked for the Browns, so he's seen how the NFL works from the inside.
"Does the NFL come out and say all right, you have to have your manager structure set up this way or is it really just up to the owners?" asked 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik.
"It varies by team, and owners have different ways of managing their clubs. They do get counsel on best practices in all areas of a football operation," says Carucci.
Carucci says for the most part, the owners allow the General Managers to run the operation.
"That includes the hiring of the head coach, conducting the interviews. The owners can be in on this for sure, but it is the head of the football operation that really has a major say because again, they're supposed to work in sync. And to hear what Doug Whaley was saying today about the Ryan situation was stunning because that just didn't fit any model that I know of," said Carucci. "It's rare where you have a Bill Belichick who is your coach and heads up your football operation. Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs. Where you have men of exceptional accomplishment who have that authority that their owners give them and trust them to have."
Carucci also says he hasn't seen a situation like that in Buffalo since Tom Donahoe was with the Bills. Carucci told us that he remembers Ralph Wilson telling him he wanted a guy he could trust to handle everything.