By Sal Maiorana - Rochester D&C
ORCHARD PARK - Chan Gailey has been fired as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, a move that was expected, though was thought to be something that might happen in the days to come.
Gailey spent three years in Buffalo and finished with a 16-32 record, a worse winning percentage than Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, and Dick Jauron, the three preceding Bills' coaches.
Gailey's entire coaching staff was also relieved of its duties. The status of general manager Buddy Nix is unknown, though it seems that if this was a total house cleaning by Ralph Wilson, Nix's fate would have also been announced. It is believed that Nix will now turn his attention to finding a new coach.
Gailey met with reporters to deliver a 90-second statement, but did not take questions.
"First thing I wanted to say is thanks to the Bills' organization, to Buddy and Mr. Wilson, for the opportunity," Gailey began. "I understand this is a business, we didn't get the job done. I've been called two other times to get things turned around (Dallas Cowboys and Georgia Tech), was able to do it, but we weren't able to get this one done soon enough and I understand that completely."
Gailey then moved on to the fans, and though his eyes watered and his voice wobbled slightly, he did not break down.
"I want to thank the fans, great Buffalo fans, great football town," he said. "These are loyal, loyal fans and I understand that. I think that the next staff will have a great opportunity for success and to make this another great football franchise. This will be probably be - and I say probably, but I think it will be - the first place that's ever fired me, that I'll pull for."
What doomed Gailey from the start was a roster that was largely bereft of enough quality NFL talent, and while that improved in 2011, and then again in 2012, Gailey was unable to get the Bills over the hump as the team repeatedly failed on both offense and defense. Gailey's record in games against teams that finished a season with a winning record was 1-19, and his AFC East mark was 4-14.
"We didn't win enough," defensive tackle Kyle Williams said when asked why he thought Gailey was let go. "I think everybody in here has a tremendous amount of respect for Chan. I've been lucky in that the two guys I've had as head coaches (Gailey and Jauron) are really good, solid men, great men to be with. Yes is yes and no is no. Obviously we haven't won enough, which is what it's all about."
On the topic of having to start over again with a new staff, and whether that has become tiresome for him and the other players, Williams said, "I get tired of losing. Honestly I think every year is a new year whether you have the same coach or not, you're kind of starting over at square one trying to find the identity of the team. More than anything I get tired of putting in tons and tons of work and it's hard sitting up here talking to you guys at the end of December feeling like another one kind of slipped through your fingers."