The Buffalo Bills are expected to fire head coach Rex Ryan before the end of the season. Rex has a 15-15 record with the Bills, a franchise that has finished the season above .500 just twice in the new millennium. Why are the Bills ready to move ahead, despite Rex having three more years on his contract?
It turns out that former Jaguars and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is the favorite to take over the Bills, according to Pro Football Weekly.
“The Pegulas [Bills owners] have been in conversations for some time now with Tom Coughlin, and Coughlin is the front-runner to be the next head coach of the Bills following this season,” PFW writes. “Reports of the Bills owners’ interest in Coughlin date back to last summer, and our sources are telling us that conversations began again a few weeks ago and that the interest is mutual.
“Unlike some former head coaches of Coughlin’s stature who need to be persuaded, coerced and wined and dined to return to the sidelines, Coughlin can’t wait. We are told he will jump at the first top job that is offered, which may be why the Bills appear ready to move on from Ryan so quickly.”
Coughlin went 68-60 (53.125%) as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-2002, and 102-90 (53.125%) as head coach of the New York Giants from 2004-15. Yes, he posted identical winning rates at both of his stops.
But most notably, Coughlin has accomplished what Rex Ryan was never able to do on a consistent basis: topple the Patriots.
The Pegulas hired Ryan because of his experience in the AFC East and used an overpowering Jets defense to carry a weak offense to two straight conference championships. The Bills hoped that Ryan could be the catalyst to break the Patriots stranglehold on the division.
That dream fizzled out, but Coughlin represents an upgrade over Rex. Coughlin is responsible for winning two Super Bowls with the Giants at the expense of the Patriots, including ending the Patriots dream 2007 season.
Of course, Coughlin went 47-33 (58.75%) over his first five years with the Giants, including four trips to the playoffs.
His final seven years? 55-57 and one playoff appearance (albeit a Super Bowl championship year in 2011).
The Bills might just find themselves right back where they started.