When I think back to the end of the 2000 season, all I remember is the collective sign of relief from Bills fans after Wade Phillips was fired. I never understood it. I though Wade did an o.k. job. So the question is, would you rather have Wade still here? First lets look at some history:
Quick! Name the winning-est coaches in Bills history. Well first is obviously Marv Levy. With 112 wins over 11.5 seasons, (not counting 11 post season wins) Marv is tops on the Bills coaching wins list. Lou Saban is second with 68 wins over 8.5 seasons, (again not counting his 2 post season victories). Third is Chuck Knox who in 5 years collected 37 wins, (1 post season win again not counted). Right now those three men are the no-contest top three coaches in Bills history. I suppose you could debate the order if you want (Lou had shorter seasons and did win two championships, a case could be made for Saban over Marv), but that isn't the point of this post. Next on the wins list? I'll give you a hint: It's not Kay Stephenson, Jim Ringo, Gregg Williams, or Joe Collier. Thats right Wade Phillips is next on the list with 29 career victories. He also made two post season appearances, yes his post season record for the Bills is 0-2, but he got there twice...in three years. In three years Wade has 29 wins and two playoff appearances...not bad. Want to know how bad the Bills coaching records are? Dick Jauron is currently 5th on the list with 22.
After Wade caught the axe from Ralph, the Bills then brought in Gregg Williams who's 3 year record for the Bills is 17 - 31, with no play-offs. After Double G, it was Mike Mularkey who ran up a record of 14 - 18 in two years. Mularkey did lead the Bills to their last winning season at 9-7 in 2004. After Mularkey it has been Dick Jauron...need I say more?
So the question is was Wade Phillips all that bad? 29 - 19 and two play-off appearances in three years looks pretty good right about now. Sometimes you need to be careful what you ask for Bills fans, sometimes the coach you know is better then the coach you don't know. I'm not saying that Jauron shouldn't be fired if the Bills continue to stink it up, just that there are some worse coaches out there that might just have us pining to have D.J. back once he is gone.
Ralph doesn't really have the greatest history when it comes to making hires. He seems to be more of a "shoot from the hip" kind of guy, who follows his gut feeling more often then not. Sometimes it works, he hired Bill Polian without doing very much research, sometimes not, Hank Bullough, John Rauch...need I go on? If Ralph does in fact clean house, I'm not sure that we can all count on him to hire the right guy, he has a history of under paying his coaches and quite honestly, I'm not sure we will get the big name guy that we are all craving. It may get worse before it gets better....