Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula says the thought never occurred to him to fire Rex Ryan one year into his five-year pact. He didn’t consider moving on from Doug Whaley, either Pegula told USA Today this week.
“You have to have continuity,” Pegula told the paper from the NFL owners meetings. “I don’t care if you’re drilling oil in gas wells or you’re running a sports team. If you keep changing things, nothing’s going to work.”
The Bills went 8-8 in the first year under Ryan and the coach seemed to have lost his touch on defense, surrendering 359 points. With the hallmark of his coaching style being questioned and a sixteen-year playoff drought looming, many fans were calling for Ryan’s head on a platter.
“Our coach needs to know that, through the good and the bad, there’s stability. The players need to know there’s stability,” Pegula said. “And by the way, that doesn’t help our players any to start reading that their coach is going to get fired.”
After that disappointing first season, reports were rampant that Pegula had issued a “playoffs or bust” ultimatum to both Ryan and Whaley. We told you in January that this seemed out of character for Pegula, and Whaley had a contract extension a couple days later.
Pegula scoffed at the notion he offered an ultimatum, going as far to say he was in the Adirondacks at the time he was supposedly issuing such a demand. (Not that the distance would stop him from, say, picking up a phone.)
“No,” said Pegula when asked if he could have fired Ryan. “We just hired the guys! Doug’s a new GM basically (promoted in May 2013). And we just hired Rex. We’re talking about continuity, and the players need that.”
Bills President Russ Brandon has also preached continuity. With Whaley on a new contract and Rex with four years remaining, it’s unlikely the team power structure will be blown up this offseason, even if the 4-2 Bills fall apart and miss the playoffs for the seventeenth year in a row.