The Buffalo Bills hired Brian Daboll as their offensive coordinator last week, replacing Rick Dennison after a down year. While he has a connection to head coach Sean McDermott (he was on the staff of McDermott’s college football team at William & Mary), Daboll also has a connection to Western New York.
Daboll is a Buffalo native and already owned a home minutes from the building in which he now works at One Bills Drive. A Bills fans since he was a kid, Daboll graduated from St. Francis High in Buffalo and spoke about his hometown with an appreciation only someone who has lived here can feel.
“It means everything,” Daboll said from the Senior Bowl. “I’m a Buffalo guy. From the communities around the stadium to the Rochester area, it’s a really special place for me. It’s where I grew up. The people, the community are second to none. They’re unbelievable. [it has the nickname] ‘City of Good Neighbors’ for a reason. Great food, as you can tell. I love the place. I love the community. I love the people. I love the fans. I love the team. Very special place for me.”
Daboll went to college at the University of Rochester, a 15-minute drive from the Bills’ training camp facility at St. John Fisher College (a one-time rival college football program) and stayed in Western New York until heading to Williams & Mary, located in Virginia.
”This community, this team it holds a special place,” said Daboll. “I’ve been doing this for 18 years. I think 15 of the 18 have been in the AFC East. To finally get to come back home is truly a blessing.”
Daboll just won a national championship with the Alabama Crimson Tide in college football but the lure of returning to the NFL to coach in his hometown was among the reasons that led him back to Western New York. His relationship with McDermott didn’t hurt, either:
“Yeah, I mean I love Buffalo,” Daboll said. “Grew up a huge Buffalo Bills fan. But again, it had to be the right situation, too. I just think with Sean and Brandon and the Pegulas, I had a really good feel about this place. It was a good opportunity and I made it in the best interest of our family.”
Daboll would have likely had options to return to the NFL in other spots. His old boss, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, might be looking for an offensive coordinator if Josh McDaniels is hired by the Indianapolis Colts as expected. Daboll also could have gone with his buddy, McDaniels. He took the Buffalo job, though.
“In talking to Sean and Brandon, I think their vision, their principles, the values they believe in, the type of guys they’re trying to bring in, I really have a high opinion of those guys,” Daboll said. “Being able to come here and try to be part of something, their vision, I think, is awesome. I’m excited. I’m ready to go.”