The 2014 vintage of Buffalo Bills football ended with a victory in Foxborough over a resting New England Patriots squad. The win gave Buffalo its first winning season since 2004, another 9-7 year.
Things were looking up for the Bills. They had a solid defense, an efficient if unspectacular offense, and a head coach in Doug Marrone who was among the up-and-coming head men in the business. What could go wrong?
Soon after the 2014 season came to a close, it was reported that Marrone had a strange contract clause that allowed him to opt out of his deal, all while collecting his paycheck in 2015, in the case of ownership changes. With founding owner Ralph C. Wilson having passed away in March of 2014, the team was sold to Terry and Kim Pegula in September of 2014. Marrone opted out of his Bills’ contract on New Year’s Eve of that same year after attempting to leverage the clause for a longer deal with the Pegulas.
Obviously, this would be a topic of discussion this week, with Marrone’s current and former employers meeting in one of the more unlikely playoff games in recent memory. Not surprisingly, neither Marrone nor current Bills’ head coach Sean McDermott had much to say regarding the opt-out heard ‘round Orchard Park.
“Every situation is different, but I’m not going to go there,” McDermott said when asked about opting out of a contract. McDermott’s response is exactly what one would expect, as there is absolutely no reason for him to add fuel to a long-extinguished fire, and speculating on an opt-out of his own serves little purpose.
For Marrone’s part, he had a few nuggets that sounded like vintage HCDM material.
“I’m glad they’re in a good place,” Marrone said of the Bills. To emphasize his happiness in his new digs, Marrone added, “I’m in a great place.”
Prescott Rossi asked Marrone about comments from Bills’ center Eric Wood, one of the few Buffalo players remaining from Marrone’s tenure with the team. Wood said that the Bills were better off without their former coach. Rossi also asked Marrone about why he left Buffalo three years ago, and the coach decided not to answer.
I asked Doug Marrone about Eric Wood saying the #Bills are better off without him, then followed up with a question about what happened in 2014 that led to him leaving the Bills. @News_8 pic.twitter.com/NHmfsBno9e— Prescott Rossi (@PrescottRossi) January 3, 2018
While Marrone’s departure from Buffalo may be a big storyline from a media standpoint, both teams are focusing on the present rather than the past.