His face wasn’t plastered on any billboards, but Chan Gailey is going to be the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
If you don’t have the greatest memory or only follow football somewhat casually, your first thought is probably “Who?”
Don’t be embarrassed, his name didn’t ring a bell with me at first either.
Tim Graham has a pretty good (and pretty positive) breakdown of Mr. Gailey’s coaching pedigree.
He coached the Cowboys in 1998 and 1999, making the playoffs both years. Those teams still had Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders. Even at the tail-end of their careers, you should make the playoffs if they’re on your roster.
And they did make the playoffs both years. In 1998, Dallas went 10-6 with a division win. In 1999, they sneaked in at 8-8. In each season, they lost their first playoff game and kicked Gailey to the curb.
He had some pretty good assistants when he was with Dallas, including Mike Zimmer, Jim Bates, Les Miles and Hudson Houck. So it seems like he’s able to put a strong staff together (Dave Campo coached the Cowboys in 2000).
Gailey took over Georgia Tech in 2002 and had some success there. In six seasons, he posted a winning percentage of .579 and reached a bowl game every year. His record in those bowl games: 2-4.
Apparently he’s highly regarded by Bill Cowher, the people’s choice for the Bills job. That might score him some brownie points with a few fans…or hold off a fraction of the cynics.
I can’t say I’m thrilled with the hire. The franchise has pretty much hit rock bottom in terms of credibility around the league.
If we’re to believe most of the reports from the last few weeks, no one else wanted this job. General Manager Buddy Nix found someone with some experience who probably came pretty cheap.
Gailey might be the perfect guy for this job. He’s got nothing to lose. Worst case scenario for him is that he’s out looking for a job again the same way he was at the start of this season after the Chiefs canned him.
There’s really no way to be sure until the season starts.
The Bills still have a long way to go before Buffalo becomes the destination for anyone with free will. Good luck getting any real free agents to sign.
For now, until the Bills can regain some respectability (and, unfortunately, that might not happen until Ralph Wilson passes away — look at the Chicago Blackhawks for an example of a franchise that benefited from the owner’s death), fans are going to be stuck with coaches looking for redemption and second (or third or fourth) chances.
Up-and-comers see Buffalo as a graveyard. Gregg Williams and Mike Mularkey’s head coaching careers are still buried here. Why would Brian Schottenheimer or Russ Grimm want to tarnish their reputations by coming to a team that hasn’t had success with first-time head coaches?
Why would they want to tarnish their reputations by failing with a team with little talent, no quarterback and no real direction?
I hope Gailey’s great and has the team in the playoffs within the next three years.
Is that realistic? Probably not. We’re going to have to wait and see.
Chan Gailey is the Bills head coach because he’s really the best the front office could get. Now, we can only sit back and pray that it’s the right decision.
OTAs will be here before we know it…