Bills fans have been expressive — and pretty adamant — in their desire to have a big-name head coach who could immediately turn around their team.
They got Chan Gailey.
Bills general manager Buddy Nix ended a two-month search since the firing of Dick Jauron by introducing Gailey as the team’s coach Tuesday. Originally, it was believed that Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was the front-runner. But it’s Gailey receiving a second chance as an NFL coach and inheriting a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in 10 years.
“I understand the challenge that’s ahead of us, the challenge to get the Buffalo Bills back to a winning franchise on a consistent basis,” said Gailey, 58, who has spent 15 of his 38 years of coaching in the NFL. “And that is the plan. I know it’s going to be a tough task, it’s going to take a lot of hard work. And it’s going to be something that’s not done easily.
“The only way to get it done is for everybody to be on the same page. And the great thing about our situation right now is, the two people at the top of this thing, Buddy Nix and I, who are in charge of the football, are on the same page.”
Buffalo fans might not be on board, though. They wanted a big-name coach and were hopeful that either Mike Shanahan or Bill Cowher would take the job. They even went so far as to rent a billboard to lure Cowher to Buffalo — obviously to no avail. Shanahan is now the Redskins’ head coach.
And so the job belongs to Gailey, who in 1998 and 1999 led the Cowboys to 10-6 and 8-8 records, respectively. Dallas made the playoffs both years but didn’t win in the postseason.
Nix, prior to his introduction of Gailey, addressed the potential negative outlook of the coach’s hiring from fans and media, alike.
“Anybody we stand up here and present, there will be some negative things (said),” Nix said. “We know that. But I want you to know, with all due respect, that I don’t care. That don’t bother me. I mean, everybody’s got an opinion.”
Gailey also was asked about changing the minds of Bills fans.
“I can’t say anything to change anybody’s mind,” Gailey said. “All I can do is go try to help us win football games. We win football games, everybody’s mind will be changed, right? That’s what happens. Now, I will say this: There’s a lot of sixth- and seventh-round draft choices to become Pro Bowlers. It’s what you do with the opportunity when you get it.”