Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Bills axe Ryan ahead of season finale

Published:Wednesday | December 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Former Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan leaves a news conference after an NFL game against the Miami Dolphins on Saturday. The Dolphins won 34-31.

ORCHARD PARK, NY (AP):

The Bills have fired coach Rex Ryan before the end of his second season after he failed to build Buffalo's defence into a bully or lead the team to the playoffs.

The Bills announced Ryan's firing yesterday, three days after a 34-31 overtime loss to the Dolphins dropped the Bills to 7-8 and officially eliminated the team from playoff contention. The loss extended the NFL's longest active playoff drought to 17 seasons.

Assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn takes over as the interim coach, and is expected to be a candidate to replace Ryan full-time. The Bills close the season in a meaningless game on Sunday at the New York Jets (4-11).

Lynn is a long-time Ryan assistant and was promoted to offensive coordinator after Ryan fired Greg Roman following an 0-2 start.

Team owner Terry Pegula reached the decision over the weekend and informed Ryan during the team's day off on Tuesday.

"We mutually agreed that the time to part ways is now," Pegula said in a statement released by the team. "These decisions are never easy."

 

DISAPPOINTMENT

 

Pegula then noted his wife in saying: "Kim and I and our entire Bills organisation share in the same disappointment and frustration as our fans, but we remain committed to our goal of bringing a championship to western New York."

The Pegulas made the decision to fire Ryan after attending Saturday's game and then spending Christmas at their second home in the Adirondacks.

Ryan was 15-16 in two seasons in Buffalo and is 61-66 overall. He hasn't had a winning season since his second with the Jets in 2010, when New York went 11-5 and lost the AFC Championship game for a second consecutive post-season.

Ryan was dismissed a day after he appeared emotionally drained during what became his final news conference.

 

PAINFUL LOSS

 

He called the loss to Miami his most painful as a Bills coach, and the second most painful in his 20 NFL seasons as a coach or assistant. Ryan also second-guessed some of the decisions he made during the game, including punting from his own 41 with a little over four minutes left in overtime. He said he hoped the loss wouldn't become his defining moment in Buffalo.

"But if it is, it's something I've got to live with," he said.

With speculation raised over the past month over his job security, Ryan also dismissed a question over whether two seasons were enough to be judged upon by the Pegulas.

"Whatever they think is fair, that's the only thing that matters," he said. "I'm just going to try to win this game. It doesn't matter that it doesn't mean anything. To me, it means a lot. I want to win the game. That's who I am."

The Bills also fired Ryan's twin brother, Rob Ryan, from his position as an assistant head coach with the responsibility to oversee defence.

Rex Ryan came to Buffalo saying this would be his last job after six seasons with the Jets, and vowed to build the Bills into a bully.

This has been a difficult year for the Ryans, who mourned the death of their father, Buddy Ryan, in June.