After weeks of growing speculation and rumors, the Buffalo Bills have made it official: Rex Ryan is no longer the head coach of the franchise.
Ryan was fired after almost two seasons as head coach, amassing a record of 15-16 and missing the playoffs both seasons. The move came just days before the team's final game of the 2016 season -- against the New York Jets on the road on Sunday.
With the move, the Bills have also parted ways with his twin brother Rob Ryan, who served as a defensive assistant and assistant head coach with the organization.
Team owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, issued the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:
“I spoke with Rex earlier today and we mutually agreed that the time to part ways is now. These decisions are never easy. I want to take this opportunity to thank Rex for all his efforts and wish him all the best moving forward.”
“Kim and I and our entire Bills organization 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 team announced the firing on late Tuesday morning, and also announced that offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will be taking over as the interim head coach for the final game of the season.
Additionally, by all accounts it appears as though general manager Doug Whaley will remain with the team into the offseason. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that Whaley will 'lead the search' for the next Bills head coach.
The final blow for Ryan in 2016 appeared to be the devastating overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins this past weekend, which ended their playoff chances for the second year in a row under Ryan, and for the franchise, a 17th straight season. The rumors and reports really started to take off after the Bills blew a 15-point lead in the second half against Oakland, to keep themselves afloat in the playoff race.
That game was backed up by a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week, a game in which the Bills and Rex Ryan's defense was run over on the ground by Le'Veon Bell.
When he took over as head coach of the organization, Ryan vowed that the playoff drought would end under his watch. He also boasted that the defense would be improved with him as head coach, after the 2014 team ranked fourth in total defense before he took over.
The Bills haven't made the playoffs, the defense has ranked 19th in the league for two years in a row under Rex Ryan, and perhaps most importantly, the Bills only had a 4-12 record against teams with a winning record with Ryan as the head coach.
During his final press conference on Monday, Rex spoke to whether or not two seasons was enough to judge a coach:
"That’s who’s going to make the decision on whether I’m here, whether this person’s here. That’s who makes that decision. So, whatever they think is fair, that’s the only thing that matters. As a coach, that’s why I said I’m going to try to win this game, trust me, I’m going to try and 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 and that’s just who I am. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be fair, or isn’t fair, or is fair. It doesn’t matter. It’s, I’m going to do the best job I can, just like always."
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