On December 27 -- a little over a month ago -- the Buffalo Bills decided that Rex Ryan was no longer the man they wanted leading their organization. With just days to go before the end of a second straight playoff-less season with him as the head coach, the Bills fired Ryan.
It started a search which ultimately led them to new head coach Sean McDermott, who, by comparison, is a much more even-keel man in charge of the on-field operations.
On Monday, it was revealed that the Bills former head coach would be starting his long-anticipated career in broadcasting, after signing on with ESPN for the Super Bowl this week.
Not even a full day later, Rex opened up to Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News about his time in Buffalo. And in doing so, it showed exactly why the two entities are better apart than they are together.
While he did take some blame by saying that he "set the expectations too high," which is 100-percent true, he continued to make excuses as to why those lofty goals (the playoffs, a top defensive unit) never came to fruition.
In the article, he went on to point out that Sammy Watkins was playing on a broken foot all year, or that his draft picks were injured... all the while not realizing that these things happen in the NFL everywhere. Due to the brutal nature of the sport, all teams lose high profile players to injury -- so it isn't a new phenomenon.
Injuries were a big part of his reasoning as to why 2015 kept them out of the playoffs but going back to the well again, that line of thinking just does not play over well with Buffalo fans in particular.
Bills fans, a hardened bunch by both losing seasons and the fight-for-everything-you-have mentality that exists within, don't want excuses as to why things didn't happen. They just want results, and to fight through the adversity.
And the thing of it is, the Bills had multiple games in the bag that could have dramatically changed the outcome of both the season and Rex Ryan's fate (see: Baltimore, Oakland, both Miami games), but they disappeared.
That was commonplace with Rex Ryan. He would be the first one to say that he takes the blame for everything that happens on the field, while if you listen to him for long enough, he'll also dole out veiled critiques as to why things went awry.
It happened over and over again, and eventually, the Bills just didn't want to deal with it anymore.
Later on in the article, Rex Ryan once again said things that didn't add up. He kept pointing to how that he wasn't bitter -- he was hurt, but not bitter. Which, mind you, after being fired from a job you put your heart and soul into, are two emotions that are common -- albeit likely.
However, while saying he wasn't bitter, he showed the opposite with answers to other questions -- some that provided more veiled critiques of the place he just came from.
When asked about the changing of his truck's wrap from Bills logos to Clemson colors, Rex said, in separate sentences: "...Let me tell you, I stripped that damn truck the day I got fired," "F--k you guys," and, "I'm supporting a winner."
When saying he doesn't wish the Bills bad will, he then went on to say that he doesn't wish them any luck... but that he wishes his previous employers -- the Jets -- good luck... just to throw one little jab at his former franchise.
And then there's this one, the biggest of them all:
"I wanted to make sure it was the right thing and that I was going to get the backing of the owners and general manager after what I went through (with the Jets). I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. That's what I was looking for. I wasn't going to take just any job. Obviously, it never worked out."
It doesn't take too long to read between the lines there, based on the last sentence, and see that he clearly wasn't happy with owners Terry and Kim Pegula and general manager Doug Whaley for an overall lack of support. A passive bitterness, but bitterness nonetheless.
From the way it read, and how Rex Ryan pointed to Doug Marrone, Jim Schwartz, and Kyle Orton all quitting on the Bills, it was clear that he felt the organization had owed him something. And while he made them into a national story more often than most head coaches in Buffalo, it wasn't always for the right reasons. That act had grown a bit thin for many fans -- especially near the end of his tenure with the Bills.
Really, based on the personalities and overall failings of the past two seasons, it's abundantly clear that Rex's brash style just wasn't going to play well in Buffalo without results, a town that has been spurned by many head coaches during this playoff drought -- none of which promised them the moon, sun, and stars in the process.
The Rex Ryan tenure was interesting, and one that won't soon be forgotten. However, for most within the organization and the fan base, the talk only gets you so far.
It's the actions -- the winning -- that would ultimately gain the respect of all those parties, but the Bills fell short just one too many times.
And that's why Rex Ryan will be on ESPN, while the Bills look for new hope in the form of Sean McDermott.