Dallas — Let me stipulate that I was never sure why the Atlanta Falcons were presumed to be so high on Rex Ryan. (Let me also stipulate that they mightn’t have been as high on him as advertised.) As noted, the Falcons just fired a coach for having consecutive losing seasons; Ryan was himself fired by the New York Jets after four non-winning seasons.
But the reason I thought the Bird Brain Trust might settle on R. Ryan was because he’s the only guy on the list of presumed candidates who’d be guaranteed to Win The Press Conference, and at a time when you’re asking fans to pony up five figures just for the right to buy tickets in Arthur Blank’s new stadium, you could stand a bit of sizzle.
Moot point now, apparently. Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Buffalo Bills, who have neither a new stadium nor a good quarterback, are finalizing a contract with Ryan, whom the Falcons had interviewed once (for five hours!) and had reportedly planned to meet again. I won’t go so far as to say this means the Falcons won’t wind up with a splendid coach — maybe the just-bumped-up Scott Pioli will persuade Bill Belichick to leave New England so he can work for Blank, though honesty compels me to assess the odds of that as less than infinitesimal — but from a PR standpoint, this can’t be construed as the greatest of starts.
We can’t, however, judge a search until it’s complete. Flash back almost 30 years, to the Falcons’ intrepid search for Dan Henning’s replacement. They approached Dick Vermeil. They became the first team (though not nearly the last) to be strung along by Bill Parcells. They nearly had a deal with Terry Donahue, then of UCLA, but it fell through after a West Coast meeting with the Smiths. Then they hired … Marion Campbell! For the second time!
Er … so maybe that’s not the greatest example of patience rewarded. I’ll shut up now.