Chan Gailey: Not a bad hire for Buffalo
Jerry Jones has fired Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey and Dave Campo. Jones also has watched Bill Parcells give up in frustration after years as the Dallas Cowboys coach.
Jones has uttered regrets on only one of those moves. The firing of Gailey.
In NFL history, only two men have made the playoffs every year they’ve been head coaches, excluding current bosses John Harbaugh (two years), Rex Ryan (one) and Jim Caldwell (one). Those two men are Dutch Bergman, who in 1943 took over the Redskins for one year during the World War II drain of personnel, and Chan Gailey.
So tell me why everyone is all worked up over the Buffalo Bills hiring Gailey as their head coach. Gailey is not a retread. He’s not a guy who keeps getting chances. He was coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1998 and 1999; the year before Gailey arrived, Dallas went 6-10. The three years after Gailey left, the Cowboys went 5-11 every season. In Gailey’s two years, he had an aging Troy Aikman at quarterback; Aikman missed seven starts over those two years. Emmitt Smith remained an effective runner, but receiver Michael Irvin was at the end of his rope. Irvin’s final NFL season was ’99; he had 10 catches and played in four games.
And yet Gailey went 10-6 and 8-8 in those two seasons, reaching the playoffs both years. Between 1996 and 2006, the Cowboys reached the playoffs three times. Twice under Gailey, once under Campo and Parcells combined.
Yet Gailey is seen as a retread. I don’t get it. Yes, he’s been fired twice since then; once after five seasons coaching Georgia Tech and again in August 2009, when Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley decided he wanted to run his own offense and removed Gailey as offensive coordinator.
But Gailey got back in the mix thanks to his old boss, Bill Cowher, who talked to Buffalo and told them if he put together a staff, Gailey would be his choice for offensive coordinator. Gailey coordinated Cowher’s Pittsburgh Steeler offenses in the 1990s. The Bills couldn’t talk Cowher into taking their job, so they turned to Gailey.
I have no idea if it will work. But to criticize the choice of a guy with a winning record as an NFL coach (18-16) and a guy who never missed the playoffs, well, that strikes me as odd. Who else were the Bills supposed to hire?
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