Bills fire Gailey after 3 straight losing seasons

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm •  Published: December 31, 2012
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Wilson had initially backed Nix's build-through-the-draft approach. Three years ago, the 94-year-old owner said he expected the rebuilding process could take as long as five years.

Brandon has been unhappy with the criticism leveled at the Bills, and how it's translated into poor ticket sales. Buffalo failed to sell out its three of its final four home games. And the fourth, against St. Louis on Dec. 9, wasn't a sellout until a local restaurateur purchased the remaining 10,000 tickets.

One option is for the Bills to make a splash in hiring their next head coach, as they attempted in their previous search.

After firing Dick Jauron in November 2009, Wilson expressed a desire to open his checkbook to lure a high-profile coach to Buffalo only to be rebuffed by Mike Shanahan, who instead landed in Washington.

The most high-profile candidates available include coach-turned-broadcaster Jon Gruden and Andy Reid, who was fired by Philadelphia on Monday. Then there's two candidates in the college ranks, Oregon's Chip Kelly and Penn State's Bill O'Brien, who had numerous friends and former colleagues on Gailey's staff.

An offensive specialist, Gailey was unable to spark the Bills popgun attack under Fitzpatrick. The Bills finished 19th in the NFL in yards gained and 21st in points this season. Gailey was faulted for under-utilizing the offense's most dynamic threat, running back C.J. Spiller.

"It's sickening," running back Fred Jackson said, referring to how the Bills failed to play up to expectations. "As players, we had the highest hopes out of everybody. And for us to fall short of that, we don't like it at all. It's depressing."

Ultimately, it was the Bills' porous defense that doomed Gailey.

The Bills allowed 400-plus points in each of the past three seasons, including 435 this year — the second-most in team history. Though Williams' presence improved the pass rush, Buffalo became the NFL's eighth team, and first since the 1986 Jets, to allow 45 points four times in one season.

Fitzpatrick's status is uncertain in part because he's due a $3 million bonus in March. He went 16-29 since taking the starting job three games into the 2010 season.

Fitzpatrick declined to speculate on his future. After speaking to reporters, Fitzpatrick hugged Johnson, and the two left with the receiver's arm over the quarterback's shoulder.

Reading from notes he jotted on a Bills pad, Gailey's eyes welled with tears when he credited Bills fans for their loyalty, and Buffalo for being a passionate football city.

"I think that the next staff will have a great opportunity for success, and make this another great football franchise," Gailey said. "This will probably be, and I say probably, but I think it will be the first place that's ever fired me that I'll pull for."

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