After a number of interviews the Buffalo Bills moved forward and selected former head coach of Syracuse, Doug Marrone.
An interview took place Friday according to BuffaloBills.com and according to WGR550 the Bills have agreed to hire him.
Marrone has spent the past four seasons turning around a wayward Syracuse program, and led the Orange to a 38-14 victory in the Pinstripe Bowl over West Virginia on Dec. 28. The Orange finished the season at 8-5, with four of their five losses coming by eight points or less. Prior to Marrone’s tenure Syracuse had not had a winning season since 2001.
Similarities exist between Syracuse and Buffalo and it isn’t just the location. Both programs have had horrible slumps and now that Doug Marrone has pulled one out of the gutter he must pull out another.
In four seasons Marrone finished 25-25 for the Orange, but that does include two 8-5 seasons and two bowl victories. While that may not seem like a huge accomplishment, for Syracuse it was. The Orange havne’t won eight games or a bowl game since 2001.
The Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers also showed interest in the 48 year-old Marrone, who does have NFL experience. Marrone played with the Miami Dolphins in 1987 and the New Orleans Saints in 1989. More recently, he spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints and Sean Payton. In 2006 and 2008 the Saints led the league in total offense. They also led the league in passing offense in 2008 as Drew Brees ranked first in passing yards (5,069). The year before the New Orleans offense led the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage (72%).
The hiring of Marrone was a smart decision by the Buffalo Bills who are looking to once again turn things around. Instead of turning to Lovie Smith, who was also interviewed, they decided to go with a coach that doesn’t come with expectations. Fans expected Lovie Smith to turn around the defense, but it was his offensive ineptitude that wasn’t attractive.
Marrone has a unique opportunity to turn a Buffalo Bills team around, much like he did with Syracuse. We don’t know what to expect at this point, but we know that he’s a winner.