Last week in 2017, the Buffalo Bills hired Sean McDermott to be their 19th head coach in franchise history. The Bills were coming off a disappointing season in 2016 when Rex Ryan was fired. Offensive coordinator and former running backs coach Anthony Lynn was promoted interim head coach, but it would only be for one game as the Bills lost 30-10 to the Jets. Lynn was seriously being considered to be the Bills permanent head coach thanks to his constant success and quick rise from running backs coach to interim offensive coordinator and then to interim head coach. Eventually, Lynn became the next head coach for the Los Angeles Chargers and led them for four seasons.
Buffalo wanted to go in a new direction in looking for a new head coach to clean house. Shortly after McDermott’s hire, and after the 2017 NFL draft, Brandon Beane would be hired as general manager after recently serving as assistant general manager for the Carolina Panthers.
Before McDermott came to Buffalo, he had 16 years of NFL coaching experience serving most under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and five years under Ron Rivera in Carolina. McDermott’s goal was to rebuild and make a contender out of the Bills, and so far, he has lived up to his goal. In 2017 his first season in Buffalo, he ended the 18-year playoff drought.
In McDermott’s second season, he knew that the Bills would need a franchise quarterback for the future, so with the 7th pick in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bills took Josh Allen. McDermott’s second season was a rebuilding season for the Bills, and Josh Allen fought injuries during his rookie season, and the Bills finished the year 6-10. In 2019 the Bills would get back to the playoffs, but it was once again a loss in the Wild Card round. The 2020 season was the make or break it year for the Bills, and they would win the AFC East for the first time since 1995. Buffalo would also sweep the New England Patriots and win their first playoff game for the first time since 1995 and would host a home playoff game for the first time since 1996.
The 2021 season was a season of ups and downs, but the Bills would win the AFC East again. It would be the first time since 1991 that the Bills had won back-to-back AFC East Championships. The 2021 Bills continue their fight to win a Super Bowl as they head into Kansas City in the divisional round of the playoffs Sunday.
For the first five seasons, my thoughts on the McDermott era have been nothing but positive thoughts. Even though that second season was a rebuilding season as a fan, it helped lead them to where they are today. I think he loves and cares about Buffalo, and he has been nothing but great for this franchise, but I also owe a lot to Brandon Beane for being an outstanding general manager. I hope they keep up the success as long as they are in Western New York. It all starts with winning the division, but the Bills fans deserve a Super Bowl. As they say…just one before I die.