Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson had apparently finally had enough of Dick Jauron coaching his football team (a 24-33 record over three-plus seasons will have that effect), and fired him earlier today. But it was not a move that came easy.
"It's the toughest thing I ever had to do personally because he's such a great guy," Wilson said. "But nothing ever seemed to go right." [...]
"He's just a great guy, and I feel very bad about it," Wilson said. "But I think it's best for the team and the fans and everybody."
Others, like Buffalo News columnist Jerry Sullivan, aren't expressing the same mixed feelings.
It's about time. I can't give Wilson much credit for making a move that should have happened last January. He saved a couple of million dollars on the ill-advised contract extension he gave Jauron last season. That's a small benefit, indeed, for wasting more than half an NFL season waiting for Jauron to confirm what any lucid person knew long ago: That he was a failure as an NFL head coach.
It's also hard to get encouraged when you consider Wilson's history of underpaying for head coaches. This is where the hard part begins: Will the owner finally loosen the purse strings and find a proven head coach who will command an elite salary? Or will he go the typical route and hire some young coordinator who will learn on the job?
If Buffalo opts to make a splash with their hire, there are plenty of big names to choose from: Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, Mike Holmgren and Brian Billick are all out there. Wilson has a chance to turn around the franchise, and get the Bills back to their winning ways. He'll just have to (finally) be willing to pay the money that it takes to do so.