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Readers want ex-Steelers coach to lead the Bills

A plurality of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll want former Steelers Coach Bill Cowher to take the reins of the Buffalo Bills. Cowher, however, has told the Buffalo Bills he’s not interested in interviewing for the job at this time, ESPN reported.

Owner Ralph Wilson’s decision last week to fire Dick Jauron as head coach of the Bills sparked widespread speculation about who will be hired as the permanent replacement. Several former NFL coaches, as well as defensive coordinator Perry Fewell—who will finish the season as interim head coach—are being considered.

On Sunday, Fewell’s debut as interim head coach was ruined as a late drive by Jacksonville Jaguars led to an 18-15 victory. “It’s been an emotional week for all of us and this was an emotional loss for us also,” Fewell said. Four percent of readers say Fewell should be the Bills’ permanent coach. 

Rounding out the Snap Poll’s top three are former Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy with 17 percent and Mike Shanahan, former Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Raiders head coach, with 11 percent.

More than half the respondents say they think Wilson will make the changes necessary to get the Bills to the playoffs.

Roughly 550 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Nov. 23.

Who do you want as next head coach of the Buffalo Bills?
Bill Cowher, former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach: 42% 
Tony Dungy, former Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach: 17% 
Mike Shanahan, former Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Raiders head coach: 11% 
Jon Gruden, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raider head coach: 6% 
Perry Fewell, Bills defensive coordinator and interim head coach: 4% 
Jim Haslett, former New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams head coach: 4% 
Mike Holmgren, former Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks head coach: 4% 
Brian Billick, former Baltimore Ravens head coach: 1% 
Marty Schottenheimer, former head coach in Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington and San Diego: 1% 
Jim Fassell, former New York Giants head coach: 1% 
Other: 8%

In your view, how likely is it owner Ralph Wilson will make the changes needed to get the Bills to the playoffs again?
Very likely: 15% 
Somewhat likely: 40% 
Not very likely: 35% 
Not at all likely: 10% 

Here are some readers’ comments:

Pay the price. Make the investment and reap the rewards of a championship team—a return to the Super Bowl.
—George Cook, University of Rochester

Wilson has a history of not making the right decisions, so why would he start now at age 91? He got lucky when he hired Bill Polian, who put the Bills Super Bowl teams together. But then Wilson’s arrogance got the better of him, and he fired Polian, who has gone on to build the Colts into perennial Super Bowl contenders. Morons hire morons, and unless we completely luck out, that’s what we’re in for again.
—Jason Oldfield

The Bills and Buffalo need some passion. All of the suggested coaches have skills, but only one has unlimited passion, as well. Spend the money, get Cowher to Buffalo.
—Jim Goff, CEO Landsman Development Corp.

Too late for this season. Let’s build, learn and get ready for next season. If they only continue to keep the games close, the fans will respond. Get a good head coach and supporting staff, draft some talented players, and put together something new and innovative. Good luck, Bills.
—Bob Stein

All of the coaches in this referendum could do a good job at Buffalo, undoubtedly. Ralph Wilson will have to give up some control, as well as dollars, to both attract and keep any of these coaches. While I would like (for the Bills) to see Bill Cowher take the job, I don’t want any ex-Pittsburgh Steelers coach making another team more competitive than the Steelers!
—Hutch Hutchison, In T’Hutch Ltd.

Give a new face a chance. Tom Landry was an assistant coach with the New York Giants when he was tapped to build the Dallas Cowboys. That worked out pretty well!
—Phil Beckley, SPLASH Marketing

Although I am a lifelong Giants fan, these are my observations. This is not the time to experiment. Let’s go with a proven winner with the know-how and style to bring this dysfunctional organization to order. Watching millionaires not perform or get injured because they are not physically prepared to play is passé. I would suggest Mike Shanahan or Brian Billick. Everyone’s job is on the line. PS. Can we clone a Polian to command the rebuilding of the Bills?
—Dennis Kiriazides, Xerox, retired

Vince Lombardi couldn’t win with the team they have now. He needs to clear out the front office and find a GM who can recognize a football player when he sees one.
—Philip McLean, Bear Creek Communications

Only six coaches have won back-to-back Super Bowls; Mike Shanahan is one of them. He is a proven playoff coach and Denver’s not doing so well without him. Give him the keys, Ralph!
—Tony Vecchiotti

The only consistent success the Bills have had were the years when Marv Levy was coach. During this period they also had a near-perfect mix of players who were able to win and achieve success the majority of the time. I’d like to see Charlie Weis become coach because I’m a Notre Dame fan and I’d like to see him leave the university.
—Dave Belcher, LeRoy

In Ralph Wilson’s 50-plus years as the owner of the Buffalo Bills, only once has he paid top dollar for a coach. That was Chuck Knox. Mr. Wilson would have to change an awful lot of things and give up an awful lot of control to turn the Bills around. I think we’ll have the $9 billion high-speed ferry, I mean rail, to Buffalo before Mr. Wilson can turn our Bills team around.
—Clifford Jacobson, WebHomeUSA.com

Dungy brings Vick with him—so he’s out. They must unload baggage like Lynch and Owens before moving on, as well. Edwards is not an NFL QB, so no thoughts should even be entertained of bringing him back.
—Eric Bourgeois

I think that the problem is the overall system that does not encourage team-play. This is a problem starting at the top, and with the top changing its attitude, there won’t be any change on the field. I would suggest that the players should receive their salary, but not bonuses for what they do during the game, like scoring. If they win, ALL players and staff should get the same bonus, and if they lose, nothing. The game looks like a wild goose chase where everyone is out for themselves. They need to learn the basics: “All for one and one for all.” For a season, stop publicly praising and blaming individuals and focus on the team as a whole. Maybe, the players will learn that team play is the secret to winning.
—Ingo H. Leubner

Ralph Wilson’s behavior toward a winning team has changed as can be seen by the following: He extended Jauron’s contract last year after he won five games in a row; he gave T.O. a one-year contract; he fired Jauron after the terrible losses this year; he spoke to the media and said passionately that he is committed None of the above by themselves mean anything, but taken together, they show a change of behavior and a trend.
—Thomas Mulford

Better players, scouts and management I needed.
—Margaret Swift

The changes needed by the Bills are deeper than the head coach [replacement] alone. While someone with creativity would certainly be a bonus, the talent level of the personnel must be improved throughout the roster. I miss Bill Polian! Go Bills.
—Chris Hill, Framing Tech

(c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.

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