Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- After the Buffalo Bills held their initial press conference of 2013, one thing was clear. The long-time status quo at One Bills Drive just wasn't going to cut it anymore.
With the news that the Bills have pegged Syracuse University's Doug Marrone to be the next head coach of the franchise, it's evident that this team realizes everything they've tried in the past has failed.
Over the past 13 years of no playoffs, there have been a few commonalities throughout. Most notably, the man who had the final say on all coaching moves and his subsequent picks of retread candidates to lead the team in to further mediocrity.
While Ralph Wilson has been a mostly welcomed mainstay as owner of the Buffalo Bills, his decision making in these key areas have not.
Since Tom Donahoe walked out the door at One Bills Drive, we've seen hire after hire of people Wilson was comfortable with out in Orchard Park. Just look at the general manager position since that time.
Marv Levy, Russ Brandon and Buddy Nix were trusted to run the personnel side of things, despite the first two not being cut out for the job while the third took the position when he was pushing 70. Rather than finding a new way to operate, Wilson instead went with the people he's known for a very long time.
That extended over in to the head coaching search with the hires of Dick Jauron and Chan Gailey -- two men that have had a certain degree of success as a head coach in the NFL at another destination before being fired. Instead of trying something new, the Bills went with something borrowed and that were subsequently figured out at their previous stops.
When the keys were turned over to Russ Brandon by Wilson as Team President, the Bills started talking big. They set out to change the "front door" of the organization with their moves this off-season.
With Brandon, Doug Whaley as the eventual general manager and now Doug Marrone as their head coach, there is little doubt as to the Bills stance on the state of things in western New York. They aren't satisfied with the same old, same old.
Whether or not Marrone will be a good coach at the NFL level is something that not a soul knows the answer to. We've seen what he's done in the college ranks in being a motivating, innovative, change-of-culture type coach that turned a program around.
He'll be asked to do just that in Buffalo, with a lot more money and pressure on the line. There are too many unknowns with Marrone to determine if he will be the right guy in the long run.
However, the best thing the Bills have going for them is that they are trying something they never have before.
A man that has never been a head coach in the NFL, but has experience with a successful NFL franchise (New Orleans) in a key role (offensive coordinator). A man that featured an aggressive, new-school offensive attack in his time at Syracuse. A man that will have a fresh start to mold the Bills in the way he did the Orange.
Sure, the pessimism can run wild from some fans and there has been a constant stream of it already:
"25-25 record at Syracuse? Just another mediocre head coach."
"The Bills are doing what they've always done, a cheap hire."
"See you again in 2015."
A head coaching hire is a no-win situation from a perception standpoint unless one of the accepted and perceived 'big names' are attained. No matter which candidate it is, holes can be picked through each of them.
Were Falcons fans fully on board for Mike Smith? How about Seahawks fans with Pete Carroll? Heck, what about Steelers fans with Mike Tomlin?
Pessimism is convenient, especially here in Buffalo, when trying to determine whether or not a new head coach will be the one to turn the franchise around.
Does anyone know whether or not Marrone will be a success? Absolutely not. You'd be a fool to sit there and say with 100-percent certainty and conviction because, quite frankly, it's guesswork at this point.
There are far too many variables when it comes down to it. Finding a franchise quarterback is the biggest factor, and certainly who he picks as his key assistants will also play a big role.
The one thing that must be admitted, though, is the Bills are trying a fresh line of thinking.They're taking a chance on a guy that's never done it before because they haven't been able to make their previous formula work over the past 13 years.
We've seen the Bills go the route of the Ken Whisenhunt's and the Lovie Smith's before. It hasn't worked. Now it's time for something new. Something that could lead to big returns. Or something that could potentially blow up in their face.
That's the beauty of the unknown. Some people fear it, while others welcome it with open arms.
The Bills used to fear it, but no longer.
Now it's just a waiting game to see if Marrone, the man billed as an innovator, can truly turn this organization on it's head and get them back to the place that fans so desperately deserve.
Not just the playoffs, but competing for championships.
What Marrone represents is the far greater detail than any other factor in this hire. That detail? Change is being welcomed at One Bills Drive.