The Buffalo Bills have formally announced that Rex Ryan has been named the 18th head coach in team history.
In a statement released to the media Monday morning, Bills owner Terry Pegula said, "Following an extensive search, we are pleased today to announce that Rex Ryan is our new head coach."
"Rex brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the position that we feel will be a tremendous benefit to our players and the entire Bills organization. He was very impressive during the interview process, as were many of the candidates to which we spoke, and we feel Rex is the best fit for our team. We look forward to his leadership and expertise in directing our team to the playoffs and bringing a championship to Buffalo for our fans."
Ryan, 52, joins the Bills after spending the last six seasons as the head coach for the New York Jets. He compiled a 50-52 record, also going 4-2 in the playoffs. The coming season will mark Ryan’s 19th season in the National Football League.
Ryan led the Jets to two AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010. He and general manager John Idzik were fired following a 4-12 finish last season. Ryan previously worked for the Baltimore Ravens defensive staff, including a stint as defensive coordinator from 2005-2008.
The Bills will officially introduce Ryan during a news conference at noon on Wednesday. He takes over from Doug Marrone, who exercised an opt-out clause in his contract on New Year's Eve after two years with the team.
Word began surfacing over the weekend that Ryan was the team's choice from a list of 12 candidates interviewed for the post. He was reportedly in the running for the Atlanta Falcons head coaching job, as well. Media reports indicate the deal is for five years at a salary of $27.5 million.
WBFO News caught up with some Bills fans along Main Street in Buffalo to gauge their reaction. All were positive about the hiring, though some say they are taking a "wait and see" approach.
"He know about the AFC, so if somebody knows about the competition, I guess it would have to be him. I'm not the one spending $5 million," said Paul Williams, who describes himself as a lifelong Bills fan.
"I think it's a great move. He's a big time coach and I think he can only turn us around," chimed in fan Sam Carty.
Many fans expressed some surprise at Ryan's hiring, saying they thought the Pegulas would bring in an offensive-minded coach. But all seemed willing to give the new coach a chance to turn around the team's losing culture.
"Only time will tell how things turn out. I think it's a step in the right direction," said another fan, Dan Masiello.
Numerous media reports Monday indicated San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman will be hired to serve in the same capacity in Buffalo, replacing Nathaniel Hackett. The team has indicated it wants to keep defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz on staff after an impressive performance by the team's defense in the 2014 season.
For more on the Ryan announcement, click here.