Not many people remember, but Lynn is actually listed as Buffalo’s 19th head coach.
At the end of the 2016 season, Rex Ryan was fired before Buffalo’s final regular-season game against the New York Jets. Lynn took over as the interim head coach and the game was seen as somewhat of an interview for Lynn.
The McKinney, TX native wasn’t just seen as a short-term solution though, he was seen as the future head coach. Essentially, the job was his to lose.
It turned out though that Lynn would have his hands tied. Starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was benched for the regular season finale, which ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported was a business decision by the Bills to protect Taylor from getting hurt and activating an injury clause that would guarantee him the $30.75 million left on his contract.
Lynn started former first-round pick E.J. Manuel, who was eventually replaced by former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones and the Bills ended up losing the game 30-10 and the rest is history.
Current coach Sean McDermott ended up winning over Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, along with then-general manager Doug Whaley and took over the coaching staff in the offseason.
Lynn ended up getting his first head coaching gig in Los Angeles with the Chargers.
In four years with Los Angeles, Lynn has a .500 record of 29-29 heading into Sunday’s matchup against Buffalo. He beat Buffalo 31-20 in 2018.
In the same amount of time, McDermott is 32-26 in Buffalo with two playoff appearances, something that hadn’t been done in 17 years before he arrived.
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Anthony Lynn’s Meteoric Rise Through the Coaching Ranks
Until his time in Buffalo, Lynn had been seen as a promising young coach around the league.
He held assistant coaching positions since his coaching career started in 2000. He joined the Bills as a running backs coach in 2015 after holding the same position with the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Dallas Cowboys. He was also a special teams assistant with the Denver Broncos for the first three years of his coaching career.
But during that 2016 season in Buffalo, Lynn rose to the top of the coaching staff rather quickly.
He started the season as the running backs coach and the Bills were ranked first in rushing TD’s (29), yards (2,630), and yards per attempt (5.3) by the end of the season. LeSean McCoy had one of the best seasons of his career with 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns that season.
After an 0-2 start, Ryan fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman, promoted Lynn to offensive coordinator, and gave him full-time play-calling duties as well.
Buffalo’s offense quickly gained momentum and scored 20-plus points in 11 of their 14 remaining games. Lynn quickly gained a solid reputation and had already interviewed for head coaching positions around the league in the previous offseason.
So, he was bound to land somewhere and most thought it would be Buffalo until McDermott came around.
Sean McDermott Earns the Job in Buffalo
McDermott was known around the league as a defensive-minded coach.
He had been a defensive coordinator for both Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Ron Rivera in Carolina. He was a believer in “The Process.” and preached creating a “Playoff Caliber” mentality in Buffalo. In his first season at the helm, he broke the 17-year playoff drought.
Over the past four years, McDermott has led the Bills to two playoff appearances, two straight 7-3 starts, and has reestablished a winning culture in Buffalo. On Sunday, he’ll try to take down his predecessor for the first time and get the Bills back on a winning track after falling to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10.
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