ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills confirmed Wednesday that coach Rex Ryan and general manager Doug Whaley will return next season even though the team fell short of Ryan's expectations.
"As our first full season as owners of the Buffalo Bills draws to a close, management, coaches, players, and fans all feel that our expectations were not met," Bills owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. "[Fellow owner] Kim [Pegula], [president] Russ [Brandon] and I look forward to working and collaborating with Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan in forming a winning future for the organization. Our management team and coaching staff are very capable and work well together. This stable foundation is necessary to achieve long term success in the NFL."
Ryan is in the first year of a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Bills, so he was unlikely to be fired after just one season. Whaley, however, has served as Bills general manager since 2013, and his standing was less certain after the Bills failed to live up to last offseason's hype.
That hype was fueled, in part, by Ryan saying in January, upon being hired, that the Bills "[were] going" to the playoffs. On Wednesday, Ryan said his heart was in the right place when he made his prediction, but as for his mouth ... "The part about making the boasts and all that," a reflective Ryan said Wednesday, "... maybe I've learned that maybe it's not the smartest thing."
The Bills have stumbled to a 7-8 record entering the final week of the season against his former team, the New York Jets, prompting Ryan to say on a conference call with New York-based reporters Wednesday that the Bills have "failed miserably" this season.
The results of Ryan's first season in Buffalo have caused him to rethink what he said about the playoffs in January. "That's just me, but sometimes I wish I just ... because I think, when you see the impact it has ... my heart was in the right place. I thought I'm telling the truth," Ryan said at his news conference Wednesday. "But at the same time, it's like, 'Eh.' I never look at it as, 'What if this doesn't go exactly the way I would expect it to go?' Well, I'm seeing it right now.
"I just think, when I'm like, 'Hey, we're gonna be in the playoffs.' I just honestly, 100 percent believed that. I absolutely did, without question."
Asked whether he's changed his ways, Ryan said in some ways he has.
"Probably so, because you look at the impact your words have in a negative light, I guess," Ryan said. "So ... I learned from it. But I look at it as, I got to be myself and who I am as a person. "[I'm] not changing [to], 'Hey, we're gonna put muzzles on guys. Not gonna do this and that.'
"Because I truly believe that, I think -- right, wrong or indifferent -- it's better for the fans. ... I'd rather be about that than being so tight-lipped that nothing truthful comes out of this building. I'd rather them see an honest [picture] of who we are, and I'm proud of who we are. Is it perfect? Nope, it's certainly not. But that part of it, I'm never gonna change."