I just didn't see this coming! I thought he should go and all the reasons for doing so were justified. However, I never expected owner Steve Bisciotti to have the stones to leave $15 million on the table and make the move now. Perhaps after next year and ONLY leaving $10 million on the table, but now,...WOW!
You have to give it up for Bisciotti, who is a relatively new owner in the NFL and has always taken a back seat to publicity since buying out former owner Art Modell a few years back. He and Billick were very friendly and it must have been a tough decision, but he said he made it Sunday morning, BEFORE the final Steelers game. Apparently the rest of the coaching staff was let go, including defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. Ryan is considered one of the front runners for the job even though he was terminated with the rest of the staff.
While I like Rex Ryan and wouldn't be overly disappointed if he got it, I'm in favor of moving in a whole different direction and looking outside of the organization for a fresh new start. I wasn't too thrilled with the job Ryan did this season, injuries notwithstanding. However, once your GM has provided you with the players, it's your responsibility to have the ready and prepared each Sunday. With the loss of both starting cornerbacks, I felt that the reserves, as poorly as they played, just did not ever seem prepared or ready to play each week and never improved from the first time they set foot on the field. For that, I hold Ryan partially responsible, as it's easy to coach an All-Pro, but to take a marginal player and make him respectable is a whole different thing and I just did not see that this season from him.
I would prefer to see a younger coach, perhaps a current offensive coordinator deserving an opportunity to take over a program with a strong core and build around that. I have no definite ideas of where they'd come from, but will probably be hearing names brought up in the near future. Current head coaches losing their jobs in the next few weeks will also be talked about including, but please, please no....Bill Cowher. How could Ravens fans learn to love a man they've hated for so many years?
Billick's personal statement can be seen here.