Rex Ryan began his short tenure with the Buffalo Bills by tapping a live microphone at his introductory press conference and asking rhetorically if it was on.
"Because it's getting ready to be on," Ryan said. "And that's the truth."
Less than two seasons later, he was let go. The Bills announced the decision Tuesday along with their decision to fire Ryan's twin brother, Rob, who was serving as the team's assistant head coach/defense. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was named the interim head coach for the final game of the year against the Jets.
Ryan's blustery start should have read like the beginning of a familiar page-turner. Much like his first years with the Jets, Ryan's arrival produced a boon in season ticket sales and expectations. It led to splashy moves on the open market, like the acquisition of star running back LeSean McCoy, and it pitted Ryan as the wily outsider ready to shake up the well-established AFC East.
Instead, Ryan won 15 games in two seasons. The Bills (7-8 this season) finished 8-8 in Ryan's only complete season in Buffalo.
"I spoke with Rex earlier today and we mutually agreed that the time to part ways is now," owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. "These decisions are never easy. I want to take this opportunity to thank Rex for all his efforts and wish him all the best moving forward.
"Kim and I and our entire Bills organization share in the same disappointment and frustration as our fans, but we remain committed to our goal of bringing a championship to Western New York."
Embattled general manager Doug Whaley will lead the search for a new head coach and Lynn, a popular name around coaching circles, will get strong consideration for the job, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo also noted that former Giants coach Tom Coughlin, already in consideration for the Jaguars opening, will be "connected" with the Bills gig.
The move by ownership shows just how impatient the Bills have become with mediocrity. Buffalo has not reached the postseason since 1999 and has only finished in second place twice in the Bill Belichick era. While Ryan was a gift to a sleeping fan base de-energized by the Chain Gailey era and suspicious after Doug Marrone opted out of his contract two years ago, he fell into some of the similar pitfalls he encountered with the Jets.
His inability to develop a quarterback -- in this case, former first-round pick EJ Manuel and free agent Tyrod Taylor -- and his trouble with injury plagued star receiver Sammy Watkins negated an immensely talented defense which many saw as the perfect fit for Ryan's aggressive style. Rapoport added that Manuel, not Taylor, is expected to be the starting quarterback in the season finale against the Jets.
This year, the Bills are 15th in points surrendered and 19th in yards given up. Last year, they finished 15th in points surrendered and 19th in yards given up.
Of the immediate questions the firing raises, one will certainly be the future of Taylor.
The other question is what will become of Ryan.
"This is definitely going to be it," Ryan told USA Today back in 2015. "This is my last stop in coaching, and then when my days are up, I'll turn it over to the younger generation. I'm not going anywhere else."
Should he remove himself from the coaching conversation, the NFL will be losing one of its great personalities. For all that can be said about Ryan as a game manager or developer of talent, there were few coaches as respected behind closed doors. Ryan will leave a trail of player testimonials behind him, including some kind words from some of the game's biggest stars like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
Those in Ryan's corner will note that Whaley might have never adequately stocked the cupboard and was not given enough time to bring in players who fit his abstract, but potent defensive scheme. Ryan faced resistance from established veterans like Mario Williams upon arrival and, based on the Bills' decision to sit Taylor at quarterback, he was not backed in his offensive decisions, either.
That creates a difficult environment for a coach to function in, though Ryan has always prided himself on overcoming those roadblocks. Will he get a chance to prove he can?