Being a successful head coach in Buffalo also means securing -- and maintaining -- the blessing of franchise icon Jim Kelly.
Rex Ryan did that well at the outset of his short tenure, but obviously failed to keep the confidence of arguably the greatest player in team history.
With Sean McDermott's tenure officially underway, count Kelly as cautiously optimistic.
"I'm not so quick at making judgment," Kelly said Friday, via ESPN.com. "Listening to Rex back when he was there, I think he not only got me excited, he got everybody excited. Unfortunately, that didn't work out. I was one of those guys that hoped it would, because he was such a great guy.
"This is the first time I've met Sean. I've heard good things about him. For anybody -- I'm sure you guys, too -- time will only tell. You hope and pray that this is the coach that we've been looking for. I don't know enough about him to have a real big opinion. But from the people I have talked to, he sounds like the guy. You can only pray that Terry and Kim (Pegula) got everything out of what they needed to hire him. I'm sure they have. I'm sure the search that they've been on is to make sure that we don't have to go through this again in two to three years. So I just leave my hopes and prayers up to the Pegulas and (general manager) Doug Whaley that they did their job, which I know they've done."
Trust is a major factor here. Kelly, and many in Buffalo, fell head over heels for Ryan the way one might fall for a political candidate running for office. The reality of the situation is often in the middle. This time around, Kelly is keeping an even perspective. As for McDermott, the only promise he's making thus far is that his players will work hard.