After Bills head coach Sean McDermott signed his multi-year contract extension, he and quarterback Josh Allen spoke with the media via Zoom to express their thoughts on the news. Here are six things to know about what they said.
1. How McDermott's culture turned into a league-wide perception change of Buffalo
On Wednesday, Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula signed Bills head coach Sean McDermott to a multi-year contract extension. The Pegulas expressed in a statement how impressed they have been with his detailed approach to the game. This type of approach allowed him to be the third Bills head coach to take his team to the playoffs in his first season.
The head coach is well-known throughout the league for the type of culture he and general manager Brandon Beane instilled into the team when they arrived in 2017. This playoff caliber mindset and family-oriented environment is one thing that led to an extension.
"I think really to sustain winning, you've got to build a culture and a good foundation," McDermott said. "Then the culture really breeds the chemistry that our players have been able to build together. Some of that's been driven by me, but a lot of it also comes, and the credit goes to our staff and our players for the bond they've been able to build with one another."
"We're just excited for this opportunity to continue to grow it, and just philosophically believe in building the culture first. That took time. There were some certainly unpopular decisions, and I recognize that. But as you've heard me say before, getting the right people on the bus early was important for us in order to get us to where we are today."
Aside from creating a culture that breeds success, McDermott is proud of the newfound perception Buffalo has gained due to the hard work from his staff and players.
"The respect now that the Buffalo Bills are given around the league and league circles outside of Western New York, I think is probably my most satisfying piece of it, if you will, as a coach," McDermott explained. "When we go to the combine I've often said, it's the greatest compliment a coach can get when other coaches talk about how your team plays, how hard they play, how tough they are, how resilient they are. That's some of the things that we hear now as a staff when we go to the combine. And to me, that gives us great joy."
McDermott added another thing that brings him happiness is knowing he, his wife and their three children have a home, for the next several years, in a city that aligns with so many of their values.
"That's what I love about Buffalo, it's a man-made hard-working person's community," McDermott shared. "That's been a great fit for me and my family in the way I was raised, and the core values I was brought up with."
Scroll to see the top shots from Buffalo's walk-through on Wednesday, Aug. 12.
2. Why stability creates more responsibility for McDermott
Earning an extension after two playoff appearances in three seasons also brings a sense of stability to One Bills Drive. McDermott thinks this type of support from ownership gives clarity to the future and allows staff and players to become the best version of themselves.
"It's nice to have for the people in our building, for our players," McDermott said. "When you can have that type of stability, that just gives them some clarity and some certainty on what the future holds. I think that's important for long term growth and in trying to in this case win a World Championship."
The head coach explained stability also produces more responsibility to see the coaching staff's vision and goals through to a championship.
"I would add it also creates to me an added responsibility though," McDermott added. "This contract is not just like when I first signed with the Bills. Now the responsibility to me, I take on even more. Not that I didn't before, but I think there's a tendency to let up. There's a tendency to rest on one's laurels and I'm not wired that way. I promised Terry and Kim. When I first took the job four years ago now, that I would handle the responsibility the right way and I wake up every day with that burning desire to do that."
3. McDermott: I can't envision myself working with any other GM
McDermott understands he can't do his job without the help of a talented general manager like Brandon Beane. The two have been in lockstep step since they came to Buffalo, having the same views on culture, player DNA, goals, all while making decisions together. When McDermott thinks about the success he has had in his short time with the Bills and what's in store for the future, he can't imagine anyone else by his side other than Beane.
"My view on Brandon hasn't changed since the day we first met," McDermott said. "When I was around him in Carolina he always had a great way about him, in particular with people skills. Then to me, a great balance of the business and the operation and then also blending the football side, that's unique around the league. I think for most GMs to have that experience on the business side of the football end of things, I really can't envision myself working with anybody else but Brandon moving forward.
"For coaches, as I mentioned earlier, it's one thing to be a good coach and develop players. But if you're not being fed good players, it's almost like drinking from a dry hose. That's a hard thing to sustain over the course of time. So being fed good players, being fed players that match what we're looking for, Brandon has done a phenomenal job. I can't envision myself working with any other GM."
4. Allen: He deserves every single penny
Bills quarterback Josh Allen was drafted by the Bills a year after McDermott's first season in Buffalo. After two seasons with McDermott, Allen can't wait to see where McDermott's leadership takes the team.
"Super happy obviously for him and his family," Allen explained. "He's worked extremely hard. He deserves every single penny that he's going to get. As far as the direction of his team, he's led us in the right direction. I know Buffalo hadn't been in the playoffs in 17 years, whatever the case may be, he comes in and in three (seasons) and he takes us to two (playoffs).
"He's got this team on the right trajectory. The messaging to this team obviously is the playoff caliber and trust in the process, and that's exactly what we've done. That's exactly what he's done. It's only led to good things so we're going to continue to follow his lead. As a head coach to get that extension, obviously there's some relief there where now he can go out there and just coach. So we're super excited as a team, being locked down for the next six years. We're looking forward to as much time with him as we can and developing that relationship."
5. How familiarity in a head coach will help Allen in year three
As a young quarterback, Allen is thrilled to know his head coach won't change anytime soon. The familiarity with McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll creates a bond that is essential to Allen's development as a quarterback and leader of the team.
"It's super beneficial just knowing the ins and outs of what a coach is looking for, what a coach is asking his players to do," Allen said. "The familiarity with him, and obviously he's more on the defensive side of the football, but to pick his brain about some different coverages that we're going to see this year. He's extremely knowledgeable, and I want to talk to him as much as I can and really dive into a defensive minded person."
"Having the same coach and the same offensive coordinator now going into my third year, the familiarity with the system, the verbiage the terminology and me being able to relay messages from Coach McDermott to the players, I really think a quarterback's an extension of the head coach and the offensive coordinator. To have that relationship with both of them that I do, it's been super helpful."
6. How McDermott showed leadership through offseason
In an offseason where minicamps, OTAs and preseason games were cancelled due to COVID-19, McDermott didn't let the cancellations get in the way of working to improve as a team during the offseason. Allen shared McDermott's mindset through Zoom meetings was far different than several coaches around the league.
"He stayed on top of everything," Allen explained. "He was reaching out to guys regularly and making sure that we had all the resources necessary to be the best that we can be. And to come back in the best shape possible. He didn't take anything lightly.
"I know a lot of coaches around the league were kind of very lenient with their Zoom meetings and whatnot, allowing guys to kind of do their own thing. He wanted to make sure that he was staying on top of everything and he didn't have to do that, but that's what he wanted to do. He wanted to use his time where was talking to the team and spending as much time around some of our new guys as he could. So kudos to him for that and again, it only shows why he got the extension."