Rumors were swirling in NFL circles Saturday that the Buffalo Bills would clean house and fire not only head coach Chan Gailey but General Manager Buddy Nix as well.
However, high ranking Bills sources insisted the decision on the team's top two football men remained, as always, with owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. and that Wilson had yet to tell any of his employees in Western New York of his verdict.
Nix, contacted Saturday night, told The News he had not been given any indication of any change in his job status.
There is widespread expectation among the organization that Gailey will be ousted due to the Bills' disappointing season, which concludes today against the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills (5-10) have clinched last place in the AFC East.
Wilson was in town for the team's holiday party Friday night. He returned afterward to his Detroit-area home.
Bills officials say their expectation is Wilson will hold a meeting of his top executives, including Nix, at some point this week to assess the season. That has been standard operating procedure for Wilson for decades.
Wilson, 94, remains very much in charge of charting the team's course.
An executive on another team and another league source both said Saturday they were hearing of a full house-cleaning by the Bills.
Nevertheless, the removal of Nix would be a surprise. He has maintained a strong relationship with Wilson, and the owner has stated that he handed Nix a long-term building job when he put him atop the football operation in 2010. Nix has been given full authority to hand-pick his football department and put his scouts in place on the college and pro sides of the organization.
The Bills will miss the playoffs for a 13th straight season, the longest drought in the NFL and the longest in franchise history.
Gailey has received strong vocal support from Nix through much of this season, but the general manager cancelled his radio show Friday, thereby avoiding discussing Gailey's job security.
The Bills stood 3-3 in mid-October, but they have lost seven of their last nine and repeatedly have looked ugly in losing.
Gailey's three-year record is 15-32, and few NFL coaches have survived such futility to start a tenure. Over the past 25 years, only 11 NFL head coaches have survived after starting their tenures with three losing seasons. Dick Jauron did it in Buffalo in 2009, but his three-year record with the Bills was 21-27.
Over the past 25 years, 72 coaches have lost their jobs after three or fewer seasons on the job. The last coach to have as few as 15 wins in three seasons and survive to see a fourth year was Bruce Coslet in Cincinnati. He won 14 games through 1999, then got fired during the next season.