I have a confession to make.
I want Rex Ryan to remain the Buffalo Bills' coach for as long as possible. I want the Pegulas to find a way to keep this guy even if the results in 2016 have the masses screaming for them to make a change. I want Jim Kelly to be wrong about that playoffs-or-else guillotine hovering over Rex's head.
This has zero to do with my admiration for his football acumen, although I still believe that, where defense is concerned, it's likely a whole lot better than last season indicated. My reasons are purely selfish.
And I offer no apologies for that.
In case you haven't noticed, The Buffalo News, digitally and in print form, devotes a heaping amount of space to the Bills, easily more than any other media outlet in Western New York and any other newspaper in the country gives its NFL team. I challenge you to find another sports section with five stories from one day of minicamp.
That's not by accident. Those of us who regularly cover the Bills are directed to feed this beast with Bills content, because it attracts more eyeballs than any other sports-related and a good portion of all other editorial content we produce. It's why this website has doubled its traffic numbers since 2014. It's what is being counted on to drive our efforts to triple that audience this year.
Rex gives us content. Lots and lots and lots of content. One news conference with him, and you come away with not only material you set out to get, but invariably there will be that juicy nugget -- or multiple nuggets -- you never expected. Like, "We won the offseason." Who saw that one coming through all of those dark clouds caused by surgeries and a contract dispute with the No. 1 cornerback?
But there it was, served up on that big, shiny platter that arrived with Rex in January, 2015.
His words don't only create a major buzz locally, but nationally as well. And this happens on a regular basis. The Bills might have a historic playoff drought going, but they are more relevant than ever league-wide because of what Ryan might say or do at any given moment. Last summer, it was his skydiving escapade. Last fall, it was donning a Clemson helmet as he met the media. In April, it was introducing Donald Trump at his Buffalo campaign rally. On Friday, it was being photographed riding on a tandem bicycle with his twin brother, Rob, the Bills' assistant head coach/defense with those crazy long gray locks and pretty accomplished headline-making flare of his own.
Rex said he normally can't wait to go on vacation, but not this summer because he's ready to get the season rolling. I'm not looking forward to Rex's vacation, either, because that means there are going to be about six Rex-less weeks between now and the time he takes his team to St. John Fisher College.
The beast will still be demanding to be fed.
You can roll your eyes and shake your head. You can sigh, smirk, sneer, sniff, spit. Do whatever you like to express your disgust because your football purity has been violated by the suggestion a coach should stick around simply because he's great copy.
But that's exactly what Rex is, and it's exactly what those of us who are expected to produce more and more Bills content need. Desperately.