Marrone comes to Western New York from Central New York, but Bills president Russ Brandon says the location really didn't matter.
"I didn't care if he was a coach at University of Tahiti," Brandon said during Monday's news conference at the Bills fieldhouse.
|SEE ALSO: Hear Marrone & Brandon | Photos | The Marrone File|
Brandon says the team's focus was finding the right person for the job. But, at the same time, Brandon does understand why some fans might think that along that line, with the team building its regional brand.
"It certainly doesn't hurt, but was absolutely a non-factor in any decision we make with the football operation," Brandon said.
He says the regional connection didn't play into the hiring decision.
Shawn O'Rourke, the director of Canisius College's sports management program and an associate dean there says he doubts the Syracuse factor was the only reason Marrone was hired, but he adds that it will certainly help the team market beyond Buffalo.
"It will definitely sell tickets but I think at the end of the day they have to win. I think it was a win win in being able to get the best coach and he happens to be from Syracuse." -
--Sean O'Rourke, Assoc. Dean/ Director, Canisius College's Sports Management Program
In Buffalo, the 48-year-old Marrone takes over a week after Chan Gailey was fired following three consecutive losing seasons. "I'm excited to get back to work soon," Marrone said. "It's a lot of responsibility. I feel I'm the best person for this job."
Marrone becomes the Bills' fifth coach in 12 years, and inherits a franchise that newly promoted team president Russ Brandon described as having a "tarnished" reputation.
"We wanted to identify top talent to lead this organization to where all of our fans and stakeholders deserve to be, and that's back to a championship contender," Brandon said. "And we believe we just did that."
Brandon described the search as being "thorough" and "exhilarating," noting the Bills met with Marrone four times before identifying him as their candidate on Saturday.
General manager Buddy Nix went further in saying the Bills didn't have time to waste or risk missing out on Marrone.
"We could have gone another day, and we would have been starting over," Nix said. "We knew the guy we wanted when we interviewed him. And there he is. So why go further?"
Marrone also interviewed with the Cleveland Browns, and was also linked as a potential candidate for job openings in Philadelphia and San Diego.
Marrone's challenge in Buffalo is turning around a team whose 13-season playoff drought is the NFL's longest active streak, and a team that's not had a winning record since 2004, when it finished 9-7.
"I'm not going to talk about the coaches that were before me, and I don't know what their philosophy was. But I do understand the responsibility that I have," Marrone said. "I'm excited about this. I've done this before. I've been in this league as a player, been here as a coach. I've gone through this change. And I'm excited to work with the players in this change."
Described as a no-nonsense disciplinarian, Marrone returns to the NFL where the former offensive lineman spent two seasons as a player, and seven more as an assistant. He was an offensive line coach with the New York Jets from 2002-05.
He then served as the New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator from 2006-08, where his arrival coincided with the team signing star quarterback Drew Brees.
The Bills also interviewed former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
Marrone has had little time to enjoy a 38-14 victory over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl, which he called his "greatest win." On Dec. 31, after driving home, he attended the men's basketball game in which the Orange beat Central Connecticut, 96-62.
He said he'd have to begin looking at film before determining the status of starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who's future in Buffalo is in question. Nix has already said he intends to improve the position in the draft and potentially in free agency. Fitzpatrick is also due a $3 million bonus in March from the six-year, $59 million contract extension he signed in October 2011.
It was too early to ask Marrone about who he might hire as assistants. He would only say he's looking for coaches with NFL experience to fill his two coordinators' jobs.
Same thing about how Marrone intends to improve a high-priced but underachieving defense that was one of the NFL's worst during Gailey's three seasons.