Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott came under fire Thursday when a lengthy series about his coaching tactics and style caught the eyes of the NFL world.
One specific 2021 team meeting appeared in Tyler Dunne’s Go Long Substack. McDermott used a head-scratching analogy during training camp. He was reportedly trying to illustrate how the team could come together following a season in which they had lost in the AFC Championship.
Dunne, citing several sources, relayed what was said in the training camp meeting.
“He told the entire team they needed to come together,” Dunne wrote of McDermott. “But then, sources on-hand say, he used a strange model: the terrorists on September 11, 2001. He cited the hijackers as a group of people who were all able to get on the same page to orchestrate attacks to perfection.
“One by one, McDermott started asking specific players in the room questions. ‘What tactics do you think they used to come together?’ A young player tried to methodically answer. ‘What do you think their biggest obstacle was?’ A veteran answered, ‘TSA,’ which mercifully lightened the mood.”
An unnamed player spoke to Dunne about the meeting.
“I don’t know why he’s that awkward, but his social skills are lacking,” the player said. “Maybe he’s just wound-up thinking about ball. You’ve got to talk to the team every day. That’s one where maybe he heard it on a podcast. Next episode! That’s not the one to lead with. He was trying to bring the team together. It was a horrible, horrible reference. He missed the mark.”
McDermott, who is preparing the team for a Sunday evening matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, was asked about the meeting on Thursday afternoon.
“My intent in the meeting that day was to discuss the importance of communication and being on the same page with the team,” he said, via ESPN. “I regretted mentioning 9/11 in my message that day, and I immediately apologized to the team.
“Not only was 9/11 a horrific event in our country’s history, but a day that I lost a good family friend.”