BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sunday’s matchup between the Bills and the Washington Commanders will mark the third time that head coach Sean McDermott matches up against his former boss, Commanders coach Ron Rivera.
Most notably, the pair spent six seasons together from 2011 to 2016 when Rivera was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers and McDermott was his defensive coordinator. They also spent three years together in Philadelphia from 2001 to 2003, when Rivera was the linebackers coach and McDermott was a defensive assistant.
“You try to take the best you see from those around you and I’ve learned a lot by being around coach [Rivera], whether it be in Philadelphia for those years working under Andy Reid, or in Carolina when I was working under coach Rivera,” McDermott said in a news conference on Wednesday.
Rivera, one of the more accomplished head coaches in the league, just won his 100th career game last Sunday with Washington’s win against the Denver Broncos to start the season 2-0. He is a two-time AP Coach of the Year winner.
“He’s a great leader and a great head coach,” McDermott said of Rivera. “He’s well-deserving of all the attention he gets.”
McDermott and Rivera have split the two regular season matchups between them. Carolina beat the Bills 9-3 in Week 2 in 2017, and the Bills beat Washington 43-21 in Week 3 in 2021.
The people that McDermott learned from, Rivera being one of them, have helped him become the sixth longest-tenured head coach in the league.
“When you get a job you’re never sure how long it’s going to last, especially in this day and age regardless of what the job is. I’m grateful for the people who have been around me to help me,” he said. “You can get into this job sometimes but it comes and goes rather quickly if you’re not prepared, so I’m thankful to all of those, like Ron, who helped me be prepared.”
You can watch McDermott’s full news conference from Wednesday in the media player above.
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.