20th Year in the NFL • 2nd Year with the Bills
On January 11, 2017, the Buffalo Bills named
Sean McDermott the 20th head coach in franchise
history. McDermott joined the Bills after
spending six seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers.
In his first year in Buffalo, McDermott led the Bills to their first playoff berth
since 1999 with a 9-7 record. He became the third coach in Bills history to
earn a playoff berth in his first season at the helm, joining Joe Collier (1966)
and Wade Phillips (1998). The Bills finished 7th in the NFL in turnover differential
(+9), 10th in the NFL in fewest penalties (98), and 7th in special
teams statistics. The 2017 Bills also won six home games for the first time
While in Carolina, McDermott developed a top-10 defense in four of his six
seasons in charge. Over his six-year tenure, the Panthers defense ranked
second in the NFL in sacks (261), third in turnovers forced (169), sixth in
rushing yards allowed per game (103.3), ninth in yards per game (339.1)
and 12th in points allowed per game (22.1). In his time in Carolina, McDermott
helped the Panthers to three division titles and a trip to Super Bowl 50.
In 2016, McDermott’s defense put up impressive numbers in multiple categories.
The Panthers finished second in the NFL in sacks (47), second in red
zone defense (43.64%) and sixth in run defense (91.6).
In 2015, McDermott’s defense helped lead the way for the Panthers’ 15-1
regular season and run to Super Bowl 50. The Panthers ranked second in
the NFL in yards allowed per play (4.9), sixth in scoring defense (19.3) and
total defense (322.9). The defense led the league in interceptions (24),
takeaways (39), points off turnovers (148) and turnover differential (+20)
and tied a franchise record with four interception return touchdowns. Four of
his defenders – linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly, cornerback
Josh Norman and defensive tackle Kawann Short – were
named to the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro honors.
In 2013, McDermott was named The Sporting News Coordinator
of the Year when his unit ranked second in total defense (301.3).
The Panthers also led the league in sacks (60), while finishing
second in scoring defense (15.1). The defense helped propel Carolina
to a 12-4 record, an NFC South title and the team’s first
playoff appearance since 2008. In allowing the franchise’s fewest
points since 1996, the defense set a team record with an NFL-low
21 touchdowns allowed.
McDermott came to Carolina following 12 seasons with the Philadelphia
Eagles. He spent his last two seasons in Philadelphia as
defensive coordinator, helping the Eagles to the playoffs in each
of those seasons.
2018 BUFFALO BILLS O PAGE 20 FFICIAL YEARBOOK