Bills hire talent consultant to improve their public image

PHOENIX -- Looking to improve how their team is perceived by the public, the Buffalo Bills have hired a talent consultant to work with their coaches and players.

Gerry Matalon, a former talent coach for ESPN, is advising coach Sean McDermott. Matalon's role might also expand to include developing general manager Doug Whaley's public image. Matalon is meeting with Bills leadership figures this week at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.

The move is significant for the Bills after the organization came under public scrutiny late last season, which Buffalo finished with a record of 7-9. A pair of news conferences -- interim coach Anthony Lynn's first news conference on Dec. 28 and Whaley's season-ending news conference on Jan. 2 -- created more questions than answers about how decisions involving the team were being made.

In February, the Bills hired Derek Boyko from the Philadelphia Eagles to lead their public relations efforts, replacing longtime team spokesperson Scott Berchtold.

In addition to coaching broadcast talent, Matalon has also assisted several NFL players, coaches and general managers in refining their public presentation.

The Bills have missed the playoffs for the past 17 seasons, which remains the longest postseason drought in the NFL. McDermott is the seventh head coach hired by the team since it last made the playoffs in 1999.