He’s the coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. She’s a weekday news anchor for New York’s Ch. 4.
The marriage of Anthony Lynn and Stacey Bell is a long-distance ride filled with texts, phone calls and conversations on the ride to games.
On Sunday, they’ll be in the same place — Bell in the stands and Lynn on the sideline — as the Chargers play the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
It’s a marriage of inconvenience — they’ll spend Christmas apart — but one built on love. And air travel.
“Some days you work all week, ball, ball, ball,” Lynn said, “and you know she’s coming in on Friday and you walk off the practice field and say, ‘Oh, I get to go pick Stacey up and hang out with my wife and spend the weekend with her.’ It was always something to look forward to.”
Bell also looks forward to whatever time together they can steal. “I get to feel like I’ll see him Christmas Eve morning,” she said, making the best of the fact that Lynn and the Chargers will fly back to Los Angeles on Sunday.
The couple first met in 2008 when Bell was a news anchor for a station in Cleveland and he was a running backs coach for the Browns.
“I think I knew ‘touchdown,’ ” she said of her lack of football knowledge. “I watched the Super Bowl for the snacks and the commercials. I knew all my Browns fans friends were sad. I would always joke I would go to the grocery store on Sundays during the game because the grocery store was empty because everybody was home watching football.”
The Browns were a struggling franchise — that’s still the case — and in 2009, Lynn left to become the running backs coach for the Jets under Rex Ryan.
“I took the job in New York, her being in Cleveland, wasn’t sure how that was going to work,’’ Lynn said, “and that’s when we grew closer together.”
They became engaged in 2010 and married in March 2011. Bell followed Lynn in 2012, joining News 12 Long Island as an anchor, and then moved to Ch. 4 in 2014.
Lynn said it was a difficult move for Bell because she was successful in Cleveland, where she won two Emmys for her work.
The business of football took over when the Jets let Ryan and his staff go after the 2014 season. Lynn followed Ryan to Buffalo as running backs coach in 2015. After Ryan was fired the next season, Lynn took over as interim coach in December 2016.
Bell left her job at Ch. 4 to live with her husband in Buffalo. She continued to do freelance weekend work for Ch. 4 while living in Buffalo and hoped to return to the metropolitan area.
“I told her, ‘Stacey, they’re trying to get you back in that building full-time,”’ Lynn said. “They are bringing [her] back from Buffalo and flying in, and sure enough, they talked her into coming back. She’s happy and doing what she loves to do. It’s to educate and inform people about the news, and she does a lot of things for young ladies in the community as well.”
Ch. 4 rehired Bell in 2016. Then that NFL thing came up.
“I came back to work, he’s coaching running backs, a week later he gets promoted to offensive coordinator — even then I’m thinking this is going to be great,” Bell said. “A couple more years in Buffalo, this is easier, a 45-minute flight. Well, here comes January, he’s moving to L.A. and I’m thinking, what just happened? I just came back to work.”
Lynn had aspirations of becoming a head coach but had called plays only once, for the Bills in the 2016 season. It was something that might have held him back some because he was a position coach the majority of his career. He did interview for the Jets’ head-coaching vacancy that eventually went to Todd Bowles, and for head jobs in Miami and San Francisco.
Then the Chargers called, and after a round of interviews, he was hired. Now the wife lives in New York, the husband in Los Angeles.
“I’m so busy and always at the office,” Lynn said. “This year it really hasn’t been that big of an issue because I’m never home. I’d almost feel guilty if my wife was there because I would never see her anyway. It’s worked smoother than what we thought.”
Bell works five days a week and on Fridays takes a late flight to Los Angeles for home games, driving to the game with her husband for some quality conversations. Bell even has attended some road games; the Chargers played the Giants in Week 5 and New England in Week 8.
Lynn’s week is structured with seven-day work weeks. He doesn’t travel unless it’s with the team, with the possible exception of the bye week. He doesn’t get a chance to see Bell’s newscasts, but she critiques his news conferences.
“You really get the best of both worlds,” Bell said. “I love New York. This city has an energy you really can’t find anywhere else. But it’s really cool to hop on a plane and get off a plane and it’s a totally different vibe. It’s palm trees, it’s the ocean, everybody is laid back. We really have the best of both worlds right now.”
What also makes the marriage work is that their jobs consume them. It’s a perfect distraction from missing each other. And when they do see each other, Lynn said that ride to the game during which they can talk is the added bonus.
“Just looking forward to seeing her,” Lynn said.
They will see each other again Sunday, and the following week, they will get to do it all over again when the Chargers finish the regular season against the Raiders.
“We don’t go two weeks without seeing each other,” Lynn said. “When we do see each other, we are happy.”