The genesis for this came to me a few weeks ago following the disturbing loss to the Browns. I wanted to say something right away but I waited. Of course the Bills win two in a row and things appear to seem better. The loss to the Texans brought those feelings back and what better time than now to let me opinion be known.
Iíve read what some have posted on here and it has bothered me to the point that it seems almost idiotic. I have seen too much negativity that no one had anything positive to say about the Bills when there was some. The fact of the matter is that they are right.
I have followed this team for over 20 years. I have seen many games over my time. I grew up watching them go to four straight Super Bowls and lose and I thought that was embarrassing. Of course I got spoiled from that and when they didnít make the playoffs I was disappointed. I grew up watching the likes of Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett lead this team many times. Winning seasons and playoffs were the norm. You never think it can end.
That all seems like ages ago. What I have seen the last few years is utterly despicable. A once proud franchise reduced to this? While players have come and gone, some have panned out and others have not. Some were touted as the next big thing but it never happened. Rob Johnson, Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman. Busts like Mike Williams and Erik Flowers. Bad acquisitions like Robert Royal and Derrick Dockery. The players who got away like Nate Clements, Antoine Winfield and Pat Williams. Players who had potential, couldnít replicate past success, or talented players not retained. All have failed or the Bills failed them. A now decade of nothing to show for.
Management is the first issue. Back in the day, the Bills had a quality GM in Bill Polian. He drafted those players on those Super Bowl teams. Look what he did in Indy! A consistent playoff contender, Super Bowl champions, and a HOF player in Peyton Manning. He and the late John Butler were great talent evaluators. Since then we have had Tom Donahoe, Marv Levy, and now Russ Brandon. While Brandonís official title is COO, "the Bills do not currently have a person with the title of general manager". That is from the wikipedia site verbatim. I find that funny since that is apparently true. He is a marketing and business guy, not a football guy. He has no business making football decisions.
In contrasting this team with the Super Bowl teams, one thing is abundantly clear. This team can not compete in todayís NFL. The Super Bowl teams were before the advent of free agency and were mostly home-grown players. While that is still the basis of competing today, the fact of the matter is you also need some quality free agents to improve the team. The Bills have not done that and being the small market team that they are, can not shell out big dollars to lure big-time players. In effect, they can never compete in today's NFL.
While many may not want to hear this, the fact of the matter is that it may take the passing of Ralph Wilson to actually improve this team. He has proven to be stubborn and egotistical as he has fired two great GMs and will not pay top dollar to hire a proven head coach. He is living in the past and does not understand how the league works today.
With that, many fans do not want to hear this but the death of Wilson would surely precipitate the move of the franchise and maybe then this team can truly be great again. They can not compete in Buffalo so moving to a larger city (LA, Toronto) can get them the money to pay for top-notch coaches and players. Maybe then this team can be great once again.
Of course the money thing is BS. With a HUGE TV contract that the teams get a share of, $100 million dollars, not to mention ticket sales, concession and merchandise sales, this team has the money. In fact it is all about money as they sell expensive jerseys but can not field a competitive product on the field.
I truly hope I am wrong and this does not happen but at this rate it is inevitable. It is hard watching the Bills play each week and the losing just takes it toll after a while. You feel helpless. It's sad to see a once proud franchise as the Bills be reduced to Detroit Lions level. Heck even a team like the Arizona Cardinals, which was always a doormat, actually got to the Super Bowl last year. Super Bowl losses? Iíd kill to see them make the playoffs now. A team that was the punch line for losing the big game is now a punch line for not winning many games. It is what seems to be a slow fade to black.