Time For a Change
Time to Name Names
by Tony Bogyo
October 13, 2003

There’s a reason I’m not a professional sportswriter. Aside from a lack of a degree in journalism, I’m just a regular guy, a Bills fan like many others. I don’t go to all the games, I don’t travel with the team, I don’t have access to the press box or the locker room and I have no opportunity to interview any of the players, coaches or management.

What I do have is a voice. I’d like to think that this column that I write in my spare time embodies the thoughts and feelings of other Bills fans. Because I have no insider access to the team and people don’t pay to read my column, I’d like to think I have more freedom than many other sportswriters to speak my mind. To prove this point I’m going to say some things I doubt you’ll read in the “real” media this week.

The Bills have no heart. They are a vastly overrated team that will likely finish no better than last season, and may even finish worse. The problems start at the top and it is time for the coaching staff to be shown the door.

I’ll take it even further and personally call out players who aren’t getting the job done. When you make millions of dollars a year playing professional football you have to put up with fans like me questioning your drive and dedication.

I have never seen a team play so beneath their abilities and with so little spark. This team has the personality of a coma victim. Both offensive and defensive units have been sleepwalking for weeks now without any sign of life. As a fan, it’s tough to see an entire team of millionaires phoning it in every Sunday. Where is the drive? Where is the desire? Where is the pride? I guess those things are reserved for the poor fans – the same schmucks who buy the tickets and the merchandise that pay for their diamond Rolexes and customized Cadillac Escalades.

If I hadn’t been to the Patriots game or watched the Jacksonville game, I would have no idea that this team is even capable of being a contender.

On Sunday the Bills went up against the New York Jets, an 0-4 AFC East rival. Given the poor play over the past three weeks, I was stunned that nobody was talking about how important this game was going to be. If the Bills were going to have any shot at the playoffs they would have to win their divisional games. So why was nobody fired up for the game this week? I think the answer is obvious – there is no fire with this team.

The complete lack of heart was quickly evident as the Bills did the same things they’ve been doing for weeks. Abysmal play on both side of the line. Going 3-and-out on offense and failing to make the defensive stop on third down. Penalties. Inability to run or stop the run. Poor special teams play. Big name players not getting the job done.

Does nobody on the team share the frustration of fans like me? I saw a team getting embarrassed by a divisional rival and nobody on the sidelines seemed very upset. After the game you heard players and coaches alike talk about needing to execute better and go out and get the job done. They can save all of these cliché nuggets of nothing for somebody who cares. Give me Terrell Owens yelling at his offensive coordinator on the sideline when his team is getting killed – it may be classless, but at least the guy shows he wants to win.

Before I single out players, let’s take a look at what this team did and didn’t do as a whole on Sunday.

Against the Jets, the Bills:

OK, time to call out some of the people responsible for the nausea-inducing stats above (I’m keeping a tape of the game in my medicine cabinet in case I ever swallow poison and have to induce vomiting):

Everyone has bad games and at times it is true that “we need to execute better”. I’m all for giving people a second chance, but these guys have had four chances in the last month to show that they can play and they have not risen to the occasion. I know it’s almost impossible to win every game and I really can accept losing. What I can’t accept are losers, and right now few people on the team can avoid that tag. If you’re going to lose, go out giving it your all. Show some passion. Show some pride. Show you have a pulse.

I do feel a little better now that I’ve called some people out. If any of the above-named players or coaches thinks I’m an idiot or takes issue with my thought I welcome them to contact me – at least I’d know they have a pulse and care about something. While I don’t really want to see Mike Williams show up at my door with a baseball bat in his hand, I’d take a beating if it was for the good of the team – and I’m just a regular guy who doesn’t make millions playing a game. I’ve got heart.