Hello, everyone. It's good to see you all.
It's been a while. I've been away for a very long time and for that I am sorry. I hope you'll find it in your hearts to forgive me.
From the time LeBron hoisted his championship trophy to the time my Orioles saw their fairy tale season come to an end, I haven't been able to string together more than three sentences about sports. I could tell you about the ups & downs of my life over the last few months, but one of my co-contributors brought a human being into the world during that same stretch and outproduced me by about 287-0. So no excuses. All I can say is, well, I apologize.
Ok, you're right. It's too soon.
On the surface, this seems like something John Madden probably said a hundred times that you eventually tuned out. But examples of it crop up constantly. Sometimes it's easy for fans to ignore this fact and simply expect winning. Yankee fans have made a cult out of it.
(Side note: Yankee fans are currently engrossed in one of my favorite rituals in sports. It's "GOD DAMNIT, WHY DIDN'T WE WIN A TITLE THIS SEASON?" time in Yankeeland. After losing their Hall of Fame closer, No. 2 starter, and numerous hitters throughout the year, they finished with the 3rd best record in the league. They have a rough ALCS against the best pitching staff in their league after their best player goes down in the opening game. And clearly offense must be the problem when they hit TWO TWO-RUN HOMERS TO TIE UP SAID GAME! So now, everyone will join together in calling them all a bunch of bums and try to run Brian Cashman out of town. Enjoy your self-inflicted misery, Yankee fans! Oh, and the remaining $114 million on A Rod's contract. TANGENTS! GO BIRDS!!)
For LeBron James, learning how to play basketball came as naturally as learning how to ride a bike, but learning how to win championships took 9 years. Alex Rodriguez still doesn't seem to understand it. The Orioles needed 15 years to figure it out. And yes, sadly, the Bills seem headed for yet another season of failing at this task.
There's always times when you think they've gotten over the hump. Glimmers of hope that leave you thinking, "Wow, I really think they've got it!"
Knicks fans know what I'm talking about. Whether it was the signing of Amar'e, the trade for Carmelo, or the emergence of Jeremy Lin, time and again since the era of Ewing, Knicks fans have been duped into thinking they finally have it. Dolan's still up in his office, but there's no way even HE can screw this up, right!?
Wait. The Knicks are letting Jeremy Lin go to Houston? Wait. Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait. What?
Obviously things are more complex than just sitting down and "learning" it. So many things lead to the making of a champion. And beyond that, even if you do amass a talented roster and put together one of the best records in your sport, there are injuries and other unlucky breaks that can derail a perfect season.
We all remember where Nix's summer went from there. Next came Mark Anderson. Then a critically acclaimed draft. And last, but not least, Fred Jackson got the contract extension that everyone agreed he deserved.
Coming off a season that ended badly, but started with legitimate hope, it finally seemed like the Bills had figured out what it took for them to win. We tossed around the notion of barely missing the playoffs at 9-7 as if it were a lowball guess. This time it was going to be different.
Enter the 2012 Buffalo Bills. Same as the old Bills, but with more beards.
Please God, stop me. You've heard this before.
We're all left wondering the same thing. How could this have happened? How could we be back in the same place we've been so many times before? Well. Take your pick. Bad management. Bad coaching. Bad performance. But the problem that has disappointed me most is confidence.
You certainly don't see that look in anyone's face anymore. The "Why So Serious?" moments have been replaced with "ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?" ones. This all stems from the mistakes at the top. Where Gailey used to maximize the potential of his offense, now he seemingly ignores his pro bowl running backs and compounds Fitz's struggles by repeatedly putting him in a position to fail. The defense which Nix has attempted to improve with 15 draft picks and $137 million in free agent contracts has gone from bad to god awful. You can dissect the blame all you want, but when you're giving up historically bad numbers, what's the point?
More and more, the main issue appears to be that the combined age of our GM, head coach, and DC is 192. That may win nostalgia contests, but clearly it doesn't win football games. The only coach I can think of from the last 10 years who had an AARP card and an above-.500 record was Dick Vermeil.
Wait, is he available? Kidding.
Captain Obvious says, a team in it's 3rd year under the same coach/GM should at least be continuing to improve, not regressing. After all this time, the Bills still don't know how to win. They got gutted to open the season, won two games against awful opponents (one is our mirror image, the other in the midst of an ownership deal … oh, right, and they're the Browns), got butchered by great ones, then in two consecutive games managed to cough up leads in the 4th quarter.
What about this gives you confidence they can win 3 more games this season? Chan is already 2-22 against the division. By the time Week 13 rolls around, we could make Blaine Gabbert look like the second-coming of Mark Brunell.
The only move that can possibly salvage something from this season for Nix and Gailey now is firing Dave Wannstedt. If the Stache is on the plane to Houston, then they're truly out of touch with the "modern day NFL". Someone has to be the scapegoat to take some of the pressure off the locker room going into their week off. This isn't the time to rally behind your guys. Now they have to be held accountable. Buddy clearly gave Dave a flawed group of players to work with, but there's no defending the schemes their leader has been giving them. And firing Wannstedt certainly can't make them any worse.
Will it make a difference? Probably not. But if the past few weeks haven't proven to the current leadership that their plan is failing before their eyes, then clearly they too have forgotten what winning looks like. If they ever knew.