Listen, I'm not a huge Chan Gailey fan. In the midst of my fantasies about what the Bills could be this year, there is more than enough of a realist in me, telling me that there are hordes of things wrong with this team and that at least some of those things fall directly on Chan's shoulders.
But, there's realism and then there's churlish pettiness. One merits a simple nod of the head, the other deserves a water balloon full of herpes.
Earlier today, the triggering event for many comments and criticisms to follow, Chan was quoted as saying that he expected to win every game this year. Better yet, let's get the whole quote, so that we're all on the same page: "If you don't expect it, something's wrong with you," Gailey said when asked about expecting his team to make the playoffs. "If you say, I hope we're just a little bit better than last year, you ought to get out. That's wrong. I expect to win every one of them. I expect to be undefeated."
Gailey, in charge of selling his players on the idea of winning, and in charge - at least partially - with convincing us fans that the team is in the winning business, gave us what we should all hope for in a head coach: Hope. He didn't coat it with the realism we Buffalonians seem to value; he didn't tell us the actual truth about what, if a gun was pointed to his head, he would bet on for the Bills' season record. Instead, he gave us what we need as sports fans -- a reason to watch; to see if he can prove himself right, even if we know that he can't possibly really believe it.
But, goddammit if those clowns at WGR don't want to make us all feel like knuckle-dragging morons for seeing the real truth behind Gailey's lie. Goddammit if those clowns don't want to express their intellectual superiority - as if there's something so fucking brilliant about pointing out that, clearly, the Bills will not go 16-0, duh - while making us feel just a little bit less than ourselves for getting behind Chan for speaking confidently about his team and his job.
I won't waste my time with the reasons Schopp and White put forth (apparently over the course of THREE HOURS on air today) about why they think Gailey was stupid or silly or out of his mind. As I noted above, logic tells us that Gailey probably doesn't believe that the Bills will win every game. And even if he does, logic can also tell us that there is a benefit to his statements apart from their truth.
Nay, I take umbrage with the way that these guys went about this whole argument, and about how it turned into one big joke for them -- "Everyone look and laugh at the stupid fans who respect Gailey for what he said. They're Stoopid!!" While the real fans, and the real sentient beings amongst us, get that there is a difference between the truth a coach gives us in a presser and the actual truth, Mr. Schopp and Mr. White are so adamant that we have to choose between the two; that we can't see the good sense in Gailey's comments without ignoring the fact that those comments are, in a sense, ridiculous; that we can't be sensible and realistic about the Bills chances without seeing the value in Gailey's simple act of speaking those ridiculous words out loud. While the twits at WGR are always telling us - over and over - about how they want to give us the "straight truth" about our sports teams, and about how it's about respecting us fans enough to give us that truth, they have today shown themselves to think so little of us that they can't possibly fathom that we understand that Gailey's comments will probably be shown to be faulty in the end - NO FUCKING WAY!! - but that we can, at the same time!, validly feel that he's right to make those comments. Gailey loves our Bills (and his job), and he loves them enough to feed them a little (read: BIG) white lie, a lie that hurts no one except for the sensibilities of dumbass radio hosts who care more about semantics than the big picture. Who care more about being right than about increasing a fan's enjoyment of the sport.
I'm not even really sure why all this bothers me so much. Of course, Mat thew Stewart at Buffalo Wins already covered Schopp's douchebaggery earlier today, and maybe that should be enough. But, on the eve of the season, maybe the only moment where Bills fans can allow themselves to swim in the depths of foolish hopes and dreams for the return of a winning franchise, our coach comes out and stands with us in that hope. And these dipshits, with their soapbox monopoly over the Buffalo sports airwaves, choose to poop all over it, and all over us who choose to stand behind Gailey in the shared hope of success in 2011 rather than wallowing in the likely reality of a failed Bills season. This is the same old-world mentality that shits on new ideas that might spark a rejuvenation in Western New York, constantly focused on the likelihood of failure rather than the chance of success. This is the same old-world mentality that pushes vibrant voices like Nick Mendola's off of the air, seemingly preferring a solidarity of thought, marketplace of ideas be damned. With so many voices across the blogosphere who speak with a wit and intelligence and variety that make WGR seem laughably quaint in its narrow-mindedness (as Matthew so much more eloquently put earlier today at Buffalo Wins), I think it important to join in the fray and let my intentions be known. So long as Buffalo sports radio is limited to the, largely, asshat population guiding the reigns at WGR, and so long as those clowns continue to make money off of local listenership while unpaid blogger minions routinely outperform them, I will continue to call foul on the status quo and hope for a day when Buffalo sports receives more adequate coverage and consideration by those that get paid to do it.
Of course, by jumping into the fray - where Schopp and White live daily - I think it fair for people to disagree with me. Maybe even call out the hypocrisy of my calling foul on WGR after calling Tim Connolly-apologists idiots, for instance. It's fair. Can't take faceless internet potshots without expecting a few in return.
Either way, there's one thing that all of us can agree on, even if the guys at WGR want to make us feel a little like fools for doing so: Let's Go Buffalo.
And now for a video that is, perhaps, more dramatic than is appropriate for this ultimately petty post. But, it certainly suits my mood, at least so long as I have the growing urge to punch Mike Schopp in his ugly, unfortunate-looking face.