Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Sad Buffalo Bills Fan Face, Revisited

The Buffalo Bills have built a tradition of stinkitude in the last decade or so, building on the already established tradition of torturing their fanbase, as one after another in a series of obtuse, abstruse decisions are made, regarding players, regarding coaches, regarding the depth chart. It seems that everybody in that organization, from the owner on down, is living in a world of delusion.

Their continued insistence on recycling old, mediocre coaches in search of the "next Marv Levy" leaps to mind one of their more obvious foibles.

Then there are the player personnel decisions. In the last ten years, the New England Patriots have won three Super Bowls and been to one other. In that time, they have started three quarterbacks and one head coach. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won two Super Bowls. They have started six quarterbacks (half of those, due to injury) and had two head coaches. The Indianapolis Colts have won one Super Bowl, played in another and are always in the hunt for a trip to the big game. They have started one quarterback and had two head coaches.

In that time same time, the Bills have had five head coaches and started nine quarterbacks, a number that is compounded by the fact that in every one of those years (except 2002, 2003 and 2004 when Drew Bledsoe started) no starting qb lasted the season. Every time, near the midway point of every year, the starter was benched in favor of the back up. All chosen from a series of has beens and never weres like Rob Johnson (Johnson the Lesser), Alex Van Pelt, Kelly Holcomb, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Clearly, this is a franchise that cannot make any of the right moves.

They are not alone of course. Professional sports are rife with bad decisions and even good franchises make decisions that don't pass the stink test from time to time. But the Bills have excelled in making such inane moves that even domesticated large farm animals are left to scratch their heads.

So what I'm proposing is to create a new office within NFL offices -- the Ministry of Bullcrap -- and the Bills can be on the cutting edge, leading the way to a brave, new world of common sense and simplicity. In fashion and in food, simpler is often better. Why not football?

The qualifications are straightforward, just a person with basic understanding of football. Not somebody who fashions herself to be capable of taking over as defensive coordinator if only she'd get the chance, not some guy who thinks he understands player personnel moves better than Scott Pioli, just a casual fan with a good, old-fashioned bullshit detector. The kind who knows that Peyton Manning is really good and Derek Anderson is stinky bad. The kind who knows the simply taking a mediocre quarterback off of one mediocre team and moving him across the country to a worse team will not make that worse team a championship caliber team. (Yes, I am looking at you Zombie Al Davis.)

Just a basic grasp on talent and horse sense is required. Naturally, participation in a fantasy football league of any kind immediately disqualifies the applicant.) Basically, you want somebody who looks like one of these guys.

So when Bills GM Buddy Nix settled on Chan Gailey as the new head coach, tacitly proclaiming to the fanbase, "We're going to hire Chan Gailey. He's the guy to take us to the promised land."
The Minister of Bullcrap would simply tell him, "At's bullcrap!" and back to the drawing board they would go.

Heading into the draft and free agency, as it became apparent that the team was thinking they need not address the quarterback position because they had Trent Edwards: "At's bullcrap!"

When Chan Gailey said, "Why, Ryan Fitzpatrick really showed me something on Sunday. Let's cut Trent Edwards," the M.O.B. would be there to straighten him out: "At's bullcrap!"

It would work for so many other teams, too. Like, say, the Cleveland Browns.

Mike Holmgren: "Hey, we can get both Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to play quarterback next year. Book your tickets to Dallas kids!"
M.O.B.: "At's bullcrap!"

Or the San Francisco 49ers.

Jed York: "Clearly, the problem is the offensive coordinator, not Mike Singletary."
M.O.B.: "At's Bullcrap."

Come on, Bills. Lead the way towards a new era of clarity, of simple elegance. Establish a new office. It can be done.

Virgil once wrote, "Fortune favors the bold." Or maybe that was this kid.