BY TONY FARINA
There’s not much I can say about the Buffalo Bills that I haven’t said before many times in numerous articles dating back many years, long before the Buffalo sportswriters finally got around to writing the obvious. I’ll sum it up this way: the organization stinks.
Throw out the four Super Bowl years in the early 1990s (unfortunately most notable for losing four straight), this franchise under Ralph Wilson and now Terry and Kim Pegula is a disaster.
I said when it was announced that Rex Ryan was coming to town that motormouth wasn’t the answer given his .500 career record. He added some spice and sold tickets and tires, but it is terribly obvious that he can’t coach. But Ryan is only the tip of the iceberg for the Titanic known as the Buffalo Bills organization.
Let’s start at the top. The one constant in the last 16 years of missing the playoffs is Russ Brandon, the cool marketing strategist who has made a fortune for Bills owners even though the teams don’t win. Quite a feat, and he has been able to keep his job as the losses pile up. And of course, how about Doug Whaley who gave away the store to get E J Manuel, a colossal disappointment from day one, and then for the injury-prone Sammy Watkins who, by most standards, is another major disappointment. And then one coach after another comes and goes, some of them of their own volition. They apparently know the score better than us diehard fans who keep buying into the empty promises.
It seemed clear early on that Tyrod Taylor isn’t a franchise quarterback–you can’t make it running–but we stuck with him and and now, in his second year, we are on the eve of the 17th straight season not making the playoffs. I assure you, that’s quite an accomplishment. How can you miss for 17 straight years? Never mind, this franchises knows how to do it. Hire lousy coaches, screw up drafts, trade away good players, and keep losing.
The only thing that could make this year any worse is a loss to the winless Browns on Sunday, and don’t think that can’t happen. With Rex’s future up in the air (Whaley has him in his sights) and Tyrod going nowhere, will this team be able to handle a team, any team, even the terrible Browns?
There is undoubtedly plenty of back-stabbing and finger-pointing going on at One Bills Drive these days to try and find a way get rid of at least Ryan and start over. It won’t be easy, because, as one Buffalo News sportswriter wrote this week, the house cleaning needs to start at the top and, trust me, it won’t. And for the record, I can’t imaging any coach worth his salt who would want to come here under the current leadership, but somebody out there will need a job and the new sales pitch will begin.
For Rex Ryan, he will only be a brief victim and will ride out of town with plenty of money in his satchel, ready to pitch another pitiful franchise–and there are a few–that he can save them. He can’t. His day as a coach has passed. I kind of like him more than I did when he arrived, but he has made the point over the last two years that he should sell tires, not coach football. A player’s coach? Maybe, but his teams don’t really play for him and even if they did, they don’t have enough good players on this team to make a difference if they did play.
I am sadly accepting the fact that while I was around when they did win a little bit in the early ’90s, only to fail in the big ones, I may not still be around–given my advanced years–when they become good again, and I don’t see any sign of that happening anytime soon. You can’t win without a quarterback and they don’t have one. We can’t start there and then the list goes on.
As I said, the only dreadful thing left for this team is to lose against the Browns. That will send us all into the night and root for the Sabres who are showing some signs of life after a miserable start. We all would like a winner, either on the football field or on the ice. It looks like the Sabres might have a better shot at making the playoffs again, even if not this year, than the Bills.