Nobody circles the wagons then has the wheels fall off and all the passengers die of Malaria like the Buffalo Bills!
— Sarah (@seybmama) October 21, 2012
As we go from 7 weeks of watching frustrating football to 2 weeks of watching no-football (the first one is still waaay better, btw) we thought it would be a good idea to step back and see what’s wrong with this team. But when we say step back, we mean waaaay back. History of the franchise back.
The truth about today’s Bills is that they are pretty bad. Again. They’re not a total disaster, but there are times when they seem set on screwing things up in a thorough, no-stone-left-unturned sort of way. Today’s franchise offers fans a devil’s casserole of an erratic quarterback, a defense that’s setting historical records for futility, retread coaches who nimbly react to game scenarios like ocean liners react to icebergs, a cast of players who divide themselves among the under-performing superstars, the over-achieving washouts, and the injured, all combined in outdoor stadium so bad some games are being outsourced to another city.
All of the above would be more bearable if it didn’t conform so well with the history of the franchise. We all hold out hope for a return to “the glory days” but the truth is that the glory days were largely a blip on a record that goes back more than 50 years.
Starting with the first Super Bowl in January of 1967, the Bills missed the playoffs 18 out of the next 22 years. The Bills made up for this slow start by playing in 4 straight Super Bowls, but then soon returned to what got them here by going “Oh-for-the-Millennium” since then.
Let’s face facts: the Bills are a product of their ownership and management. They’ve gotten lucky occasionally, but the statistical mean for this team is dependable, mediocre football and losing seasons. This will not change until ownership and management do.
Ralph Wilson just turned 94 and the topic of ownership transition has never been more relevant than it is today. What the team needs to be successful is not just new ownership, but a way to generate revenue that’s equal to the cost and risk of acquiring an NFL franchise. In short, the team won’t succeed without a new owner, and a new owner can’t succeed without a new stadium. A $225 million renovation to an outdated stadium, in the middle of nowhere, that nobody likes… just ain’t going to cut it.
Yeah, it would be great if the team emerged from the bye week with a win over the Texans. But that would be one small victory, a side battle won in a war that we Bills fans are fated to lose. What we really need is a vision for a new stadium (dare we say in Buffalo, even on the waterfront?) and its associated long-term lease with the team.
Say what you want about Adirondack chairs, but things are starting to move on the waterfront — the decision to approve Pegula’s Webster Block Development plan was made with breathtaking speed, talk about the Skyway demolition is surrounded by “when” more often than “if,” etc. There’s momentum now, and things can happen quickly in an environment where parcels of land are being acquired like a giant game of Buffalo Monopoly.
So there. We said it. A new stadium and a long-term lease, preferably on the waterfront. That’s how this franchise turns itself around during the bye week. Now if only we can get together some investors and government officials who can find a way to plunk down around a billion dollars in a community that would do everything in its power to pay them back.
We’ll get back to you on that one. Stay tuned…