East Coast. West Coast. Snow. Sunshine. Pine Trees. Palm Trees. Who could have thought that two cities, separated by 2,598 miles would host football teams that mirror one another? With the completion of one offseason, Buffalo has witnessed its football team experience a metamorphosis that has positively altered the Buffalo Bills. When comparing the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills, the common denominator can be identified as Buddy Nix.
Believe it or not, the 2003 San Diego Chargers can be considered a carbon copy of the 2010 Buffalo Bills. Both teams finished their respective campaigns with a disappointing 4-12 record. However, quick turn around was sure to follow for the Chargers. In 2004, San Diego managed to improve from a 4-12 season as they finished their 2004 campaign atop the AFC West at 12-4. If the similarities are not striking enough as it is, the Chargers playoff birth in 2004 eliminated a 9-year playoff drought.
Now, lets throw the 2011 Buffalo Bills under the microscope. This is the same team that finished the 2010 NFL season with a misleading 4-12 record. Although we are only entering Week 6 in the 2011 season, the Buffalo Bills are playing as if they are a completely different squad. The offseason additions of players such as Nick Barnett and the retention of veterans such as Drayton Florence have added leadership and character to a youthful Buffalo locker room.
The hiring of Buddy Nix may have appeared skeptical at first, but after turning one football team around, I believe he is amidst another successful “project.” Nix was recruited to San Diego from Buffalo in 2001 and was appointed as the Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel. Under Nix’s employment with the Chargers, San Diego drafted players such as Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson, and Darren Sproles. Despite drafting several other successful NFL players, those four players alone can speak for the intangible insight that Buddy Nix brings to the table.
With Nix Construction underway already in Buffalo, it is feasible to hold high expectations for this years Buffalo Bills team. Variables and outside elements will continuously influence the game of football, but the 2011 Bills team possesses a core group of exciting players that seem to be capable of producing some fireworks. The acquisition of Shawne Merriman and the drafting of C.J. Spiller are two signs that portray Nix’s mentality. Darren Sproles lacked a high volume of carries before being used to his full potential in the Chargers offensive scheme, and I believe Spiller possesses the right weapons to be just as, if not more, explosive as Sproles. With a 4-1 record, it has become evident that Nix has established a winning state of mind in Buffalo.
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