While the coaches are transitioning into evaluation mode with four games left in the season, Bills fans are once again stuck watching the NFL playoffs from the outside looking in. Of course, there is a 1 in 3,980 chance they could still make it, but nearly a decade and a half with no playoffs, it would be hard to find a Bills fan willing to take those odds at this point in the season.
As yet another mind-numbing holiday season approaches with no end to the drought in sight, what scrap of hope can be found to keep the flames of fan-hood burning? Surprisingly, you don’t have to dig deep to find a few green shoots under the frozen ground in WNY.
Four failed coaching regimes later, what needs to change in order to get out of the ‘perpetual loser’ cycle? Ridding a locker room of the stench of perpetual loserdom turns out to be harder than getting rid of bed bugs in New York City.
However, while a seemingly impossible task, it wouldn’t take much effort by one person in that locker room to turn the whole thing upside down. One person. One catalyst. One motivator. One spark is all it would take to light a fire under this team.
One of the few things I’ve learned over the years of yearning for a Lombardi in WNY is that it really only takes one player to make a conscious decision that they are 100% completely sick and tired of losing. When they will not accept that fatal outcome on a consistent basis any longer, they will begin to change the fate of this team by taking it upon themselves NOT to accept anything less than victory and success.
That feeling is very contagious, but the proper environment must be in place to flip the switch to WIN mode. Four ‘environments’ later, we now close in on the end of Marrone’s rookie year at his shot. Is he really going to bring anything different to this franchise that the previous four did not?
Well, if he doesn’t, then the culture change could be ushered in by the influence of Doug Whaley and Russ Brandon with full control over every decision made by the organization. There is little doubt that we are entering the transition phase of this franchise to its next ownership phase. Will all these changes bring about better results for the Bills success?
One notable occurrence that suggests some behind the scenes bickering among the heavyweights involved with the sale of the team came this week when Russ Brandon was asked about the future of the Toronto Series (see my last blog on Toronto=Purgatory). I wouldn’t have made much of it, except that Chris Brown and the Bills front office certainly allowed a lot of attention to be focused upon what had previously been a taboo topic.
OK then, Mr. Brandon says he’s going to take a lookie-loo around the Toronto Series to make certain it fits the organization’s goals and mission. Toronto sure has been on the butt end of the media for a variety of reasons lately. First their Mayor, then Bon Jovi.
Seriously, I want to know how many people ever thought of Bon Jovi and Ralph Wilson in the same sentence before all the hoo-ha going on north of the border? Talk about a culture change. How about a complete culture mind bender?
So with four games left to play, we find ourselves once again with our faces pressed up against the glass. The final quarter of the Bills’ seasons haven’t exactly been a pretty sight nor have they meant anything meaningful for more than a decade.
Winning games now has never been more important to this franchise. They need to give fans a reason to believe for next year. You can’t keep putting a garbage product on the field forever in a cash strapped community and expect support. I don’t believe there are many fan bases as loyal to a ‘loser’ as WNYers are toward their Buffalo Bills. Give them a winning product and they will reward the franchise with their undying loyalty.
Every coaching staff and player that comes to the Bills organization talks about how they don’t want to speak about the “history of the Bills” (aka/decade of despair) before THEY joined the team. Sorry, you don’t get to do that anymore!
It’s time the coaches and players are completely in sync with how much this fan base has been humiliated over the last decade-plus. If they “don’t know the history,” then go read it before showing up for OTAs in the spring!
So, this isn’t just another season down the tubes. There are four games left for every player on this team to show the reason why they should be brought back. Remember what the Bills of the 90’s said they found when they came to WNY? They had never seen a locker room so full of despair.
Time for Coach Marrone to decide exactly who confused effort with results this season. Four games left. Bills fans are waiting. There has never been a more critical time in the history of this franchise than now in terms of changing their image from perpetual loser to consistent winner.