Sports are supposed to offer a diversion from everyday life. But those trying to escape boredom are often out of luck. Risk-averseness in play style or management approach makes potentially lively games dull. Scared coaches trying not to lose instead of going for wins create frustrated fans even when their sides make one fewer error than an opponent.
Thankfully, timidity doesn’t look to be a problem that will affect this year’s Buffalo Bills, who look to keep rolling hot dice. They’re willing to try to double their bankroll even if it means the possibility of losing it. Look forward to the play of 2015 first-round pick Sammy Watkins.
The fear of losing takes the fun out of winning. Sports junkies often sigh to victory thanks to restrained strategies. An unsettling quantity of squads are boring even if they score more points. Too many hope the other side makes mistakes in lieu of trying to create them. The tendency to, say, pass underneath the coverage instead of trusting wideouts in which they’ve invested precious draft slots and currency to evade defenders makes any payoff anticlimactic.
Fans hope the present edition of the Bills remember what made past teams not just winners but enjoyable ones to watch. For example,representative of exciting football Jack Kemp threw a good deal more interceptions than touchdowns as he recognized how risk accompanies shots at glory. The economic-minded quarterback’s dashing habit of letting receivers get as far from him as possible before making his attempt was part of what made the AFL so exciting. This team should honor its past by confronting opposing secondaries, even if they’d like this year’s quarterback to finish with a slightly better passer rating than the former congressman.
The occasional turnover beats the alternative. The reluctance to challenge the other team makes the time between games seem less interminable. This league has had just about enough of coaches unwilling to stretch the field or press foes’ receivers even though they know counterparts are also weary of going deep. Too many contests resemble an Evel Knievel event where he never tried jumping the trucks.
The passive tendency to minimize gaffes has infected too many sports. There’s a reason the New Jersey Devils have so few fans despite championships, plural, and it’s not Newark’s fault: clogging the neutral zone is as exciting an approach as it sounds. Even a sport like college lacrosse has turned from an exercise in stimulative creativity during transition to an era of tentative deliberation. Blame the unwillingness to risk a cushy post.
Coaches like putting their stamp on sports as much as they don’t like being fired, which is why they’re constantly telling their teams to settle down and think out scenarios. The surest loser when both sides avoid gambles are fans who wonder if wins are worth enduring inaction.
There’s more evidence than in previous offseasons that the Bills have the right to anticipate a better record. The one guarantee is that this team is not going to be boring no matter where they finish. Playing football properly means engaging in effective aggression. It’s supposed to be an enticing game where wagers may or may not pay off. Betting is part of the fun regardless of whether the player or house collects.
This enthralling offseason has created the sense that the Bills are controlling their destiny. It’s much more exciting looking forward to the season knowing fewer punts will accompany fourth downs. Backers who crave both the playoffs and thrills will appreciate the nervy stakes even without a conversion. The joy of extending a drive by keeping special teams players sidelined outweighs the letdown on occasions when the offense can’t extend drives. The symbolic gesture of permitting a fourth shot can create pleasant practical effects.
The intrepid attitude enveloping the franchise only began with Rex Ryan’s hire. Adding LeSean McCoy flaunted gutsiness. You don’t get another team’s star rusher without being willing to part with someone valuable. In this case, it cost the roster a promising young linebacker who’s capable of making Chuck Norris cry. Every worthwhile transaction carries a significant price. Or maybe trying to get something for nothing will pay off next time.
Buffalo is working to avoid the sadly common reactive mentality that leads to dozing fans asking who won. The unwillingness to set the tone usually doesn’t lead to wins, anyway, as Doug Marrone coached as meekly as he exited. The ability to judiciously weigh costs and benefits is why a club would pay a coach $5.5 million per season, itself a chancy investment which could become a bargain. Acknowledging the potential downside and still pressing on leads to games worth watching.