McDermott Remains Just Like Buffalo Bills Fans Already Expect

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images.

Don’t change anything.  A dull offseason surprises pleasantly.  Like how telling others you hope they live in interesting times is a curse, a bit of tranquility could actually equal joy.  Take how not wanting to fire the coach reflects an unusually delightful lack of tension.  I’m so used to the twitch that it feels odd to relax.  Retaining Sean McDermott means thrilling games instead of an eventful time waiting for them.  

Making decisions that work out is the world’s easiest goal that’s toughest to achieve.  Ask any Bills coach ever, most of whom have not been very good.  Those holding the job have traditionally caused fans to experience perpetually upset stomachs.

Old-timers who’ve been around since 2016 are surprised about relaxing after difficult coaching decisions.  It’s a blessing to reverse conditioning that caused us to expect a train wreck of an earthquake during every fourth and short in an opponent’s territory.

Noting decision-making is never perfect can be used to excuse shortcomings.  But McDermott’s performance has been decent with signs he’s capable of improvement.

The feeling of not wanting a coach fired is as foreign as dipping wings in sour cream.  McDermott is the fourth-best to ever do it, even if only by default.  Marv Levy, Lou Saban, and Chuck Knox at last have someone worthy of their golf group.  Knocking Wade Phillips off Buffalo’s Mount Rushmore counts as a minor accomplishment.  I think it’s visible over the Elmwood Strip.

Photo from

It’s not Coach’s fault that filling a franchise void was relatively easy by comparison. He didn’t choose to compete with regrettable tenures of lame hires like Mike Mularkey and Gregg Williams.  The Bills are beating themselves in the best way.

As for outside teams he must best instead of previous coaches, McDermott has to remember what got him here even while he’s stressed.  Turning timid when facing the Chiefs called for boldness is exactly what a foe who didn’t need help wanted.

A few more audacious calls may not have turned a game whose result seemed defined by halftime.  But we’ll never know if chaos theory would’ve changed initial conditions enough to result in a different score pattern.  A flapping butterfly never got to prompt a buffalo stampede.

But this team is finally trending in a welcome direction.  Discussing what could’ve gone better in the conference championship beats sort-of hoping for a loss that might get a bumbling coach canned.  Sports scientists call it the Sabres Standard.

True competence is tough to notice.  The relative ease of awareness that circumstances are off explains why Yelp reviews feature more bitchiness than compliments.  Fill out a comment card with praise for once.

Photo of WR Stefon Diggs from

It’s a pleasure to sense that this staff is getting the most out of players.  The Bills feature a lack of disgruntled roster members with potentially legitimate gripes about going underused or misused.  Of course, winning is the easiest way to preempt grumbling.  A playoff run negates the need to practice the obvious magic of hindsight.

Check Linkedin for job opportunities if you enjoy getting yelled at by an entire city for the results of decisions implemented by your subordinates.  Everyone watching football naturally wants to blame a coach for each error when even the guy in charge can only do so much watching from the sideline.  A player who’s guilty of a bad decision or just won’t listen makes his supervisor look bad, too.

Success is measured not only by what the plan is but how those instructed retain it.  Use whatever method conforms with your personality, whether it be Vince Lombardi yelling and shoving or otherwise.

Every coach has room to improve, which each of them believes about players.  The turntables have turned.  The eternal loop of performance evaluation should be a welcome challenge.  The profession’s best don’t exempt themselves from critique.

McDermott will truly succeed when he shows he can coach himself.  The incumbent seems to have learned over his tenure.  Perceptive pessimists who doubt the capability of humanity to improve may be heartened by Buffalo’s coach making better decisions than he did during his first season, which wasn’t exactly a series of regrettable choices to join pyramid schemes and buy timeshares.

But McDermott has to aggressively take the initiative if he wants to retain a quasi-guaranteed job.  The willingness to risk means heeding the same voice in one’s head yelling “Floor it!” at yellow lights.

Photo from

At least you’ll know you tried.  It’s better to go big and fail than remain cautious, especially since the latter often brings the same result.  Commission beats omission.  The timid are left wondering what could’ve been with a bit more guts.

Small tweaks would make a big difference.  Changing defensive looks would be a super way to help his own team’s offense.  Unlike with brake pedals, reducing predictability is football’s goal.  Try to control the collisions.  Buffalo’s now a passing town, and the defense is a secondary character.  But Ray Butani can deliver cherished lines even if he’s not part of the Rose family.

More diverse alignments would be especially welcome from someone whose specialty was stopping the ball when he arrived at his present workplace.  At the same time, McDermott was pretty willing to go with the flow for someone so intense.  A coach now known for flipping the switches on an oft-unstoppable scoring machine has shown a capability for adaptability.  

The corpse noted stability can be overrated.  But life occasionally permits for one or two good things to continue.  Refrigeration, the automobile, and ceilings hadn’t been invented the last time fans weren’t even tempted to call for a Bills coach to be terminated over the offseason.  By percentage, let’s classify it as a rare situation in franchise lore.

Winning was once a vague goal.  McDermott has to surpass an impressive standard he created.  Hiring someone who everyone doesn’t want to be fired almost seems normal.

Editor’s babble: Thanks, as always, to Anthony Bialy for his thought provoking contributions to our blog. And for many giggles. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.