Hey Bills fans!?! Remember names like Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, Bruce Smith, Darryl Talley, Cornelius (O’Landa, best middle name on the planet) Bennett, Bill Polian, Thurman Thomas, Kent Hull, Will Wolford, Steve Tasker, Phil Hansen, and Andre Reed? Of course you do; they are the names representing the greatest modern era of Buffalo Bills football. They are the legends of One Bills Drive and the Tim Russert Highway – synonymous with qualities like perseverance, grit, talent, and poise. They resonate with Bills faithful, with the old school – they take us back to an era when everybody believed in the franchise that reflected the gritty inhabitants of their home in Buffalo. You simply couldn’t avoid the sense of togetherness and tenacity on and off the football field in the region those days.
Nowadays, in many circles you’re touted as a ‘homer’ or as misguided by fellow Bills fans for the same faith.
And I get a lot of that rationale. I can’t directly blame my generation for becoming emotionally bereft because we’ve been told ‘It’s going to be different this year!’ …for the last fifteen years. We tried rooting for Jauron’s super-conservative play calling. We tried getting excited for the Mike Mularkey/Tom Donahoe front office drafting first-round ‘ace’ JP Losman as the team’s new franchise QB. (ugh) We supported Gregg Williams (at the time) for his hard-nosed demeanor and 5 am wake up calls/making players run laps during training camp. Truthfully, they all landed us back in the same spot we were in before the turn of the millennium… in the NFL basement. Simply put, now we have a 20-35 year old generation (myself included) that has to reflect on elementary/middle school to remember a squad that brought overwhelming local pride and an unwavering determination for success.
What can possibly be done to recharge a Bills brethren that has become stubbornly scorned, so entrenched in pessimism?
There’s really only one answer…
Who isn’t tired of watching everybody else play in January, February? The team (and the city) needs to find a way to get over the hump…and it starts and ends with victories.
Winning can and will cure all ailments. Winning will keep fans in the seats and give us a quantitative foundation to keep the team here. Winning will ward off the naysayers and create a greater sense of unity in the area. Winning will lure even more prized free agents and really pump up the swagger factor of our players. (..well that, and keeping Tempo in business, that place is money for free agents)
And let’s give credit where credit is due. The current talent of the team is very enticing and they could be a playoff contender in the AFC. Sure… there are still a couple of holes to fill and some depth to address, but the Nix/Gailey crew has done a phenomenal job of building the shrapnel they received into a competitive engine. This is now a team that is built for intelligence, spontaneity, and muscle in the trenches rather than flash, smoke, and mirrors.
In my opinion, the muscle in the trenches has made the greatest impact. The simple fact is despite how ineffective other players on the field can be, a team that can control the line of scrimmage will ALWAYS be viable. With the additions of ‘it’s-a me, Mario!’ Williams, speedster Mark Anderson, and Cordy ‘Blizzard of ‘77’ Glenn, I think we’ll be a structurally sound front for years to come.
Overall, will the improvements made by the current stable of players, coaches, and staff be enough to result in more wins this season? Only time will tell – but one way or another, the fans will need to put their best foot forward and really give some of the players on this team an opportunity to become legendary in front our eyes. If they can even go 3-3 through a tough upcoming schedule after the Browns, 2012-2013 could become a special year for the red, white, and blue. There’s always room on the bandwagon, let’s go!
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