The constant back-and-forth saga that has been the free agency period for the Buffalo Bills has resulted in landing one of the premier players available in the NFL. LB/DE superstar Mario Williams has signed a 6 year, $100 million deal ($50 million guaranteed) for the Bills on Thursday, easily making him the highest-paid player in franchise history. Let me repeat that for the Buffalonians that are still trying to let that sink in; The Buffalo Bills have landed an absolute stud in a position of desperate need for the better part of a decade. Feels good, doesn’t it?
After a drawn-out 3 day visit that involved dinners with Bills brass, continuous interaction with Bills players in the region, a trip into the Southtowns with his fiancée in tow, numerous reports of him skipping town to see other teams (thanks for the gray hair, John Clayton), and a plethora of contract negotiating that continued for 2 hours even after the initial press conference was called, the 2-time Pro Bowl pass rusher finally signed on the dotted line and became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. With that all said, it was completely worth the wait.
Mario emphasized in his press conference about how football is only 50% of the equation, with the other 50% being how comfortable he is in his surroundings. It’s understandable how he would need some additional time to take a look at the area, including a trip over to Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly’s house to check out some ‘deers’ in Kelly’s backyard. As Mario also alluded to, he had to take the time to dispel some of the negative stigma that deters the Willis McGahees of the NFL from choosing to play here. He spoke of how he sees our neck of the woods as having a ‘college-type atmosphere’ and being similar to ‘a big Richlands’ (his hometown in N. Carolina).
And honestly, I couldn’t agree more. To call Buffalo an unconventional NFL city is an understatement. Buffalo fans bleed red, white, and blue every Sunday in the autumn and truth-be-told, Mario Williams has the opportunity to become a legend here if he can perform to expectations. In this area, we honor our athletes by granting a legendary status to athletes who fall in love with the area, like Jim Kelly, Lindy Ruff, and our very own in Legends Founder Thurman Thomas and Executive Director Michael Peca. Simply put, it appears as though he was not going to receive that level of adulation in Houston, or any other city that expressed interest in the Williams bidding. They just aren’t as starved for success or as eager to see a bonafide star as Buffalo.
This news has really hit me with a great sense of encouragement in not only the Bills’ chances for next season, but for the long-term benefit of the community. After all, we are the City of Good Neighbors. We have the best intentions for the greater good of the community, but all-too-often we get the short end of the stick on the national stage. We’ve had to historically make the most with the least for as long as we can remember. To actually win out on a sweepstakes such as this is a real shot in the arm for Buffalo morale.
The fact of the matter is this place is so much more than lake-effect snow and chicken wings. We’re a tight-knit community. We’re a proud breed of people who aren’t afraid of giving an honest, blue-collar effort for something we believe in accomplishing. Sure, we’re frustrated/hurt with the past mistakes and misfortunes that have affected our area in years past. But, we still continue to fight onward for each other, and there’s a great sense of togetherness in that (many call it Buffalove).
I may be crazy, but somehow this time around for the city feels different. The inferiority complex that has ravaged the region for so long feels as though it has been breaking down, brick by brick, in recent history. The commitment of $1 billion dollars from NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo in January for economic development, the continued progress/grown brought upon by UB2020, the recent beautification projects along our waterfront (granted, there’s still a long way to go), the purchase (and emptying of the coin purse) of the Buffalo Sabres by Terry Pegula, and the aforementioned signing of Mario Williams have all spurred an overwhelming sense of positivity in this town.
This place IS worthy of something more, and we’re slowly relearning that fact. This area has one resource that no other city can claim, the loyal heart of its local brethren. We are the grass roots of what makes America great. Buffalo is an ample frontier, a city with character that has the weapons at its disposal to combat our shaky past. We have the culture, we have the architecture, and now we’re starting to regain the swagger of a successful region. In the grand scheme of things, this signing is another catalyst of what feels like the beginning of an enormous groundswell for our home. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country starts to take notice, rather than scoff, or turn a blind eye.
Legends Energy Group is proud to offer energy consulting services to businesses across the nation. Our partnership with ECS and BUE allows us to drive down energy costs and help companies save money. Our website shows how demand response works, and how energy procurement and choosing an energy supplier can assist you in making the planet greener. For more information, read this link and click on this page.