“We want to get things turned around, but at the same time it’s football teams with grown men laughing at other grown men on the football field. That happened to us in the ball game last week and it happens every time we play New England.”
-Donte Whitner, Bills SS
That quote appeared under the headline “Donte Whitner tired of Bills being laughingstocks” on PFT yesterday. The Bills have been outscored by 32 points in two games, both of which they’ve lost. They haven’t made the playoffs since the Music City Forward Lateral. I’ve been a Bills fan as long as I can possibly remember- Norwood’s kick might be my earliest sports related memory- and I like to think that I’m more rational than most.
Now that that’s out of the way, YOU’RE tired of it Donte? You are? Really? You just play for the damn team and cash paycheck equivalent to my annual salary every week. Being a Bills fan is like being punched in the groin without the promise that the fist will eventually remove itself from you. We draft a RB- a position at which we had two decent starters- with the number 9 pick, name him the starter week 1…and put him third on the depth chart by week 2. Nevermind that the pick was sold to the fan base as “he’s a playmaker” and with an implication of “we have a plan for him”, clearly, no one knew what in the world they were doing. So rather than draft any OL, a real #2 reciever, a QB, DL, LBs or ANYONE AT A POSITION OF REMOTE NEED, we draft a “playmaker” at #9 who had ONE touch last week. One. Uno. Un.
And while we’re on wasted draft picks, Donte, how about we cover you? You were the 8th pick in the draft four years ago. In those four years, as a safety, you have amassed five fewer interceptions than Jarius Byrd has in his career. Jarius, by the way, was a second round pick LAST FREAKING YEAR. And he missed the last two games of the season. If there was an embodiment as to why this team is a laughingstock, you would be at the top of the list, if only because the others on that list aren’t on the team- or any team, for that matter.
It’s not just when the Bills play New England either. I knew the Bills were a joke when people stopped making fun of me for being a fan. People treat me like my puppy just got run over. “Oh, you’re a Bills fan?…oh, dear, honey, come inside and I’ll make you some cocoa. Do you like Spongebob? I’ll put on Spongebob…” At least the Lions have some excitement- they actually let their rookie running back loose, for better or for worse. Are they 0-2? Absolutely. Would I rather be a Lions fan? As much as I’d rather be paid to write. There’s a glimmer of hope for Lions fans. They have a QB, RB and WR of the future. They have a DT that may actually kill a man on the field just to watch him die. They have players that I would like to watch and that will probably be good someday. The Bills have a Mediocrity Day Parade at QB, where it doesn’t matter where the carousel lands, because the difference between the guy Madden rates at a 75 isn’t much better than the guy rated a 73. And if it’s that close, maybe the preseason should have been a QB competition instead of a coronation for Trent Edwards, who is shockingly not Jim Kelly (for this revelation, I should obviously be in the scouting department). I’m sure Fitzpatrick is the answer though. Until they yank him for Brohm in two weeks. And then back to Edwards. Meanwhile, the Bills will be 0-8 and more unwatchable than normal.
Chan Gailey will play conservative because he thinks its the best way to keep the game close, and he’s right to a point. But 0-16 with a few losses by single-digits is not a moral victory. I would rather the team go 1-15 by playing balls-to-the-wall football like cocaine-ravaged chipmunks and losing the 15 games by an average of 53 points…just to win that one game. There is not the talent on that roster to play not to lose. Hell, grab Herm Edwards and just have him scream “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME” all game long. Don’t even call plays. It’s not like you can be much worse.
People ask me how I can still root for this team. The owner says he cares, but is too set in his ways to change now. The team sucks to a degree that Hoover won’t sponsor them (they don’t want to look bad in comparison). The stadium is closer in age to my father than it is to me. The best thing I can say about it is that there’s no bandwagon fans left- it’s a very pure fanbase (think of it as the polar opposite of Red Sox/Steeler Nations). I’ll never stop loving the Buffalo Bills. But at some point, you wonder if they’ll ever figure out how to circle the wagons.