All the Words Have Been Written
On the Bills, what else can be said? They are what they are, and while that sentence may be trite, we have watched and listened and read and typed enough about all their issues. It’s a soft team, with little mental toughness, and doesn’t reflect what this city and it’s season ticket holders deserve. Those whose job it is to jibber-jabber for a living are doing what they have done for years, it’s just that they have a more receptive audience upon which to spew their venom. I was very pleased to see that Howard Simon’s childish plea for Bills fans to wear Denver Bronco orange to the game fell upon deaf ears. And I was also pleased that his prediction of chaos at the game fell far short. All week he had been saying that the Bills fans would literally riot over the poor management of the team. There would be protests, and fights, and chants; none of which happened. But that’s the type of shoddy reporting that comes from someone who watches the games on television and isn’t from Buffalo to begin with. And I’m not saying you have to be from Buffalo to be a good
reporter journalist media hack, but I do find it odd that the two biggest examples of those who love to go negative while failing to understand the Buffalo fanbase are from New York and Boston.
Simon has impressed me, however. Once known around these parts as Captain Milquetoast for his colorless views, his idiotic but strong stance on wearing the other teams colors to Bills games means he is no longer the uber-bland purveyor of mediocre opinion. By taking the third-grade stance that he did, he shall be known henceforth in this space as “Simple Simon.”
It is a rare occasion when I can honestly say that I have no idea where the Bills are headed and what they are thinking, but that’s where I stand. If it were me, and I was in the situation that Ralph Wilson was in, I would demand that Tom Donahoe either change his course or relieve him of his duties. I do not know what sort of financial constraints that Mr. Wilson has put on Donahoe. I do not know what sort of budget he was given to find a head coach. Everyone knows that Mr. Wilson is notoriously cheap when it comes to paying coaches, so I do not wish to hang Donahoe out for his hirings of Gregg Williams and Mike Mularkey, who turned out to be coaches who lacked the will or ability to create a disciplined and tough football team. Absent that knowledge, it makes it impossible to know if those coaches were hired out of budget constraints or due to Donahoe’s fear of hiring a strong coach, lest the incident where he was dismissed in Pittsburgh over disagreements with Bill Cowher would arise again.
I truly feel that Ralph Wislon doesn’t want to fire Tom Donahoe. Donahoe has done great things in terms of operating the Bills. Customer service actually seems to care about the customer today, which (if we clear out our biases) frankly sucked for the decades of the 70’s, 80’s and most of the 90’s. The Bills have expanded their marketing into Rochester and Southern Ontario, and have seen huge success at the gate (when was the last time the Bills sold out every game? 1993?). And, despite the failure of Mike Williams, the Bills have drafted quite well when compared with the rest of the NFL.
But ultimately, the Bills are judged by wins and losses, and there is no escaping the fact that the Bills have been losers under Tom Donahoe’s tenure. So what Mr. Wilson must decide, and only he has the facts upon which to base a decision because only he knows how much authority Donahoe has been given, is if he stays status quo, or changes Donahoe’s role, or cuts ties entirely. I can envision scenarios where Donahoe stays if the state of the Bills has been dictated by the owner. If Mr. Wilson said “hire cheap coaches,” (in so many words) then it’s hard to lay the blame on Donahoe, and only Wilson knows if that’s the case. If Wilson likes the success of the Bills in the areas other than the football field, he could easily tell Donahoe to recuse himself from the day-to-day running of the team and hire a VP of Football Operations while leaving Donahoe as President. Or, he could choose to wipe the slate clean, figuring the well with the fans has been poisoned. Clean out the whole staff, hire Marv Levy as a consultant, and rebuild the organization again.
I find it hard to believe Wilson will maintain the status quo, and I also find it hard to believe Wilson, at his age, has the fire in his belly to rebuild the entire organization. Which is why I think some sort of organizational changes will occur, but not on the grand scale that Sour Sullivan or Simple Simon would prefer. Frankly, at this point, I’m numb to the whole thing. Just give me a coach who can instill some discipline and make this a tough team; the sort of team that embodies my city and restores some pride.
I don’t envy Mr. Wilson and the issues he will struggle with in the next few weeeks. As I have written before, it’s always easy to say “blow it up” when you are not the person who has to do the blowing up and deal with the repurcussions.