it has been a rough stretch for the buffalo bills' fans, as anyone on the planet reading the buffalo news in print or online could have gathered, long before this horrid 0-5 start to the 2010 season. but in keeping with the spirit of having no tolerance for poor performance on and off the field, i think it is appropriate to hold our local sportswriters accountable as well. below, i offer some thoughts on why i believe it is time for jerry sullivan to be released from the local daily, and find some other town to spend his days recycling tired metaphors and beat up cliches to bash some other professional "local tackle football team."
There really has never been an easier target to criticize and bash than the buffalo bills these past several years. no doubt, you have heard it all before, and equally certain, you have heard jerry sullivan repeat the same old same old criticisms of the team and its management and coaches throughout this decade long dry spell.
of course, it is the job of sportswriters and sports columnists to do the "dirty deed" as it were, which is to say what many fans are feeling, and on occasion unload a tirade or two against the suspected guilty parties for their failures on the field of play.
but there comes a time, in every cycle of bashing, when enough is enough.
this ending of a cycle of media bashing does not normally have to end when the fortunes of the team have definitively been reversed for the better.
no, a high quality, Grade A sportswriter-columnist has the wisdom and intelligence, or some positively useful combination of the two, to realize that there is really "nothing new under the sun," and that, by saying what everyone in town already knows and has talked about without end for years on end--from gatherings of bills' fans hanging around chippewa street or the 19th hole at the country club of buffalo--you are adding nothing of value to the community conversation, certainly nothing worth the scarce space available for a sportswriter publishing a few hundred words at a time, a couple of days a week.
no, the buffalo community, and the local newspaper itself, deserve much better than what it has been stuck with these past few years: its lead sports columnist repeatedly rehashing the recycled meat and potatoes story of the bills' failure to deliver the championship goods for one reason or another.
been there, done that.
thanks for all your "civic courage" jerry, we'd a never made it without ya!
sullivan writes like many old drunk intellectuals tell jokes at the local bar, where repetition never serves to disappoint their own sense of witty freshness.
sullivan's tired humor is considered, for him, a form of courageous confrontation with the world's mediocrity.
like sullivan, the local drunk never disappoints himself. he keeps finding his own jokes extremely entertaining, with each new spin on the "same old same old" even more entertaining than his last, while the rest of the regulars bow their heads in shame, feeling sorry for the poor suckers walking into his dark den of gloom and doom for the first time, not knowing, yet, how old and exhausted the act really is.
i believe we are at that magic moment where it is clearly the community's time to move positively forward, and begin a new conversation, with a new set of voices or at least, in the case of sullivan, a new leading sports columnist in the only daily paper in town, capable of setting a tone worthy of the people of buffalo, here and beyond.
now, it can be said that from time to time mr sullivan can be entertaining as a writer, as well as a radio voice. but the problem is that any fan on the street, any educated follower of the bills, can be equally entertaining with little or no new material, because there has been such an unending stream of comedy of errors over the past decade, it really takes little talent to find a slightly different mix of presentation.
indeed, it is precisely because there is so much material to select from, that i have become convinced that jerry sullivan has lost his capacity to serve as an informative and illuminating sportswriter for the local daily.
quite simply, he shows all the signs of bills' burnout, characterized by an unending cynicism in his commentaries, which at best serve to mask his failure to do any serious research, beyond what every fan already knows, about the buffalo bills and their woes.
i challenge anyone anywhere to find a local sports columnist who shows such disdain for his readers as mr sullivan. he considers himself so intelligent that he has convinced himself that he need not do any original research for his published materials.
he is so convinced of his need to persuade the bills fans that their team is awful, rotten to the core, and that the entire management team is full, yet again, of incompetents, that he has lost sight of the fact that there are few if any bills fans who have not given this perspective hundreds of hours of contemplation on their own, with their fellow bills buddies, in offices, locker rooms, bathrooms, bars, and tailgate parties over the course of the past several years.
please dear jerry, tell us something we really really really do not know. dig, investigate, earn your wage. we pay your salary too you know.
if mr sullivan cannot move on, write something new and interesting and tell us something we do not already know, multiple times over and over again, then i suggest he retire from the local daily news and move on to some other community where they can enjoy his hilarious sense of superiority over everyone he covers.
for a few years, i am sure they will find his bitter perspective entertaining, perhaps even enlightening.
but at this stage of his career in buffalo, his act is old, his work ethic has long since deteriorated, and, from all published appearances, he has nothing more to say.
say goodbye jerry, and good luck.