I feel very strongly as a fan that the 7-9 and 6-10 seasons of the past decade have hurt our team. When coupled with a largely ineffective draft class (paging Mr. Modrak), our 7-9 and 6-10 seasons have kept us just good enough not to bottom out, but not good enough to compete for a playoff berth. Like a fever that cannot be gotten rid of before it is allowed to break, an NFL team typically cannot be rid of its ills until it is allowed to hit rock bottom. Look at our season records in the last decade.
2001 (G. Williams) 3-13
2002 (G. Williams) 8-8
2003 (G. Williams) 6-10
2004 (M. Mularkey) 9-7
2005 (M. Mularkey) 5-11
2006 (D. Jauron) 7-9
2007 (D. Jauron) 7-9
2008 (D. Jauron) 7-9
2009 (D. Jauron, P. Fewell) 6-10
2010 (C. Gailey) 0-4 so far
Look also at the Bills of the 1980s.
1983 (K. Stephenson) 8-8
1984 (K. Stephenson) 2-14
1985 (K. Stephenson, H. Bullough) 2-14
1986 (H. Bullough, M. Levy) 4-12
1987 (M. Levy) 7-8
1988 (M. Levy) 12-4
1989 (M. Levy) 9-7
1990-1993 4 Super Bowl appearances
Maybe it's just me, but there's not really any reason to freak out because the rest of the league is calling us the NFL's whipping boy. I'm actually very relieved that we seem to finally be crashing. If we'd done this earlier, who knows, we might have purged our scouting staff, and we might be out of it by now. I contend that we need to hit rock bottom as a franchise for one, two, and yes, maybe even three years if we want to pull up out of this nauseating 7-9, 6-10 cycle.
We also need to get some kind of successful scouting department and give our coach a break on that basis, given that he's won in other places, and that he's only 4 games into his job here. Marv Levy inherited a team that had won only 7 of its last 46 games, and his first two years were with Bills teams that went 11-20. We likely won't have the same luck that bringing in Bill Polian had in the 80s, but we sure won't if we don't try.