I'm sitting here reflecting on the last week (!), and what a first week back in action for the NFL it has been. Frenetic, dizzying, and yet nice to focus on football back in Western New York. As someone who grew up in Western New York and has since left to go to college and grow professionally, I hold on to the Bills no matter where I've lived over three continents within the last decade. I was in elementary school during the Super Bowl years, and my formative high school years pitted Flutie V Johnson. Suffice it to say, I've suffered from afar along with everyone else on this board for quite a long time.
And yet, I think there are the makings here of a decent NFL franchise. Nix has bet on a core nucleus of two drafts and holdovers from the Levy era with his youth movement, and while this year's team may not do any better than 5-6 wins, it's fair to say that the future of this franchise is bright -- Johnson, Wood, Levitre, Spiller, Dareus, Sheppard, Williams, etc. Are there missing pieces still? Absolutely. Which is why this method of building a franchise takes time.
How do we know that time is what is needed? This past week has caused a lot of consternation in the Bills online community, and while it's fair for criticism to be leveled -- missing on Burnett, Clabo, Poz, what have you, I think it's not easy to always see the forest from the tree line. The latter thought started me down a road on Friday of researching more about the way the Packers built their Super Bowl run, and for those of us impatient with the Buddy Nix/Chan Gailey rebuilding era, I'd suggest reading this piece: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/41379862/ns/sports-super_bowl_xlv//.
It took six years to build the Packers into a championship team, and, yes, they did gamble and win on a franchise quarterback. I know taking six years to build a winning team is anathema to Bills fans that have suffered for over a decade, and I sincerely hear that. And, like any good sports argument, there are holes with any analogy to the Packers, but I'm more interested in the model they used to build their franchise -- building through the draft, low-key free agent signings, and a coach that was cited for his straight-forward manner but not his previous winning percentage. Sounds familiar to me (and yes, the Packers even missed on draft picks like OBD!).
I'll leave it there for now, as this is my first post, but I hope to be a bigger participant this season on Brian's website. I think the core of this franchise is being laid as we speak, and the foundation will hopefully spur several successful seasons down the line. Finally, I'd like to add that without this community and Buffalo Rumblings, I'd be addicted to this sport without a daily home online. Thank you, Brian, and I look forward to interacting with folks more in the coming weeks and months.