I know many of you were wondering where I have been over these past couple of months. A lot has transpired with the Buffalo Bills since my last post, so there definitely wasn't a shortage of topic ideas to discuss. And yes, things have been busy at the day job, and my soon to be one year-old daughter has been keeping me busy. But none of these were the real reasons why you haven't heard from me.
As I watched the finale of yesterday's loss to the Oakland Raiders, and the clock finally hit zero, ensuring that the season was over and the non-playoff streak would continue, I was inspired to write my first Morning Joe in months.
The writers on this site all write for various reasons. I write for you; the fans. I felt that there was nothing of value for me to offer you over these past couple of months. Like many of you, I was on the emotional roller coaster that this team had us on during the season. There were many highs and lows, many ups and downs, and quite frankly where my emotions were, I was in no condition to adequately express my thoughts.
As a contributor on this site, I have an obligation and a responsibility to not just go on a thousand-word rant on why Doug Marrone should be fired. I should use this forum for something more productive. So for today's Morning Joe, I'm going give you, the fans, some perspective. Hopefully, once you read this, you will have the same level of peace that I had yesterday as it became clear that the season is over for the Bills.
As you begin to start your day, and you tune in to your favorite sports radio station, read an article about the Bills, or talk to your co-workers about the game and seasons, just take a moment to reflect on this season.
First off, we started the season with the passing of our Hall of Fame owner, Mr. Ralph Wilson. We inducted Andre Reed in to the Hall of Fame. Our Hall of Fame quarterback, Jim Kelly. was in a battle for his life, eventually beating cancer.
As we began the season, we had no owner, and no assurances that the team would stay in Western New York. In the midst of finding a new owner, things took an unexpected turn on the field. Our future quarterback was unceremoniously benched after just four starts, and a guy who was on the team for all of just four weeks was thrust in to the starting lineup.
Kyle Orton steadied the ship as things were starting to become clearer off the field. Kim and Terry Pegula purchased the team, and our fears of losing the Bills to Toronto, or any other big city, were gone.
As the Bills finished the first half of the season with a 5-3 record, things became crazy after the bye week. Two losses and a massive snow storm later, things were beginning to look bleak for the team and the city. On top of all of this, fans got word that fan-favorite Daryl Talley was experiencing medical problems due to his playing career.
In spite of a season filled with uncertainty, the Bills still managed to have one of its best seasons in years. The team fought hard and persevered late into the season.
But as the walls in the fieldhouse and in the locker rooms read, "Let's not confuse effort with results."
If you thought for one second that today's Morning Joe was going to take the stance of "hey guys, look what we overcame," I'm sorry, but you're sadly mistaken. There are no moral victories here. Those words are ringing in my ears, and they should be ringing in yours, too. Here is your promised perspective and peace.
I need for you take five minutes and have a conversation with yourself. It is now time for you to be reasonable and set your expectations. Did you really expect that this coach and quarterback combination was going to be good enough to head up a playoff team? You may have thought the defense was good enough, and perhaps the offense can do just enough to get them in, but you really couldn't believe a team who struggles to score touchdowns can actually be a legitimate playoff team, could you?
It was amazing to me, how the talk has always been about making the playoffs, but never about what they would have done if they actually got in, and what the ramifications of them getting in would have been.
This team, as it is currently constructed, is massively flawed - particularly on the offensive side of the ball. What we had with this team all season long was fool's gold. The team had the look of a playoff team on the outside with its dominating defense and timely plays, but on the inside they were a team that lacked capability at the quarterback position and an offensive philosophy that didn't complement its talent.
Folks, this has always been the case. We just confused effort with results.
The Raiders game yesterday was a blessing in disguise. If this team would have won that game and beat the New England Patriots next week and miraculously made the playoffs, the change that we all desire would not have come to fruition. I have no faith that the team would've adequately addressed the quarterback situation, and would have continued to trot out this sorry excuse of an offense next season. All while selling its fans and season ticket holders on the notion of continuity and staying the course. People innately don't fix something that doesn't seem broken; thus, the status quo. Trust me, fans: the Raiders did this team a favor by handing them this loss.
In summary, as you listen to management address the media in the coming weeks, and you hear buzzwords or phrases like culture, continuity, progress, and staying the course, just keep in mind that you're being sold an idea. They're trying to confuse effort with results. These things aren't tangible, and can't be measured. However, what can be measured is the 14-17 record that this team has had since this regime has taken over, or the bottom-dwelling offenses they have fielded over the last two seasons.
The root word of continuity is continue, and if management wants continuity, then we can't expect any changes.
If you're upset, don't be. Rest easy. Put all of this in its proper context. A 10-win season and a playoff berth might have meant an extension for Orton, another year of this crappy offense, and unattainable expectations for next season, causing us further heartache down the road. We just need to thank our lucky stars that this team was exposed. Maybe now, management can see what we all saw, and make the necessary changes going forward, and not feel obligated to "stay the course."