Brian Galliford has decided to move on from Buffalo Rumblings to spend more time with his family. It's a legit use of the phrase, I promise. Before he goes, the editorial staff wanted to pull back the curtain a little bit and share their feelings with Brian and you all. Just as writing has been our way of dealing with the Buffalo Bills' highs and lows, it's how we work through this imminent loss. Here are our unedited thoughts:
I've been writing for Buffalo Rumblings for seven years and reading for longer than that. This is obviously a difficult piece for me to write. Brian took me under his wing a long time ago. I worked as part of the team at first and slowly moved up the ladder to become his right-hand man. I wish I could say we celebrated highs together - we did celebrate some personal highs including the birth of my two kids and Brian's engagement - but the Bills never came through on the field. We did get on the field and in the locker room together at Ralph Wilson Stadium and Growney Stadium, though. I'm not going to bore you with details about the behind-the-scenes workings of Buffalo Rumblings, but this is a really sad day for me. There were days and weeks I talked to Brian more than anyone besides my wife and no matter what happens next, that time and camaraderie won't be replicated. Best wishes on your new path, friend.
I did not grow up as a football fan, but at one point I went through a phase where sports stories began to interest me regardless of the contest. I started to take interest in the Buffalo Bills in 2008, so I guess I can count myself fortunate that I missed half the playoff drought to begin with.
The Democrat and Chronicle's sports section had been blaring out hot takes under the headline "QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY," the Bills wrapped up a bland 7-9 season, and I was looking for somewhere to continue the discussion as I read about the NFL offseason. I had been supplementing my reading on the Sports Illustrated website with Don Banks, Peter King, and until his stroke Paul Zimmerman with eyes open for the rare mentions of Buffalo's team. When that wasn't enough, the SI website had team-specific webpages, which had a news aggregator section that pulled in articles from other websites about the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo Rumblings popped up frequently in that section, and so I started checking in on the site more often.
There were two things that kept bringing me back to Buffalo Rumblings. One was a writer who managed to take a team that had missed the playoffs for nine years, write about them without turning every article into a punchline or being hopelessly biased, and find plenty of interesting topics to discuss that you'd rarely see the newspaper pundits hit; college scouting reports, research on GM candidates, explanations of X's and O's.
The other was a community framework in place, with users like SERGEANT_MAJOR_THOR, krytime, poz, sireric, J2, Kurupt, WABillsFan, Ron from NM, Joe P, and norcaliangelsfan; people who had honest, straightforward conversations in the comments without drowning in the usual pit of garbage you found on other websites. The site design also clearly cared about the fans, with "Fanposts" and "Fanshots" allowing people to write their thoughts and publish them in their own spot of the site. How could I stay away? I decided to lurk more on the website, following it daily and making Brian Galliford my main source for Bills updates. At some point around 2010 I created an account and started commenting, pretty soon I was writing fanposts, and in the summer of 2014 I was hired as a member of the Rumblings staff.
Guys, Brian is a freaking cornerstone. The writing staff has seen names come and go over the years, but Brian (and Matt) can be counted on to provide content every day. Brian put in constant work to keep this site on the up-and-up. He moderates comments and bans spam accounts, he writes up features and breaking news, he pays attention to social media to look for alerts about new developments, he doles out writing assignments to the staff based on their individual skill sets, and he edits pretty much every article that goes into publishing on the site. And the guy did it while balancing his plate with a full-time job outside of the SB Nation gig.
Brian has mastered integrity in this business. That's what drew me to the site, and why I have been a writer here for the last two years. He personally reviewed every writer application from our recruitment drive a year ago and found some dynamite talents to add to the group. He has put guidelines in place about reporting rumors and "clickbait," to keep this site from appearing biased or unprofessional (at least, he keeps it as professional as far as a fan-based blog without media credentials is capable of being). He stays out of the BS and scraps that pop up from time to time in the Bills fanbase. He gave me advice that improved my writing skills. I'm still looking ahead to the future of Buffalo Rumblings. As of this writing, I don't know the name of our next editor-in-chief. I hope this person comes in with great ideas and an outstanding attitude. They'll be replacing the manager of the best Buffalo Bills fansite on the internet.
I remember first coming across Buffalo Rumblings in 2009, when SB Nation content began appearing on Yahoo and the Buffalo Rumblings page showed up on the Bills team section. The first piece I read was something about the Bills targeting a linebacker in the draft. I decided to make a comment about it and Brian responded which I thought was the coolest thing ever. "The guy who runs this thing responded to my comment? I must be important!" I didn't comment very often after that, but I stuck around and kept reading. Buffalo Rumblings was always my main source for Bills news, especially after I left the area in 2011. Imagine my excitement, then when there was a call for new writers put out in 2012. I immediately threw my name in, along with a top-notch writing sample - and received a very nice rejection letter, encouraging me to try again next time. I did that, and on my second try I made it on to the main roster. I've always fancied myself to be a good writer, but Brian helped me kick my game up to another level. I don't know if his linguistic habits are the stuff of legend, but he has a rule that caught on among the writers: nobody is allowed to use the word "get". It seems like a silly rule, but as I became accustomed to it, I found my writing improved. Honestly, I was about to write "as I started getting used to it," but rethinking it makes it sound so much better to me.
After I moved behind the scenes, I began to see exactly what goes into maintaining a blog like this. Writing an 800-plus word piece is hard enough but editing everything that goes up, writing many of his own posts, moderating the community, and promoting the work on the internet must have just been exhausting, but Brian stuck with it for eight years. Seeing the comments in his going-away post made me realize how much respect he's earned over the years, and I absolutely share that feeling. I hope he maintains a presence on the blog, because it would be a shame to lose him entirely.
When I first stumbled across Buffalo Rumblings years ago, I could not believe that there was a site out there providing content on the Buffalo Bills on a daily basis. There is not a lot of coverage of the Bills where I live in Albany, and Buffalo Rumblings was like a dream come true. As I became a regular visitor and commenter, I quickly found out that Brian Galliford was the driving force behind the team making Buffalo Rumblings a success. I was fortunate enough to join the staff as a contributor over a year ago, and truly see the amount of time and effort that Brian put into making the site a success. Buffalo Rumblings is the best Buffalo Bills site on the internet, and that is because of Brian Galliford. He will truly be missed, and I want to thank him for all of his efforts as he rides off into the sunset. Thank you, Brian.
What can I say that hasn't already been said about the great BG? I call him great, because that's exactly what he is. The amount of respect that I have for him as a writer, editor, and more importantly as a person is unmatched. Like many of you, I stumbled on to this site years ago, when Buffalo Rumblings was still a baby. Not being a native of the area, I had to get my information and in-depth analysis from several sources. Back then, my only exposure to Bills football was at the team site. The only place I could talk Bills football was in their chat rooms. I yearned for more. I wanted less bias and more honest opinions. I wanted knowledgeable and responsible conversations with authentic Bills fans. I wanted better.
In 2010, I came across this peculiar looking website with a funny looking logo, and decided to give it a shot. Little did I know, that it would be the beginning of a newly-found passion and the welcoming in to a new family. Back then, Buffalo Rumblings had this young hotshot writer, who wrote articles that gave you another perspective. He was honest in his player and team assessments, but also savvy enough to be respectful. He never got too hot or too cold, kept his composure when things got rough with the team, and when things got testy in the comments section. As a writer he had the skills, but more importantly he had the right temperament. In 2013, I became a contributing writer on this site. After years of posting my Morning Joe articles in the FanPost section; BG asked me to join the team and it was one of the best decisions in my life. I already knew what kind of writer BG was, but I had no idea what type editor, mentor, and person he was. On many occasions, I searched for the right words to express the amount of discipline, dedication, time, patience and energy it takes to do his job and to do it well. When you run a blog like this one, there are no days off. You have to write even when you don't feel like it. You have to edit articles, promote and manage the site, and sacrifice time for yourself and for your family. He did all of this, not for the money, fame, or notoriety; he did it for the love of the team and this site.
Earlier I mentioned the impact that he has had on me. I'm going to tell you a story that Brian doesn't even know. When I joined the staff, I had no formal writing experience. The only writing that I have ever really done was in the FanPost section. I compared myself to that 7th round receiver that has some talent, but needed time to develop and work on his game. On numerous occasions, so many that I can't even count, BG saved me from blogging purgatory. I wrote so many bad articles that never saw the light of day. I wrote so many articles that would've made me public enemy number one in the eyes of Bills fans. He was patient and gracious enough to take time to review my work, make suggestions, and give me advice. Because of him, I've become a better writer and discovered a passion that I never knew existed. Because of him I became a better person. The skills he taught me as a writer are the skills I use to write grants for my non-profit. BG I can't thank you enough for all that you've done. I know this isn't a goodbye forever, as I'm sure I'll be hearing from you down the road. I wish you and your family the best of luck in all your future endeavors.