Brandon Beane’s entire adult life has been spent in North Carolina. What made the Buffalo Bills the right opportunity to move out of the Tar Heel State? Fans, Kim and Terry Pegula, and his faith in himself were the three he cited in an interview this offseason.
Beane went to college at UNC-Wilmington before taking a job in Charlotte with the Carolina Panthers. He worked his way up through the communication department into the football department, ultimately taking the job as assistant general manager under Buffalo transplant David Gettleman.
The seeds for Beane’s exodus were planted back in 2013. Beane, then the Director of Football Operations for the Carolina Panthers, was in Orchard Park for a Week 2 tilt against the Bills. It was the contest where EJ Manuel led a game-winning drive to pull out a last-second victory. The response of the stadium made an impact on Beane, even then.
"It was a frustrating miserable loss at the end of the game," Beane told NewYorkUpstate.com. "As mad as I was, I appreciated the fan base and how fired up. I mean, these people were hugging. I was kind of like, 'Chill.' You haven't won a playoff game. We were good that year. 12-4. The more I got over losing, the more I appreciated how fired up they were. It was pretty cool that they were that fired up to win that game."
Early season hope is one of the most wonderful things about the Bills during the 17-year playoff drought. With records starting over, we always have hope. Those same fans now treat Beane “like royalty” according to his wife.
"There are cities that have franchise and there are football towns in this league," Beane said. "I consider, I always said the top three for football towns in no particular order, are Green Bay, Buffalo and Kansas City. So I knew, 'Hey, this is a football town.'"
At the same time, Beane knows that he will have to achieve in order to keep that affection. He has no problem betting on himself, despite it being his first bite of the apple and he wants to deliver for the fans in Buffalo.
"I just felt something," he said. "Seventeen years. These people are dying for a winner. I believe in myself ... It was an exciting challenge for me to come up here. I want nothing more than to watch this community go ape nuts that the Bills are back in the playoffs. And I have no doubt."
The owners of the Bills are having no problem handing the keys to Beane’s friend, head coach Sean McDermott, which was undoubtedly an advantage for Beane and a possible reason he elected to leave behind his home state. Kim and Terry Pegula have been enamored with McDermott since meeting with him and have given him a level of power in the organization that is unmatched. They also gave Beane peace of mind that they would do anything to create a winner.
"The Pegulas were a big selling factor," Beane said. "You have to know you're going to have the resources, the backing and if I thought the standard had to be a 9 out of 10, they were a 12 out of 10. They blew me away with their humbleness, their passion for this city. Obviously they were going through similar stuff with the Sabres. These people could have moved this team out of here. They didn't. That tells you right there if you've done your homework and research. They could have easily taken this team. They want to bring a championship to Buffalo. Football and hockey. They love the community. With that love, they provide the resources and the backing."