I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive my father.
No, not for the manner in which he raised me. He was excellent in that regard, to the point where I could thank him every minute of every day for the rest of his life, and it wouldn’t do the man justice. No, where my father went wrong — horrifically, unforgivably wrong — was raising me as a Buffalo Bills fan.
And I guess it’s not entirely his fault. My father was born in Buffalo and spent over half his life making a living there. I was also born in Buffalo. Loving the Bills is just par for the course.
But in the past 15 years, par for the course has turned into one triple-bogey after another.
The latest such triple-bogey is the Bills’ hiring of Chan Gailey as their new head coach. This, more than Wade Philips, Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey and Dick Jauron is a hiring that defies logic. In all former cases, the Bills hiring was due to exemplary performance by an offensive or defensive coordinator (Philips, Williams, Mularkey) or recent success by a head coach (Jauron in his 13-3 season with Chicago).
Gailey, on the other hand, has left a trail of ineptitude at almost every stop in the past 12 years. His lone saving grace was helping Miami’s offense push the team to consecutive 11-5 records in the early 2000’s. A look at his other positions paints a much bleaker picture.
In his two seasons as a head coach in Dallas, Gailey guided the team to the playoffs. In his two seasons as a head coach in Dallas, his Cowboys suffered lopsided losses, and after the second of those — a 27-10 beating at the hands of the Vikings — he was unceremoniously dismissed. His next coaching stop was the NCAA, where his Georgia Tech squads were a picture of mediocrity. Never did Gailey achieve better than a 9-5 record, and his 2-4 record in bowl games doesn’t speak well of his ability to coach players up for the seasons’s most important contests. Combine that with his NFL playoff record, and Gailey is a miserable 2-6.
Buffalo is hedging its bets on 2-6.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Gailey’s last job was as offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. In his two-year tenure, Kansas City achieved — and I mean “achieved” as derisively as possible — 2-14 and 4-12 records. Those tie for the two worst records in the history of the Chiefs franchise. And in case you were wondering what the Chiefs ranked offensively in those two years, hold on to your butts. Twenty-fourth in 2008, twenty-fifth in 2009.
Sure sounds like a great hire for a team that has finished in the bottom seven in total offense each of the past six seasons.
And that’s what this hire comes down to; a team that ignores its needs. A team that is content to put out a middling, uninspired product every year.
Fans all across New York are terrified at the prospect of this Bills team moving to Toronto or Los Angeles, and another three (or however many) years of non-winning football will not do anything to quell that fear. Small markets are becoming increasingly unviable as a financial entity, and with Ralph Wilson getting older every year, the pieces are unfortunately in place for the Bills to be the next team stripped from its fan base and sold to a city that won’t give a damn about it.
Winning football changes that. There’s a reason the Green Bay Packers are never talked about as a team that could move cross-country. There’s a reason the New Orleans Saints are never talked about as a team that would be uprooted and shipped to the City of Angels. That reason, in both cases, is winning football.
Without it — as the Bills surely will be until they get a quarterback and a proven coach — the reasons for the team to stay in Buffalo get lesser by the year.
I’m not sure that Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Ron Rivera, Leslie Frazier or any of the other potential candidates could have turned this Bills team around. The fact is, Bills fans aren’t getting the chance to find out, and that’s what hurts the most. Again, Bills fans are given a coach that doesn’t fit the team and a coach without a winning pedigree and without a past full of successes to lean on.
Thanks for nothing, dad. Thanks for nothing.
– Jordan Rogowski