Goodbye, Brian

It was a running gag that summed up the plight of Bills fans and Western New York in general. A captain, our longest serving player and the most popular player in Buffalo was a punter. Yeesh.

Brian Moorman was what the rest of Bills were not – consistent. Kicking in high winds, white outs and generally shit conditions, Moorman managed to be an all-pro selection twice. The fact that there was a thing called the Moorman army managed to be both adorable and horribly sad at the same time.

When camp opened at St.John Fisher’s in August most of the media/fan attention was focused on Mario Williams and the Bills new defensive personnel. Meanwhile, Moorman was lodged in a battle to keep his job with rookie Shawn Powell . The veteran was given the benefit of the doubt after being outperformed in camp, but time was clearly running out.

He wasn’t good against the Jets in week one – Jeremy Kerley’s punt return capped an awful day for the Bills punt team. After a week off against the Chiefs, Moorman was tasked with keeping the ball away from Josh Cribbs. Apparently he wasn’t able to convince Buddy Nix & Co. he could still do the job.

And thus yesterday afternoon he was cut, to the surprise of many including his former teammates:

179 consecutive games played. A franchise record punt average, most punts inside the 20 and the longest punt in team history. A mainstay in the community – his PUNT foundation did a ton of good work in and around the city of Buffalo.

This is life in the NFL, where past accomplishments are rendered meaningless when someone better comes along. If Shawn Powell is the better player then this is a move that had to be made. Retaining players because they’re nice guys who are good in the community is exactly something the Bills would do two years ago. My only qualm with a decision like this is the fashion in which Moorman was jettisoned – if only to spare us from Fred Jackson’s hysterical twitter rant, it’s Moorman, Fred.

For a team that ranged from horribly average to flat out terrible, Moorman was the perfect front man. A good guy who didn’t suck, but ultimately wasn’t important enough to change the fortunes of a hard luck franchise. I’ll miss the occasional trick play and over the top field goal celebrations, but it’s time to move on. Thanks for the memories, Brian. The flags at Moorman army HQ – presumably a Denny’s – fly at half mast.