I’ve made no secret regarding my feelings on Chan Gailey. Save for the murderous tyrants that occupy seats of power around the world, I don’t enjoy calling for someone’s dismissal. However, we reached the end game with Gailey. The Bills went 16-32 under the former Georgia Tech boss, refusing to depart from the norm that has plagued the Bills for thirteen seasons. 6-10 might as well be emblazoned on the 50 yard line at the Ralph.
Three years ago the coaching search that brought us Gailey was yet another gut shot for a fan base with low self-esteem. Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan and Mike Holmgren wanted nothing to do with Buffalo — even after being offered a shit ton of cash. Brian Billick and Marty Schottenheimer — two of the few respected names that were actually interested in the job — were ignored.
Look. The problem here is not that the higher profile names didn’t want to come here — though hiring Ken Whisenhunt would be the ultimate Bills hire. Tapes of the Dick Jauron –> Chan Gailey –> Whisenhunt trilogy will be used to teach young coaches the horrors of mismanaging a football team.
The problem is stuff like this:
“We are going to create and establish a very robust football analytics operation that we layer into our entire operation moving forward,” Brandon said. “That’s something that’s very important to me and the future of the franchise.”
That was from yesterday’s Press Conference at One Bills Drive, the one that introduced Brandon as the new President of the team. I’m glad the Bills have finally entered the 21st century. Adopting a ‘moneyball’ — shoot me now — style analytics department is the kind of thing this franchise, one that needs all the extra help they can get, should’ve done years ago. So what’s the problem then?
The guys running the same awful show that has been on display the last three years are still here. Buddy Nix, Jim Overdorf, Doug Whaley — who is generally given a pass by Bills fans for this work with the Steelers — and Brandon continue to make the important decisions. Frankly it’s ridiculous. Do you trust them not to fuck this up?
Nix’s homely southern good ol boy schtick has worn thin. When asked about the analytics department, Nix was honest – “You know, obviously, I’m old-school in more ways than one,” Nix said laughing. “It’ll be something I’ll have to get used to because I go a lot on feel and what I see.”
Just start over. Hire somebody who is comfortable using all sorts of info to make their decisions– no matter how statz oriented they may be. Brandon has been hailed as an excellent money man. The team faced numerous blackouts this year, only to be bailed out by local business owners. The Bills’ valuation went from 27th in 2008 to 28th in 2010 and 29th in 2011. In 2012 Forbes described the Bills as the most troubled franchise in the NFL.
Brandon was rewarded for these grim numbers with an even sweeter gig. I cast a envious eye at our forlorn Lake Erie neighbors in Cleveland. New ownership and the hiring of former Eagles CEO Joe Banner has immediately lent credibility to a club that desperately needed it. These developments has attracted the likes of Chip Kelly and Andy Reid. Meanwhile the Bills are courting Whisenhunt, whose brand of retreaded averageness is exactly what Brandon & Co. loves — the safe play.
Brandon’s ascension to the Presidency confirms what we’ve long knew. While coaches will be held accountable — after being given three years to preside over the most painfully irrelevant team in the league — the upper management that has presided over this demise will remain intact.