I could heard the collective roar of laughter on my Twitter timeline all the way to Wyoming after Bills fans were suddenly inundated with the words “culture” and “chemistry” coming from One Bills Drive this week. Those who’ve read my early rants on culture and chemistry back in the days of the (RIP) Buffalo Bills Message Board know somewhere in the mountains there is an old lady dancing to the tune McDermott is singing.
It’s about time. Sheesh. Those of us who continue to endure the ills of the Bills decade after decade are suddenly popping our heads out into the sunlight like prairie dogs in April on a sunny day.
Sean McDermott is the first Bills head coach who places what I believe is an appropriate amount of emphasis on the behavioral aspects of team development. It was music to my ears to hear him talk about mixing up the locker room in terms of putting players from different position groups together so players are forced to get to know players from other position groups. Duh!
In fact, I would bet McDermott spent a fair amount of time assigning lockers precisely set up with respect to how communication flows depending on the placement of said player at said position in the locker room. He’s not going to leave any stone unturned when it comes to maximizing productive interaction.
He gets it. Listen to the players talk about McDermott. What are they all saying? They consistently bring up how easy it is to talk with their coach. How “detail-oriented” and structured his workout sessions are. How much more organized their time is and how much more they are expected to interact with one another.
McDermott said in his initial press conference after becoming the ninth head coach for the Bills since 2000 that forming a winning culture requires a specific process and total commitment on the part of every member of the team. Since that statement, he has methodically gone about his business without fanfare, yet making his mark every step of the way.
There are new people in the front office who are completely revamping how the organization interacts with the community and the media. As fans, we haven’t seen this type of evolution in the front office for many decades. Some of you may remember my whining that the Bills were basically in ‘cold storage’ for a couple of seasons before the transfer of ownership.
As I opined with my good friend Rob Quinn from BillsWire on the podcast recently, building a winning culture requires first and foremost a stable front office and coaching staff. Hall of Fame players can’t live up to their potential if there’s a change in the coaching staff every three years.
A winning culture happens when nebulous concepts like team chemistry are respected for their importance in creating a championship football team. It’s the first time since Marv Levy that the Bills have a head coach that gets it as far as the importance of ‘the intangibles’. I can hardly wait to see what happens next :)