Consistency Overrated for Underperforming Buffalo Franchises

Photo from buffalobills.com.

Compared to the Bills, the Sabres aren’t so bad.  How’s that for One Buffalo?  Note it’s not “Buffalo Won”.  Disappointment should have created more numbness by now.  The Skating Bills are just getting warmed up.

The football wing is unimpressed with such a relatively meager playoff-less streak.  Six straight playoff misses makes them amateurs.  The Sabres won a playoff round in the cellphone era.  The tradition of ‘watching’ the season finale without really watching it is integral to our fan experience.  It’d be nice to not get as much reading done while our teams play.

A coach with bold promises is clearly not going to make them come true after completing only 40 percent of a five year deal.  Dan Bylsma is a less rambunctious Rex Ryan.  He’s so dull that they forgot to fire him.

Photo from buffalohockeybeat.com.

Ryan must be mad that lackluster play and a lack of progress wouldn’t have cost him his job if he coached hockey.  There’s no reason to keep a worker who bosses can see isn’t creating progress.  But will they admit they failed to hire someone successful again?  Canning another dud would take a toll on both wallet and pride.  The only thing more costly is sticking with what doesn’t work.

Paying the last guy millions to not coach must mean he did really well.  Sickly franchises seek a miracle cures when conventional remedies don’t cure ailments.  Sean McDermott will change the prognosis.  Right?  This time will be different.  Please.

The offseason is when playoff outcasts make the equivalent of halftime adjustments.  The Pegulas are learning as they go along.  That’s one way to get better at sports.  But it means quite a few losses during the apprenticeship.

Woe hasn’t dissipated.  We can’t boast that at least one team is succeeding or that either of them had that one recent swell season that broke up the monotony.  Modest aspirations regularly lead to worst-case scenarios.  It reads like a storybook for bad kids.  Fans are not living happily ever after.

Nobody needs a reminder that our unfortunately beloved squads have combined for zero championships in the Super Bowl era.  But it can’t be overemphasized what a cruel little jerk fate can be.  Even the most annoying optimists have surrendered.  I titled this very document “droughts 2017” to distinguish from other columns on the topic.  This might not be the last time I feel compelled to address both teams acting as vagabonds. The subject could go away, but only if they start winning.

Thinking of the best way to describe the worst mutual exile is one fun way to endure.  The Sabres have won five playoff series this century.  That doesn’t seem like many.  And it’s not.  To be fair, that’s five more than the Bills in the same time-frame.

At least many hockey fans can remember when Sabretooth’s club was successful.  By contrast, Billy Buffalo’s side falls short in Olympian terms.  The NHL wasn’t at the Olympic Games the last time the Bills won a playoff game.  Short of Alex Ovechkin causing the league to blink, it looks like the absence will be reinstated by the next victory.

Photo from zimbio.com.

Super Bowl LII is February 4, 2018 while the XXIII Winter Games start on the 9th, so potential Sabres Olympians wouldn’t miss their football counterparts in the championship either way.  We’re free to enjoy preposterous scenarios.

Fans shouldn’t spend the season’s final month calculating draft position.  The transition from football to hockey apathy once again went seamlessly.  The longest NFL playoff absence combines with the second-longest NHL one to ensure metropolitan constancy.

Looking forward to free time created by disappointing seasons is a doubly good sign of organizational competence.  I think of how many weekend nights this season where I justified staying home by noting I could watch hockey as an excuse.  Now, I feel compelled to be social despite my misanthropic urges.  Thanks, Pegulas.

Sports are supposed to be enjoyable in case anyone forgot.  By contrast, Buffalo fans don’t trust the processes of either general manager.  That’s not the kind of unity we wanted under a single owner’s umbrella.  There’s an awful lot of unsettled soot despite what the guys wearing firemen’s helmets claim about extinguishing.

It’s possible to not only make the knockout stage but to remain standing.  Fans are not even thinking about championships after having their hopes systematically crushed.  We merely wish for one of these clubs to finish a bit over .500 and maybe squeaking into the postseason tournament.  Youngsters grow up with visions of winning a few intramural flag football games along the way.  No dream is too big.  Which one was the last to disappoint?  Seems like it’s whoever just finished.

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Anthony Bialy

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy lives in New York City and acts like he's still in Buffalo. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He knows every bodega in Manhattan which sells Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

7 thoughts on “Consistency Overrated for Underperforming Buffalo Franchises

  1. Hopefully McDermott will provide a more disciplined approach than Rexy did, which is needed for a football squad. Whaley has been mediocre in the draft process, but has snagged some very good personnel on the market. I also question the contracts they are giving players that are really constraining the team when it comes to cap space and future commitments. One can only hope.

    Goose- how many hours until the draft?!?

  2. Thanks for the article Anthony. It’s painful being a Buffalo sports fan. I always felt Ralph Wilson was a meddling owner and trusted the wrong people since he hired Tom Donahoe as President/GM. With the Pegula’s, nothing has changed in that aspect as they’ve proven to be meddling and trusting the wrong people [Rex Ryan, Russ Brandon]. As the Sabres go, I felt Tom Golisano was cheap and would not spend money to win a championship as he treated the team like a business. The Pegula’s were a breath of fresh air when they arrived as they eliminated any financial mandates on the team and seemed willing to do whatever it took to bring a Stanley Cup to Buffalo. But, they trusted the wrong person [DarcyRegier] as his team was built the wrong way: No Centers, an above average goalie, and a bunch of second/third line wingers. The Sabres tanked for several years to get high draft picks, but Tim Murray traded away a lot of those assets to try and speed up the rebuilding process…so far, it hasn’t worked. Are the Pegula’s trusting the wrong person again to be in charge of their team [Murray]? Did Murray hire the wrong coach for this team [Bylsma]? So far, that answer is yes.

  3. “He’s so dull that they forgot to fire him.”

    That was funny.

    “We merely wish for one of these clubs to finish a bit over .500 and maybe squeaking into the postseason tournament.”

    McD is doing pretty much everything right during the offseason…but the one thing that bothers me is his stupid ‘playoff caliber’ motto. To me it suggests making the playoffs is some major achievement. For the Bills, all things considered, I suppose…but I don’t like aiming your sights low. It makes it sound like they want to be the Chiefs, Bengals, or Texans instead of the Pats. If your goal is to fall short, why would anyone expect more out of you? If they’re not going to outright make the Super Bowl their goal, how about at least ‘contender’…so they’re not feeling good about sneaking in to the playoffs and getting their assets kicked?

  4. http://www.wgr550.com/articles/opinion/evaluating-gm

    Looks like Sabres GM Tim Murray plans to beef up the defense in the offseason. It also looks like there’s a serious disconnect between the players and coaches as the coaches are not talking to the players nowhere near enough. Glad to see new Bills HC Sean McDermott start off by getting to know his players first instead of talking football.

    • Hi Steve! Yes… couldn’t agree more about the disconnect. It goes along w/what you see from him behind the bench. Sigh…