Extra Credit: Keeping a balanced perspective is a challenge for Buffalo sports fans

Photo from buffalobills.com.

Let me begin with a massive understatement: being a fan of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres isn’t for the faint of heart. That horrible feeling we all know only too well returned after yesterday’s bomb dropped that the Sabres fired both Dan Bylsma and Tim Murray.

One Buffalo. While it’s a nice concept, one can’t help but wonder how much more a fan base can withstand from two teams seemingly incapable of pulling themselves out of the basement. Seems like Steve Tasker’s recent comment that Buffalo sports fans are made up of 90% scar tissue at this point couldn’t be more accurate.

I get it, and share the same frustration as anyone else who loves the Buffalo sports community. However, I definitely diverge from the group of folks criticizing the Pegulas for their merry-go-round of coaching (and GM & President) hires to this point.

No doubt mistakes were made along the way, but owning a professional sports team has a steep learning curve that goes with it, let alone two sports teams. While I acknowledge that some criticism of current ownership is probably fair, it seems premature to be overly critical at this point from my perspective.

Photo from buffalonews.com.

It’s understandable Buffalo sports fans are at a breaking point, and I get that some folks are ready to tar and feather ownership for bungling yet another coaching/GM hire. But as painful as it is, keeping a balanced perspective while the owners work their way through their own personal school of hard knocks seems like the less frustrating path to walk at this point.

The path to success is rarely a straight line, and in our case we’ve been chasing our tails for what seems like an eternity. Furthermore, although I understand the exasperation, it seems like the old phrase “don’t look a gift horse in mouth” comes to mind here.

Let’s remember for a moment what it was like when previous owners refused to spend the money necessary to hire top flight coaches and re-sign players. It’s pretty clear by now the Pegulas will spare no expense to bring winning teams back to Buffalo.

It wasn’t that long ago when the Sabres were on the brink of bankruptcy and the Bills were “cash-to-cap” constrained and in cold storage for the last five or so years before ownership changed hands. Some of you are too young to remember Chuck Knox and his famous reply to Mr. Wilson after looking at a contract offer and stating to the owner, “you just embarrassed us both”.

Photo of Chuck Knox from seahawks.com.

Seems the pendulum has swung from owners more interested in the bottom line than winning… to owners who don’t bat an eyelash at eating huge amounts of dead money in contracts. Which type of owner would you rather have?

Bashing the Pegulas for ineptitude not only seems distasteful and lacks gratitude, it actually gaslights the cycle of despair. Many of you who’ve read my drivel over the years know that it’s not my nature to dwell in the land of negativity. If an owner is unwilling to spend the money necessary to bring a championship to Buffalo, that’s a reason for despair.

On the other hand, if the learning curve requires owners go through the school of hard knocks in order to learn the nuances of the job, so be it. I would rather have the Pegulas owning my favorite sports teams than a guy like Daniel Snyder who likely will never be able to get out of his own way and seems to be the biggest impediment for Washington to ever get over the hump.

The views and opinions expressed on this website blog are soley those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Buffalo FAMbase, Inc., and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Robyn Mundy

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is a retired oncology nurse and psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. She lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the shadow of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.

11 thoughts on “Extra Credit: Keeping a balanced perspective is a challenge for Buffalo sports fans

  1. It’s funny because as I was reading, I was thinking “I hope the Pegulas don’t turn out to be like Dan Snyder…” and then I got to your last paragraph. They haven’t reached Snyder level yet, but they better right this ship soon and at least have one of their teams be good, because if they both continue to stink…well, that kind of tells you something.

  2. Thanks for another article Robyn! I’m glad you brought up this topic. All of the Sabres previous owners were penny pinchers. With having the worlds best goalie [Hasek], the Sabres should have won multiple Stanley Cups, but ownership was cheap and the Sabres blew their chance with Hasek. The Sabres were very close between 05-07, but instead of getting more players to finish the job and retain their core players, then Sabres owner, Tom Golisano, another Scrooge, would not spend extra to finish the job and ultimately dismantled a Stanley Cup caliber team which the team has yet to rebound from.

    With Ralph Wilson, he was cheap at times, was a meddling owner and had trust issues, especially the last 15 years of his life. Ralph trusted Tom Donahoe to run the team and he was hands off for five years until he fired Donahoe and replaced him with a close friend, Marv Levy. While Bills fans love Marv as the coach of the Super Bowl era Bills, he was a terrible GM. After two years, Levy left and another trusted Ralph confidant, Russ Brandon eventually took the reins. Both Levy and Brandon set the Bills back many years with their choices of coaches and especially their draft picks.

    When the Pegula’s bought the Sabres and Bills, they were a huge breath of fresh air. Before the Pegula’s, fans would always dream of being able to land big free agents (players, coaches, etc…) but knew it would never happen. Fans always felt if we had an owner(s) that spent money, it would make all the difference. Once the Pegula’s bought both teams and started throwing money around, it was music to Buffalo sports fans ears. But we’ve seen that just because they’ve spent money, it doesn’t automatically translate into results.

    With the Bills, it seems the Pegula’s are too hands on and it appears they are meddling owners with that team. Up until yesterday, it seems they’ve been too hands off with the Sabres and even Terry Pegula admitted that when he wasn’t involved with the hirings of Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma.

    With the Sabres, at least there was a vision/plan, tank for a few years, get high draft picks to get elite players and rebuild. With the Bills, it seems the only plan has just been to get to the playoffs, but with no actual vision/plan to get there. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you have to have a vision/plan on what you’re business should be about and how to be successful. The Pegula’s are smart people and I’m sure they had a vision/plan about their gas/oil business. They listened to Russ Brandon in their first coaching search and he told the Pegula’s to go into the interviews with no expectations and they’ll know when they’ve got the right person. That was and is a terrible strategy as it showed they had no vision and plan on what they were trying to do. You can’t run a business blindly and that’s what happened when they hired Rex Ryan. IMO, the Bills should have done a SWOT analysis on themselves and their direct competition (the AFC East). For those that are unfamiliar with the term, SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Technologies. Businesses use SWOT analysis usually on a yearly basis. The Bills top competition is the Patriots and they should use a SWOT analysis on the Patriots and themselves to build their organization/team into a team that cannot only compete with the Patriots, but beat them. It has to be done from top to bottom.

    I appreciate the Pegula’s buying both teams, saving the Bills from future relocation and putting a lot of money into both teams and the city of Buffalo, I’d just wish they would run their sports teams more wisely as they’ve done with their oil/gas ventures.

  3. I will say this again, yes I’m older than dirt and I remember all the Bills teams since 1960 and remember all the Sabres teams since they joined the NHL.

    Steve, they almost had a shot at the up with Perrault, Martin, Robert, Luce, Korab, etc. Parent, Clarke and company took care of that

    The Pegulas will learn, I have a lot of faith in them. Like Robyn said their not afraid to spend money. Better days are coming

    I have one Bills tee shirt that says “Just one before I die” I sure hope I’m right.

  4. Good morning…

    We should all be thankful the Pegula’s hearts are in Buffalo because surely there was a chance the city would have lost the Sabres and the Bills might have been one of the teams in LA or Vegas..

    They just happen to purchase both teams that were/are in neutral and just can’t get over the hump.. I thought the Sabres were set for another year but I also felt Rex needed another year…

    We are into the HC McDermott era and so far with the little time that he has been on board I like what he is doing… I love the fact that he contacted the group from the 90’s Kelly, Bruce, Thurman, Andre, Tasker, Biscuit and Talley and took them all out to dinner. Those players bleed Buffalo Blue and will help revitalize the franchise…

    Whaley’s days are numbered and it would be shocking if he lasts long after the draft… No sense cutting him loose before the draft as he has too much insight on what the Bills draft rating board looks like…

    It is just so tough to have any patience right now with both teams, we all know the Bills haven’t made it to the playoffs since ’99” , Sabres went to the finals that year… The Sabres haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010 so it is a struggle to be positive…

    As fans we drudge along each off season trying to see the Brightside of every move both teams make and each year that they don’t make the playoffs the struggle to stay positive widens.

    • Whaley is not a dummy and he continues to be snubbed and gut punched like an inflatable clown.
      His heart will not be in the draft and his input could be destructive. Get him the hail out of there- now!

  5. Good morning…

    Keep Whaley until after the draft as he knows too much… HC McDermott will have his thumb on this draft so it should be interesting…

    So far the consensus is the Bills taking a WR (which one is debatable) but some mocks have them taking Trubisky and a mock having them take LB Foster (he just got in trouble for a diluted drug test at the combine and he was sent home from the combine because of his behavior)…

    I’m sticking with the Bills taking WR Mike Williams…

    I do have the mock draft going and if you want to submit your picks contact me at gusajj222@gamil.com. I’ll send you the board and scoring rules…

    • You talking to me? LOL… if so… yes, I’m still here and loving these discussions!

      • Ha! Cowgirl is actually another poster from the far lands whence we came. She’s a Cowboys fan first, but we don’t hold it against her…too much.

    • I sent Cowgirl a message on FB and gave her the link to here. Hopefully we’ll see her on here soon.