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.
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”.
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.