Crystal Balls and Footballs with the Buffalo Bills

Photo from forbes.com.

Figuring how happy we’ll be at Christmas is one way to make June go faster.  There are lots of opportunities to be naughty in the meantime.  Warm weather is useless if there’s no football being played during it.  What are we supposed to watch: the sunset?  Play-action fakes are way more exciting than some nearby star disappearing.

Fans guess what’ll happen to endure the lull.  Thinking about football is almost as good as watching it.  Being wrong enhances the excitement.  I shouldn’t admit how often it personally happens.  But I’m only slightly more inaccurate at guessing Super Bowl teams than the Amazing Criswell.

Take comfort in the universality of failure.  Nobody’s really good at knowing what’s next.   Expertise only means more spectacular errors about tomorrow.  The money flow’s direction proves it.  Las Vegas didn’t get that gaudy because people know the future.  Still, that doesn’t stop bettors from declaring what’s about to happen.  Check out the Bellagio’s fanciness in lieu of watching the Raiders.

The surest bet this century has been the Buffalo Bills disappointing us.  There can’t be a more gut-wrenching way to make money even if it’s surer than doubling down on 11.  Predicting a continuation of the dreariest unbroken stretch in sports is the conventional wager.  The only reason we keep watching is in search of an exception.

Photo from youtube.com.

Fans are more optimistic in despair than usual.  Another year wondering how it could’ve failed this time would be brutal.  It should be easier by now.  But looking back at the barren stretch we’ve transversed just to get here will force even the heartiest traveler to lie down.  Facing forward is the only way to avoid tripping again.

Is this different?  For real this time?  There’s no reason to get excited either way until at least training camp.  But that shouldn’t stop anyone from getting frenzied or wallowing in despair.

Let this serve as a reminder that the Bills haven’t played this year despite our certainty of how the season will unfold.  The rational person would use that as a reason to seek patience.  By contrast, the sports fan grows more confident in knowledge of what’s certain to follow.  Ignore the track record in favor of boldly announcing what the chicken entrails foretell.

Fans could still be pleased even if this eternal exile continued on schedule.  Now that’s a testament to loyalty.  It just has to at least feel like we’re going to get some dang relief.  The sense that competence is finally in place is what this coaching change is designed to achieve.  We’ve said that about half a dozen times in a row.  But the second owners hope they hired a proficient coach with their second hire.

Installing proficiency takes time when starting from nothing.  Even worse, the Bills are actually below zero.  They have to unlearn all the silly things the last regime implemented when they bothered to coach.  In their defense, putting on clown makeup takes a couple hours per day.

The only way to make change harder is to implement this particular set of alterations.  Buffalo’s West Coast offense will take some time to adjust to relocation.  A philosophy based on timing doesn’t leave wiggle room for semi-precision.  Sean McDermott’s practices better be as demanding as the playbook.

But the right mentality is worth adopting even if it means lifestyle changes.  Like Joe Pesci working with Martin Scorsese, some pairings are natural.  Ideally, there’ll be less swearing at the results than from Tommy DeVito.  The current Bills will ideally feel comfortable in suitable alignments, which would offer the best case for a surprisingly pleasant record. Get frenzied and hope for this to be the partnership that earns the Oscar’s equivalent.

Please let this scheme be conducive to mercy.  Backers are desperate to see if Tyrod Taylor feels comfortable with quick drop backs and precision throws.

Settling into a preplanned rhythm could make the incumbent quarterback feel at home as a player.  Try to forget this system was supposed to help Rob Johnson maximize his supposed abilities.  Of course, Taylor’s not the same person, so thank heavens for that.  The absence of a brain-dead surfer slacker is joyous in itself.

Photo of Bills QB Rob Johnson from CBSsports.com and Getty Images.

This club still has so much to improve, which is the most obvious thing said since noting it’s been awhile since a playoff win.  Still, at least some things have gotten better since the dubious streak’s beginning.  It only takes a minute or two to think of them.

Conventional wisdom says to anticipate a transition year, which is a nice way of bracing for the usual crumminess.  The toughest part of coping with bad teams is knowing how long it takes to get good.  The shift is bound to inspire occasional cringing.  But it beats staying with what fails.  As the Ryans audition for wrestling gigs, remember there are worse things than having to start over.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Crystal Balls and Footballs with the Buffalo Bills

  1. There are worse thing than starting over…like trying to win 6, 7, 8 games and being stuck in the same place they always are. If only they were looking to start over, have a crappy year, then grab one of those fancy QBs coming out.

  2. And right now with (2) first round picks in-hand the Bills are poised to pick a good one should the need arise.
    8 out of 12 playoff QBs were picked at no. 8 or lower.
    Alex Smith was picked no. 1 overall. Alex Smith anyone?
    The best job for a crystal ball would be to predict the future of the players on the Bills 2018 draft board.
    Nice “Amazing Criswell” reference.

  3. “And right now with (2) first round picks in-hand the Bills are poised to pick a good one should the need arise.”

    Depends on where the two picks are and who’s in front of them. If the Chiefs go 10-6, the Bills go 8-8, and they need to get up to pick 3 to get the last blue chip QB available…I don’t like their chances. Whereas had they let go of Tyrod and started Cardale or Peterman, you’d have a good idea of what you had in that guy and probably a top 3 pick of your own…and then the Chiefs pick to do with what you like.