The new sheriffs in Orchard Park sent a tsunami through the middle of the BillsMafia FAMbase on Friday, reminding everyone they mean what they say about building through the draft. If anyone still believes the “same old Bills” made huge blunders after trading Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby, I’ve got some ocean beach front property for sale in Wyoming (just down the road from the Yellowstone Super Volcano) for your consideration.
After literally gasping at my phone as news of the trades flashed across my Twitter timeline, I picked up my jaw off the floor and literally had to sit down and take a minute to digest the news, pretty much how most of BillsMafia probably felt. My gut reaction actually surprised me as I calmly thought through the implications of the trades.
That reaction in itself suggested I’ve either completely burned out my adrenal glands after too many decades as a Buffalo sports fan or I’m “trusting the process” because I’m too exhausted to do anything else at this point.
Or… perhaps there’s a fundamentally positive change at One Bills Drive and I’m picking up the vibes that for once it’s not lip service and the Bills organization really is getting its act together in the front office.
I’ll stay in my lane and leave the analytics of the trades to the masters of x’s and o’s and focus on my area of intrigue; the behavioral changes I see happening at One Bills Drive that are now major contributors to culture change. It seems like some of these changes are flying under the radar regarding just how much they impact the culture there.
Here are some items for your consideration that support my contention this new regime in the Bills front office means what it says about emphasizing culture in building a successful NFL franchise.
Leaks have been virtually eliminated from front office
Has Jason LaCanfora or any other national media reporter leaked anything substantial out of One Bills Drive since Brandon Beane was hired? Seems like about 90% of the leakage that was happening prior to Derek Boyko being hired as Vice President of Communications has stopped. The other 10% appear to have been eliminated after Beane was hired.
Whatever the reason, the Bills front office is finally running like professional organization instead of small town gossip center. It was evident by John Murphy’s shock when the news was delivered on his radio show live that he was taken by surprise. That in itself is reassuring that this front office now controls the flow of information in a much more professional manner.
We simultaneously loathe and envy the Patriots organization for their ability to completely control the flow of information from their organization. Their proven success is reason enough to emulate it and I couldn’t be more thrilled about these changes at One Bills Drive.
New regime places very high value on character traits
This is what completely sold me on the Bills new regime. Anyone who’s read my babble over the last couple of decades knows I’ve been preaching about the intangible aspects of character that contribute to a winning mindset.
Trading Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby took some serious chutzpah on their part. But what it clearly said to me is that this regime really does value players who have the kind of psychological makeup THEY deem a proper fit.
Why on earth should any fan be shocked by this? Again, look at successful teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Packers organizations… they all have a specific type of player they want in their organization and have long recognized the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Why is it a sin giving Sean McDermott so much power?
The national media (and some in the local area) seem to focus on the unprecedented power afforded to a first-time head coach in Sean McDermott. Even Rex Ryan whined he wished he had that much power as a head coach of the Bills (as if that somehow would have made the outcome of his tenure any different).
Why on earth are people obsessing about this? What proof is there that only experienced head coaches can handle that much power? Has anyone considered the possibility McDermott convinced the Pegulas to do so because his extraordinary attention to detail and leadership skills are truly special? Are we that beaten down as fans that we find it hard to believe someone extraordinary would choose to coach the Bills?
The bottom line here as fans is that we really have no control over what happens at One Bills Drive. We can choose to embrace change, reject it, or be apathetic about it, the choice is ours. I choose to embrace it because the emphasis on the intangible aspects of the game is something I’ve yearned for over the decades of disappointment as a Bills fan.
Besides, I’ve learn to adapt to the philosophy that if this Bills regime change is just one more massive failure, it will be heaped upon 17 years of massive failure. What’s one more? Remember, we’re 90% scar tissue by now and there’s no fan base in history who has learned to cope with epic failure more than ours.