Latest Hiring Continues Organizational Failure in Buffalo


Two things tend to cover up a lot of stink: winning and deoderant.

The longer the Buffalo Bills have gone without winning, the worse the smell has gotten. And now, with the hiring of Chan Gailey as the head coach, the odor has become too overwhelming. Now we’re all in need of gas masks and hazmat suits.

That smell comes directly from owner Ralph Wilson’s office. They say the fish stinks from the head and well, let’s face it, the esteemed Hall of Fame owner reeks. Wilson was once a man revered in Orchard Park. He surrounded himself with great guys like Bill Polian, John Butler and Marv Levy. Business was good.

For a span of nearly five years, the Bills were king of the mountain in the AFC. But sadly, like when a roller coaster reaches it’s apex of incline, free fall was imminent. Buffalo used to bury teams underneath the mountain, making it bigger all the time. Now, that ride is out of order. It has been for a long time.

It’s hard to have faith in the decision making of the Bills, which is why I never believed their search for a head coach would end with smashing, take-your-breath-away results. I knew better. We all did. What I’m about to say isn’t newsworthy, expect maybe to Ralph Wilson. He’s probably never had anyone say it straight to him because he doesn’t want to hear the truth: The Bills are not attractive. Nobody believes in Wilson, Russ Brandon, Buddy Nix and now we can add Chan Gailey to that illustrious list.

The jury has deliberated and the verdict is in. I’m not going to talk right or wrong, guilt or innocence because that’s neither my job nor my area of expertise. And frankly, I don’t need to. The court of public opinion has done a beautiful job painting the Bills in an unflattering light.

Why else would Brian Schottenheimer not even take the chance and interview for the job? Why have Russ Grimm and Ron Rivera dodged and ducked interview opportunities? Why would Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden turn down the Bills and elect to return to broadcasting? There are 32 precious head coaching jobs in the NFL and normally anyone would jump at the chance to be a head coach. Other than Marty Schottenheimer, who according to ESPN’s Tim Graham badly wanted the job, no one jumped.

The Bills have become a second-rate team incapable of making any signifcant noise or even a blip on the radar. They have the market cornered on irrelevant. Buffalo is buried at the bottom the AFC East and it doesn’t appear likely that pecking order is going to change anytime soon. Both the Dolphins and the Jets have reemerged into playoff contenders. The Dolphins won the division last season and the Jets are playing in the AFC Championship this weekend. Then there’s the Patriots, who currently own a 13-game winning streak over the Bills.

Essentially, the Bills are the East Coast Oakland Raiders. Their meddlesome owner is stubborn in his ways, refusing to change or go outside the norm. Wilson hates change. He wants to surround himself with ‘yes men’, guys who will won’t rock the boat. Guys who will fall in line and tell him what he wants to hear, rather than what he needs to hear.

When Marv Levy left, who vacated the empty GM post? Not a real football man with real general manager experience. That would’ve meant relinquishing those comfortable reigns to an outsider. Instead Russ Brandon, whose specialty is marketing, was promoted to the job. The same song broke again when the Bills hired Buddy Nix, an inhouse hire, to be their new genernal manager with newly promoted CEO Russ Brandon overseeing the hire. It all adds up to familiarity with Wilson. When you’re embrace that which is familiar, it pretty much shuts and locks the door that opens to what’s new.

In the end, the negatives heavily outweighted the positives during what can be loosely described as the Bills’ lately head coaching search. They have no leader, no franchise quarterback to lead them back to prominence. The offensive line is terrible. They can’t compete, let alone beat, with New England and now they’ve fallen further behind Miami and New York. Let’s not forget forfeitting one of their home games to play in Toronto. Do we even know if the Bills will be in Buffalo in five years?

The Bills have become dysfunctional and unstable, lacking direction and a willingness to change. Al Davis and the Raiders would be proud.


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3 Responses to “Latest Hiring Continues Organizational Failure in Buffalo”

  1. Rick Azar says:

    I am dismayed by the prediction of failure…before there is failure….hope should never be buried. Where have we gone as reporters and commentators?
    Those of us on the outside of decisions…can feel doubt…
    or apprehension…but to predict failure is not reporting..but
    guessing….. No one knows the future…if we did…there would be no reason to play any game. Let it all
    play out…then do all the commentating you like.

  2. Frank M says:

    Hey Rick,thanks for the post. I’ll be honest this whole thing is so confusing. Who did the Bills contact? Who didn’t they? They wanted a guy with offensive and previous head coaching experience, yet according to reports they offered Jim Harbaugh the job? Now Harbaugh is still green when it comes to head coaching, but that tells me right there Gailey was definitely not one of their top choices. Gailey has a much fuller resume than Harbaugh, yet Harbaugh was offered the job first

    All this leads to the footsteps of Ralph Wilson. With so many coordinators and big names flat out turning the job down or declining interviews, the Bills basically had to go for a guy no other team would have on their radar. And that’s where I firmly believe the Bills are failing. If all was really well in Orchard Park and this was such a precious job and a priviledge to have, I believe coaches like Gruden, Shanahan or Cowher would be here instead of Gailey. Personally, I’m not trashing Gailey in any way. I fully believe in seeing a body of work before the verdict is in, just like with GM Buddy Nix. My belief is that there are just too many negative factors within the Bills front office and ownership and their unwillingness to change and go outside their cushy comfort zone is where they are failing.

  3. CB says:

    This article, which seems to be factually correct, fails to break any new ground and is still hammering away at the same things that are being discussed non stop in the Buffalo media. Yes we all know about Ralph, Toronto, the QB situation…

    The media as well as fans clearly understand the problems the Bills have faced in the past, but what good comes from hammering away at the same points? Especially when we have a new GM and coach. What coach or what hire would stop Bills fans from complaining? What makes anyone think Bill Cowher could save this team? This article draws no conclusions from its reporting, only following through on the same trend that is Buffalo football.

    It’s 2010, try to show your support Bills fans…