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Bills Thunder

After a decade of futility, Bills promise more of the same  

The decade without even one appearance in the playoffs ended with the appointment of a new Bills GM. The shocking news wasn’t that the Bills hired a new GM, but whom they picked. Once again, 91-year old owner Ralph Wilson tabbed someone from within the organization and it was once again a friendly face that he was comfortable with.

As shocking as it was that Wilson promoted lifetime scout Buddy Nix as the new Bills GM, it shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is the same prehistoric owner that made Marv Levy his GM when Levy was 80. Nix is 10 years younger than when Levy was hired, but that is still getting someone at the end of his career. 

Wilson also presided the ousting of offensive coordinator Turk Schonert just 10 days before the start of the regular season and promoting long-time quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt as the new OC. It is clear that it is more important to Wilson that he be "comfortable" with the people he brings into important positions than expertise. The promotions of Nix as the next GM reeks with the good ol’ "Buddy" club.

The Bills have not been in the playoffs for a decade. It was a decade of bad hires, even worse college draft selections and horrible football on the field. Yet the fans still flocked to the gates and sold out most of the games this past decade. Even Sunday’s meaningless season finale against the Colts is sold out. Supporting mediocrity brings more of the same, and the next decade is will bring more mediocrity for the long-suffering Bills fans.

Wilson needs comfort zone

After being burned by Tom Donahoe, Wilson made a vow never to relinquish complete control of the team again. To do that, he had to put in place of power men who he was most comfortable with, in other words, "Yes men." He got that in Russ Brandon, who was promoted from his glorified Bills accountant job to become their acting general manager. That was after then 82-year old Levy stepped down from being the GM. The Levy experiment was an utter failure. Since Wilson was really comfortable with Marv in his tenure as Bills coach, it was a no-brainer for Wilson to make Levy the GM.

Since the Bills have gotten even worse under Brandon and head coach Dick Jauron, whom Wilson also was comfortable with, the aging Bills owner had to make some moves to keep the Bills fans thinking that the team was pro-active in trying to improve the product on the field. However, what demanded an intensive search to find a competent GM to finally get the Bills out of the woods and finally into the playoffs picture again, Wilson wanted another "yes man." He got that in Nix.

In attempting to make it look as if he actually did some honest research for finding a competent GM, Wilson said at the press conference, "Russ and I scanned a list of possible candidates. We didn't know them. I didn't know them. I don't think Russ did. We narrowed it down to two candidates for the job of general manager of football, two in-house candidates."

So in other words, Wilson did not even consider going outside his comfort zone. The other candidate Wilson actually interviewed was John Guy, the Bills pro personnel director who has blotched draft after draft since he came here with Donahoe in 2001. Ask most Bills fans about who should be let go in order to improve the team, and now that Jauron is gone, Guy and vice president Tom Modrak are the ones most often mentioned. Guy and Modrak have overseen probably the worst drafts any NFL teams have made this past decade. It has been a complete failure and to even consider hiring one of them as a GM would prompt Bills fans to burn their membership cards and flock to the UB Bulls.

Bungling Bills to stay the course

It was a clear slap in the face to die-hard Bills fans who have helped line Wilson’s pockets with gold the past 50 years. The Bills "Happy New Year" present promised more of the same and the Bills fans will swallow hard and flock to the buy up all the season tickets again next year.

Rephrasing that "support mediocrity" slogan, it should read... "You support crap and you get more crap." Happy 2010 Bills fans!

Copyright © 2009 Bills Thunder & Rick Anderson, all rights reserved.

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