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Apr 08 - Apr 15, 2014

Bills Should Focus on Present, Try to Win Football Games

By Tony Farina

April 08, 2014

Buffalo Bills' fans should spend less time worrying about the next owner and more time worrying about next season.

Sure, names like Rich, Pegula, Golisano, and other familiar billionaires are making headlines these days, but it would be nice hear some football names along the way.

One football name did pop up a few days ago, a troubled (personally) wide receiver named Michael Williams who the Tampa Bay Bucs were anxious to unload for his off-the-field problems.

Williams did grow up in Buffalo and played for Bills Coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse, but arrests and injuries made him expendable to the Bucs and the Bills were right there to pick him up for a sixth round draft pick.

Now that kind of acquisition makes folks want to go back into hibernation and talk about the future when the Bills will be sold and their possible relocation now that Ralph Wilson is gone.

But what about next year, fans? There will be games to be played and more expensive tickets to be bought for the coming season, and so far the Bills have done very little that might help the team that goes out on the field to play football.

Is this the year the Bills end the 14-year playoff drought and win more than six games? We hope so, but so far it looks pretty much like last year's 6 – 10 team that fizzled like a bum firecracker.

Now some of us folks who are a little older would like to see more focus on the coming season rather than just all the bluster about who might pony up the big bucks to buy Wilson's $880 million team.

Wilson left this earth a very rich man, and yes, he did give Buffalo a professional football team but not too many winners. His brief run at the top, after the AFL championships of the mid '60s, ended in four Super the Bowl losses in early '90s. That's been about it.

Now the football team has a new brain trust but so far the same losing results. Fans should not be so focused on the future-after-Wilson, whether in Buffalo or not, but on the present fortunes of this losing franchise and whether next year will be a playoff year.

I have to say a lot of big names have moved this off-season, but none of them have come to the Bills. The team may draft a pretty good offensive tackle, if the projections are correct, but likely won't draft a big name like Johnny Manziel, even if he's available at the 9th pick.

Now I'm not giving up on E. J. Manuel, but I wasn't sold on him to begin with and he didn't do enough last year, when he was healthy, to convince me he's the next Tom Brady.

Sure, I like to hear all about who might "save" this team for Western New York, but I'd like to hear a little more about putting together a playoff-team for next season.

Let's hope marketing whiz Russ Brandon, Wilson's handpicked guy, can figure out how to make a winner, not just money. We know this franchise knows how to make a buck, as Wilson did for all those years. Fans want to know if they know how to win. The jury is still out.





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