Bills need to stop the status woe


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Before I get to my mail, just wanted to let you know that parodies about the Bills latest autumn of discontent have begun circulating.

Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEFXV8ogv3Y for a hilarious spoof song imploring quarterback Trent Edwards to stop being a wuss and throw the ball downfield. And Buffalo radio station WGR 550-AM has one on Dick Jauron.

Just two more indications that the citizens of Bills Nation are fed up with the status woe.

I’ve been covering this team since the mid-1980s and following it since the late 1960s, and I can’t recall too many periods where the fans were this frustrated. Yes, the Bills certainly have had teams worse than this one, but the franchise has never been through a longer stretch of dysfunction. The 2000s have been arguably the worst decade in Bills history, with just one winning season and=2 0no playoff appearances. (The Home Run Throwback game was part of the 1999 season.) Even the 1970s, where 10-loss seasons were the rule rather than the exception, Buffalo managed three winning records, and boasted exciting teams with O.J., Fergy and the Electric Co.

I believe Bills fans have been incredibly and patient and loyal. The cries for wholesale changes are justified. And long, long overdue.

My column the other day suggesting that Ralph Wilson should jettison Jauron and begin searching for a big-name coach like Bill Cowher obviously struck a chord and a nerve with my readers.

Some of my former colleagues in the newspaper business disagreed with my call for an immediate change, saying Ralph might as well wait till season’s end. They said it would be foolish to plug special teams coach Bobby April in there while the search begins.

With all due respect, they’re full of it. By making the move now, you are at least telling your angry fans that you are ticked off, too, and that you aren’t going to allow this culture of mediocrity and losing to continue. You are telling your paying customers that you are listening to them. I believe the fans are owed that much.

Plus, I believe time is of the essence. There is a good pool of available coaches out there with Super Bowl rings – Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Mike Holgrem, Tony Dungy come quickly to mind. But there also are a bunch of teams in the same leaky boat as the Bills . So the courting needs to begin soon. As I mentioned before, Ralph will need to be willing to relinquish considerable cash and control if he wants to stop the bleeding.

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Every so often, I like to dip into my mail bag and let the fans have their say. Here’s the response to my call for Ralph to fire Jauron and get someone like Bill Cowher:

Doug McSorley says: Hmm interesting thought Scott. Great idea. I wonder if he would choose another team that is closer to a superbowl team like Carolina for example. I agree with you though.. Something has to be done ASAP.

Steve Natarelli says: Jon Gruden is also available... Somethig has to be done... But Wilson never wants to pay top dollar for a head coach... Then everyone else's players get better and the Bills players don't... Henne had never started an NFL game... But Edwards looked like the Rob Johnson only worse... Sad... I'm convinced the players have already given up on the season.

David Lewis says: I couldn't have said it better myself. The current coach is a nice guy; but there are other nice guys who are able to inspire & motivate. Certainly, you shouldn't have to motivate professionals who get paid a lot more than we but this seems not to be the case here. Please Ralph, do it now before loyal fans (I've been one since 1959) suffer another embarrassing show. It may be only a game; but it's also a metaphor from which we can draw h ope.

Kyle Kubera says: Scott, are you OK. When has Ralph ever opened his pocketbook for a coach. Not even for Marv, who he took off the scrap heap.He won't even pay for players this year, which is why the Bills haven't signed an offensive lineman or linebacker who can help with all of the injuries.Sunday's game was the perfect window into both the Dolphins' and the Bills' organizations.Both teams need to win desperately, a division game. One team, the Dolphins, takes on the image of its coach (see team president Bill Parcells) and kicks the crap out of the other team. The Bills, on the other hand, take on the charateristics or their owner and the rest of the organization: a little senile, no direction, no fire, no passion and they get killed. And as long as people keep buying tickets and merchandise it will be that way...

Carolyn Miller says: The only reasons the Bills spent any money in the late 1980s and 1990s is because Polian ran the show and people weren't buying tickets, so Ralph had to do something to make money.You see how Polian was rewarded, a ticket out the door because he wouldn't take Ralph's crap.And Ralph he sold the bill of goods that the team will have to move and he can't afford to stay in Buffalo, so people keep buying losing football. It is a shame.But they are not going to shell out money for Cowher, Gruden, Holmgren, et al. I don't think we should leave Mike Shannahan out of this discussion - a Super Bowl winning coach....isn't he also available?!?

Kerry Gleason says: I agree wholeheartedly that Jauron and his sunglasses should be packed off on the first bus outta Buffalo, and bring in somebody with some fire. Not sure Cowher would want the job, but he'd be a viable, albeit expensive, solution. Personally, I'm a Jim Haslett fan, and if Mr. Wilson could lure him away from Orlando in the UFL, I think you'd see a much better Bills' team that might win a few games.

Michael Moran says: Never happen

John Spaulding says: Honestly Scott, after having one eye on the Sabres and Bills this weekend, I have to say that I just don't care anymore. Its not the losing that hurts so bad, its the lack of effort.

Chris Sciarra says: Cowher is waiting for the Carolina job to open up.

Michael Cunningham says: Sadly, I just think they'll be going to Toronto, anyway. The NFL would love that.

Dave Smith says: Nice article Scott!!

Jeff Chafitz says: Looked up "pitiful" in the Dictionary Monday morning... saw a Bills Logo.

David Cortese says: I agree Scott, but I don't think it will happen. Wilson is willing to spend his money on the field (except for offensive linemen, in spite of a weakness there for years), but not in the front office. Mediocre head coaches will continue to produce mediocre results, I'm afraid.

Anon ymous says: I agree! Almost any change would be a good one...they need to have lots more fire and passion!! When you cannot get the ball to your recievers and you don't have the game plan ...well the results are in plain sight!! The fish now eat buffalo!!!

Anonymous says: Great article Scott, sending this one along! Thanks!

Andrew says: I would love to see Bil Cowher on the Buffalo sidelines...he's got that personality you speak of that the Bills need. I think Cowher has been waiting out that Carolina job so not sure Buffalo has a shot. Regardless, they need to find out. If they can't get Cowher - go hard after Gruden. And please oh please, throw the ball down the field. PLEASE

Anonymous says: While very exciting to speculate, Ralph felt burned after unsuccessfully turning over the keys to Donahoe. Do you really see him doing it again?His calculated risks now probably involve tapioca instead of jello.

Anonymous says: It's always a mystery to me why the salary of the head coach is an issue, assuming he's not looking for Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning money. Top coaches salaries are rarely above $5,000,000/year. The Bills don't seem to have any trouble pissing it away on a has-been receiver like T.O., or never-was players like Losman, Rob Johnson, Mike Williams, etc. My contention has always been that if a $5,000,000 a year coach can get top-level production out of their second tier players, making higher paid prima-donnas expendable, he's more than earned his keep. Terrell Owens is making twice that of Mike Smith, Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, and several other current successful NFL coaches. Hey Ralph -Replace T.O. next year and you'll have covered your head coach wages for 2 or 3 years and probably get more W's.

Anonymous says: Scott, Ever heard of the Rooney Rule? The Bills cannot begin negotiating with Bill Cowher until after they have interviewed a minority candidate or 2. That means after the season for all intents & purposes. The NFL would slap the Bills pretty hard-loss of draft choices, fines or just voiding the contract, if they followed your recommendation. If the Bills want Cowher, or any other big name coach who isn't Tony Dungy, the best they can do is fire Jauron now, install a head coach for the rest of the season, and after the season ends, interview some minority candidates & Mr. Big Name and then choose the best candidate. Until those other interviews are done, negotiations with Cowher or anyone else can't begin.In the past the NFL voided a clause in Jim Haslett's contract last year saying he'd keep the Rams job with a certain number of wins & slapped the Lions for hiring Mariucci without considering minority candidates.

Chris DeMarco says: It's a shame it probably won't, and also a shame the Jouaron wasted what could have been a talented qb like Edwards with his playing not to lose instead of win mentality.

Previous articles from Scott Pitoniak


A nationally recognized sports columnist and best-selling author, Scott Pitoniak is pursuing new challenges after 35 years in the newspaper business. He hopes one day to write the great American novel and hit a baseball over the wall at Yankee Stadium. In the meantime, he runs his own website – ScottPitoniak.com – and blogs about sports and life’s other adventures.


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