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Midwest1981

Where's the Disconnect- Who's Disconnected? Bridging the Divide Between Bills' Fans Expectations & Media Predictions

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I can't help but ask this question when I consider the opinions of many, if not most, Bills' fans with respect to how we'll do this year versus what the media, theoretically objective but admittedly necessarily as "plugged in" on a daily basis, thinks.  Who's going to be proven wrong here? 

 

More on media predictions in a second, but I see a Bills team that has a second-year QB who many originally advocated an entire redshirt year for and is still raw but nevertheless got better as last season progressed and the Bills surprisingly went 5-5 in games he started and finished (that excludes Houston).  I also see what almost has to represent an improved offensive line, with or without Morse, and offensive skill position units, because of both the talent we brought in and the paucity of talent we had for most of last year in these areas.  We won't be great offensively but absolutely better.  And we seem to have only gotten stronger defensively overall.  What I don't see is an incredibly daunting schedule.

 

I don't see Playoffs yet but I see us winning a couple more games than last year- say, 8-8 or maybe even 9-7- but poised to make a bigger jump next year.

 

What does the (theoretically) impartial media see?  It's nothing nearly as encouraging as this.  Belief or disbelief in Josh Allen is tethered to all of this- and I'm sure most in the media don't consider our record last year in games he started- but here's a pretty sampling:

 

- Vegas' over/under still sits at 6.5 wins, despite most bets coming in on the over.

- Buffalo's Super Bowl odds (100 to 1) are only worse than the Giants, Lions, Bengals, Dolphins, & Redskins (tied with the Cardinals & Raiders)

- No Bills' player made the NFL's top-100, the only team in the league without a representative.

- Lindy's Sports, which recently released its prediction publication and is widely popular, has us finishing less in the AFC East.  Yes, even behind Miami.

- Colin Cowherd has said in recent weeks that we're the least talented team in the NFL, albeit with "good coaching."  He also referenced us as a "garbage AFC team" when delineating the quality & depth of the NFC versus the easier path AFC stalwarts take.

- Sporting News released their 2019 NFL predictions yesterday.  The Bills?  5-11.

 

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/nfl-predictions-2019-patriots-jets-bills-dolphins-afc-east/hwa0fd8i8cc1o75f7dml9hbs

 

I just find all of this... curious.  And am more curious to see how these divergent opinions unfold.

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I see two things at play:

First, the media always bases its predictions off of last season's results. Even though there are multiple team-changing factors like player progression, addition and subtraction of personnel, and coaching changes, it's just easiest for national sports media -- who aren't really all that clued into the changes teams undergo, by the way -- to make predictions based off of a how a team performed last year. 

Second, the Bills finished 6-10 last year and have been bad for 20 years prior to that. Seeing the routine incompetence of the team and the most recent poor season makes predicting failure for Buffalo an easy proposition. We as fans may see all that's going on behind the scenes and read the camp reports and strongly believe the team will take a big jump, but the national media doesn't see/read/have emotional connection to any of those things. They just see years of basement-dwelling failure and a 6-10 2018 record and its easy pickins. Furthermore, I don't feel that the national media necessarily believes that Josh Allen will be any good. If you looked at most national media predictions, I'd be willing to bet that the majority have the Jets finishing better, despite having a first year head coach with a proven track record of losing. Why? Because the national media narrative is that Sam Darnold will be a star. Not so much for Allen.

You see a few national media guys that see what the Bills are doing and predict a bit more success: Adam Schein, Brian Baldinger, Kay Adams and Peter Schrager, etc, but most are just taking the easy/obvious way out and predicting failure for a team that has seen a lot of it in the past two decades.

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Posted (edited)

First off, for Colin Cowherd to say we are the least talented football team in the league is pure ignorance.

 

We have essentially a brand new O Line + coach. 85% new WRs and TEs, half new RBs and a second year QB that is obviously physically talented but has always struggled with his accuracy.  Those are a lot of huge question marks.  How long does it take to get the O Line to work as a unit?  Only way to tell is to see the games and pray our new O Line coach knows hat he is doing.   Also I thin we have some serious issues with our run defense emerging.

 

So yes I think it is totally understandable for the media to be wildly split on the Bills this year, from Colin Cowherd to Adam Schein saying we are his Cinderella team to Micheal Robinson saying we will win the AFCE.

Edited by RoyBatty is alive
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The Bills have sucked for almost 20 straight years.

 

Everyone (outside of some Bills fans) knows that the playoff appearance was a fluke.

 

Since 2000, the Bills have averaged 6.7 wins/season.

 

That's what the media sees.

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The Bills aren’t returning a cohesive and proven offensive line, don’t have any elite WR’s and have new players all over the place on offense. That doesn’t inspire much confidence in the national media for consistent performances. The largest factor though, as per usual is the lack of a proven QB. While the Bills defense is acknowledged as strong, the weaknesses on offense outweigh that strength. 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Gugny said:

The Bills have sucked for almost 20 straight years.

 

Everyone (outside of some Bills fans) knows that the playoff appearance was a fluke.

 

Since 2000, the Bills have averaged 6.7 wins/season.

 

That's what the media sees.

 

I think a lot of bills fans see it as a fluke, but also see it for what it is: a team that was coached above it's standard of talent. Now we have more talent. 

 

 

 

This conversation really comes down to what you think about Josh Allen. If you think he has the potential to grow, say 15-25% from his late season form, then it's hard to argue against this team being a playoff team. Most in the media, for whatever reason, dislike Allen to the point of arguing against his ability to succeed, while giving a free pass to Darnold and Rosen who also had very up and down rookie seasons.

 

I don't know why there is such a disparity in treatment, and maybe it is well deserved cause of our years of futility, but I do know that I have never been a bills fan in a world where the media at large did not write off the Bills out of hand... Again, probably deserved to some degree.  

 

Can anyone who was around during the glory days speak to how the media treated the Bills back in day? 

Edited by whatdrought
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Logic nailed it. Gugny gave the Cliff's Notes version.

 

That pretty much sums it up.

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1 minute ago, whatdrought said:

 

I think a lot of bills fan's see it as a fluke, but also see it for what it is: a team that was coached above it's standard of talent. Now we have more talent. 

 

 

 

This conversation really comes down to what you think about Josh Allen. If you think he has the potential to grow, say 15-25% from his late season form, then it's hard to argue against this team being a playoff team. Most in the media, for whatever reason, dislike Allen to the point of arguing against his ability to succeed, while giving a free pass to Darnold and Rosen who also had very up and down rookie seasons.

 

I don't know why there is such a disparity in treatment, and maybe it is well deserved cause of our years of futility, but I do know that I have never been a bills fan in a world where the media at large did not write off the Bills out of hand... Again, probably deserved to some degree.  

 

Can anyone who was around during the glory days speak to how the media treated the Bills back in day? 

 

Here's a list of the number of team wins for every team between 2000-2016 (best I could find, quickly):  https://www.baltimorebeatdown.com/2016/1/27/10830438/nfl-total-wins-of-each-team-since-2000-entering-the-super-bowl

 

Houston, Oakland, Detroit and Cleveland are the only teams with fewer wins than Buffalo.

 

Since 2016, Houston has gotten better, as has Detroit.  Cleveland is just this year's sexy pick, so we just need to get used to that (after puking a few times).

 

Bottom line is that Buffalo, as a franchise, has simply never been that good outside of the glory years (all four of 'em, during which we won zero Super Bowls).

 

Until the team is actually good and actually wins at least 10 games and actually plays themselves into the playoffs instead of waiting in the locker room for another team to help them back in .... the media really has little choice but to say they'll suck.

 

Personally, I think the Bills win 10 this year.  So I'm not busting balls.

 

I'm just telling you why I believe the media shows Buffalo no love.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Gugny said:

 

Here's a list of the number of team wins for every team between 2000-2016 (best I could find, quickly):  https://www.baltimorebeatdown.com/2016/1/27/10830438/nfl-total-wins-of-each-team-since-2000-entering-the-super-bowl

 

Houston, Oakland, Detroit and Cleveland are the only teams with fewer wins than Buffalo.

 

Since 2016, Houston has gotten better, as has Detroit.  Cleveland is just this year's sexy pick, so we just need to get used to that (after puking a few times).

 

Bottom line is that Buffalo, as a franchise, has simply never been that good outside of the glory years (all four of 'em, during which we won zero Super Bowls).

 

Until the team is actually good and actually wins at least 10 games and actually plays themselves into the playoffs instead of waiting in the locker room for another team to help them back in .... the media really has little choice but to say they'll suck.

 

Personally, I think the Bills win 10 this year.  So I'm not busting balls.

 

I'm just telling you why I believe the media shows Buffalo no love.

 

Oh I'm right there with you and don't disagree with that. The problem I see is that the bias is created because of the losing, and then everything with the team is associated with the bias. It creates for lazy journalism. The main takes are either "I'm gonna go against the grain and say the bills are going to do great, and I know this is gonna shock a lot of people" or "the bills just aren't gonna be good, and Josh Allen is a bad QB." meanwhile there is very little in the neutral of being willing to actively asses the players and the roster without bias and see what the team may or may not be capable of. 

 

I agree though. When we win, they will at least have to give us some air time. 

 

I also definitely think it's easier to dump on small market teams. 

 

 

I personally think 10 wins seem's realistic, but I wouldn't be shocked if we were anywhere from 6-12 wins. Allen is so much of a boom or bust guy that it could go either way. 

Edited by whatdrought
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Why would the national media say anything else when they've been right about the Bills for the last 20 years?

 

This group has proven nothing.  Allen is still an unknown.  The rest of the offense is a bunch of old guys, injury risks and question marks.  It might come together, but it might not.

Is there anyone who was legitimately stiffed from the top 100 list?  White and Hughes are borderline cases but no one else warrants consideration.

 

As people have been saying for years, the media starts paying attention and believing in the Bills when the Bills start winning 10+ games a year.   Or if they go out and sign a bunch of mouthy, big name free agents which thankfully they did not do.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, whatdrought said:

 

Oh I'm right there with you and don't disagree with that. The problem I see is that the bias is created because of the losing, and then everything with the team is associated with the bias. It creates for lazy journalism. The main takes are either "I'm gonna go against the grain and say the bills are going to do great, and I know this is gonna shock a lot of people" or "the bills just aren't gonna be good, and Josh Allen is a bad QB." meanwhile there is very little in the neutral of being willing to actively asses the players and the roster without bias and see what the team may or may not be capable of. 

 

I agree though. When we win, they will at least have to give us some air time. 

 

I also definitely think it's easier to dump on small market teams. 

 

 

I personally think 10 wins seem's realistic, but I wouldn't be shocked if we were anywhere from 6-12 wins. Allen is so much of a boom or bust guy that it could go either way. 

 

It is absolutely lazy journalism.  I trust people like Astro and others who actually watch the team and understand what they're doing.  As far as the press, I read what Wawrow writes and take it seriously.  Everyone else, not so much.

 

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1 minute ago, Gugny said:

 

It is absolutely lazy journalism.  I trust people like Astro and others who actually watch the team and understand what they're doing.  As far as the press, I read what Wawrow writes and take it seriously.  Everyone else, not so much.

 

 

I like Daniel Jeremiah, he get's biased about certain players sometimes, but overall he is usually pretty honest about stuff. (Bucky Brooks seems terribly biased against the Bills)

 

And surprisingly enough, the GMFB crew seems to do a good job of making honest arguments for why we might be better this year. 

 

Aside from that, there's guys like Schien who just want to throw ***** at the wall, and others who just assume the worst. 

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25 minutes ago, Midwest1981 said:

I just find all of this... curious.  And am more curious to see how these divergent opinions unfold.

I'm in a perpetual "show me" pattern with this team.  Good teams with top 5 defenses don't get blown out as much as McDermott's teams have gotten blown out.  I don't think anyone with an actual NFL quarterback is afraid of our defense at this point.  The offense needs to prove quite a bit in pretty much every area.  The new offensive line needs to show that it's better, not just different.  The WRs need to prove they are better, not just different. Allen needs to show growth. TE is a huge question mark as always.

 

Vegas has them improving by a game if you're an optimist and holding steady if you're a pessimist.  Vegas tends to not be super wrong but I also doubt that there is big money coming in on Buffalo to move that line, they just aren't a popular team in the scope of things and nobody trusts them to do anything. There are smarter bets is my point.  

 

In terms of media types, they have a canned take that they throw out there.  There are teams they pump up every year and teams they beat down every year.  It has been a safe bet and easy click bait to beat down the Bills for 20 years.  They will pump up the Jets because of Bell etc, they can pump the Dolphins because speaking well of Miami drives clicks in that front runner fan base, New England is the biggest chalk take of all time at this point and until someone takes them down they will be the choice.  When a media person automatically starts the Bills with a least 4 losses (2 to NE and splits with Jets and Fish) it's pretty easy to come up with a 6-10 finish. All you have to do is project them to go 6-6 in the other games (a milquetoast take if I've ever seen one). Voila! 6-10.  Nobody is going to project Buffalo to beat New England with Brady.  That means, for a pundit, that Buffalo need to go 10-4 against everyone else to have a shot at the playoffs.  Based on what you've seen from this team over the last 20 years what, other than hope and faith, do you have to go on to see the Bills going 10-4 against anyone?

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39 minutes ago, Logic said:

I see two things at play:

First, the media always bases its predictions off of last season's results. Even though there are multiple team-changing factors like player progression, addition and subtraction of personnel, and coaching changes, it's just easiest for national sports media -- who aren't really all that clued into the changes teams undergo, by the way -- to make predictions based off of a how a team performed last year. 

Second, the Bills finished 6-10 last year and have been bad for 20 years prior to that. Seeing the routine incompetence of the team and the most recent poor season makes predicting failure for Buffalo an easy proposition. We as fans may see all that's going on behind the scenes and read the camp reports and strongly believe the team will take a big jump, but the national media doesn't see/read/have emotional connection to any of those things. They just see years of basement-dwelling failure and a 6-10 2018 record and its easy pickins. Furthermore, I don't feel that the national media necessarily believes that Josh Allen will be any good. If you looked at most national media predictions, I'd be willing to bet that the majority have the Jets finishing better, despite having a first year head coach with a proven track record of losing. Why? Because the national media narrative is that Sam Darnold will be a star. Not so much for Allen.

You see a few national media guys that see what the Bills are doing and predict a bit more success: Adam Schein, Brian Baldinger, Kay Adams and Peter Schrager, etc, but most are just taking the easy/obvious way out and predicting failure for a team that has seen a lot of it in the past two decades.

 

Agree. In a nutshell. Fans follow the team closer and know more but are biased in their assessments. National media is more unbiased but doesn't follow the team close enough to know everything that's happening.

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Posted (edited)

I would like to think that as Bills fans, we are becoming more insulated from public opinion and the state of the Bills. I hate to say it, but the media pundits are only calling it as they see it. Why the big shock? Is this denial of recent history?The current Bills regime has the right idea to change it, but in order to shut people up, they need to start winning!

Edited by Rocket94

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We have a potentially great QB, but there’s so much work to be done.

 

all tangible accomplishments and improvements will be appreciated.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, PromoTheRobot said:

 

Agree. In a nutshell. Fans follow the team closer and know more but are biased in their assessments. National media is more unbiased but doesn't follow the team close enough to know everything that's happening.


Thanks. You said what I was thinking in a much more concise way than I did. Brevity has never been my strong suit. 😅

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Unless the "media" person has in depth knowledge of the inner workings of the team (and isn't a local or pissed they were assigned the team) you will get hot  Twitter takes because everyone wants their news fast.

 

If they just took the time to collect those somewhat useless Tweets and compiled them into an "Article" / lengthy blog we might get a better feel for what actually is gong on.  

 

next..   IMO people who follow college games may have a preconceived notion and carry said bias to the NFL.  

 

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Posted (edited)

A lot of great, substantive, and well-considered responses.  I still find a couple of the predictions I've come across to be beyond the pale, such as 5-11 or last in the AFC East (or "least talented team in the NFL").

 

We don't have a sexy team- and I realize a team devoid of obvious stars won't attract much attention or garner much praise.  But we are well coached and have a very good, potentially even top-5, back-7, replete with depth in the secondary as well.  In a passing league, that counts when it matters, even if the casual fan doesn't know who Micah Hyde is.

 

And would any of these sources or any of Josh Allen's most strident detractors even know our record in games in which he started (and/or finished)?  We were usually at our most offensively inept, impotent, and frankly turnover-prone and embarrassing when he wasn't out there (Ravens, Colts, Bears, and Patriots games come to mind).  Sure, we weren't exactly explosive no matter who was under center- and were even shut out at one point (week 3 in Green Bay).  But especially in the second half this wasn't an offense absolutely incapable of scoring (22 PPG from weeks 12-17), if Allen and his offensive counterparts are the culprits for the widespread cynicism about our 2019 outlook.

 

Failing to have an offensive juggernaut doesn't have to equate to 5 wins & last place in the AFC East, not unless it's joined by a surprising decline from a defense that should still be ascending because it's so young and talented.

Edited by Midwest1981

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Like most of us, I see the moves that the Bills have made and believe they are a much improved team over last year and that their record will show it.  But, to be honest, I really don't know what other teams have done in the offseason.  So maybe the Bills have gotten better, but perhaps some other teams have gotten better too. 

 

I do agree that some of the anti-Bills bias is lazy journalism.  The Bills biggest signing was a center and not a well-known name.  How many people really know who Mitch Morse is?  How many of us knew who he was prior to the Bills pursuit of a FA center this offseason?  We signed a lot of quality players, but really not a lot of big or "sexy" names like OBJ or LaVeon Bell.  The poorly or marginally informed "journalist" isn't going to see anything that the Bills did as cause for an upward trajectory.  They don't know much about the players we have signed and they probably have not kept close tabs on Josh Allen's progress from year 1 to year 2.  So, to them, it's more of the same.

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Vegas does not make win predictions based on who they think will win and who will lose. They make predictions based on how people will place bets. The nation does not expect much of the Bills, so their over/under reflects that.

 

And, just like fans, media, and everyone else in between, Vegas is often wrong. Go look at their preseason over/under for the Bills in 2017, or for countless other teams that surprisingly do well or surprisingly flop.

 

Last year the Bears had an over/under of 7 and finished with 12 wins. The Chiefs had an over/under of 8 and finished with 12 wins. The Packers opened 2018 with an over/under of 10, but finished the season with only 5 wins. Jags over/under was 9 and they finished with 5. Raiders over/under was 8 but finished with 4. Vegas is "wrong" just like the rest of us, but again, their aim is not to be right, their aim is to make money by predicting how people will place bets.

 

There are plenty of national media members who say lots of good things about the Bills, Josh Allen, and especially McDermott and Beane. I think the press has been very positive about the Bills, with some even claiming they have a chance to make the playoffs and even win the division.

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1 hour ago, Midwest1981 said:

I can't help but ask this question when I consider the opinions of many, if not most, Bills' fans with respect to how we'll do this year versus what the media, theoretically objective but admittedly necessarily as "plugged in" on a daily basis, thinks.  Who's going to be proven wrong here? 

 

More on media predictions in a second, but I see a Bills team that has a second-year QB who many originally advocated an entire redshirt year for and is still raw but nevertheless got better as last season progressed and the Bills surprisingly went 5-5 in games he started and finished (that excludes Houston).  I also see what almost has to represent an improved offensive line, with or without Morse, and offensive skill position units, because of both the talent we brought in and the paucity of talent we had for most of last year in these areas.  We won't be great offensively but absolutely better.  And we seem to have only gotten stronger defensively overall.  What I don't see is an incredibly daunting schedule.

 

I don't see Playoffs yet but I see us winning a couple more games than last year- say, 8-8 or maybe even 9-7- but poised to make a bigger jump next year.

 

What does the (theoretically) impartial media see?  It's nothing nearly as encouraging as this.  Belief or disbelief in Josh Allen is tethered to all of this- and I'm sure most in the media don't consider our record last year in games he started- but here's a pretty sampling:

 

- Vegas' over/under still sits at 6.5 wins, despite most bets coming in on the over.

- Buffalo's Super Bowl odds (100 to 1) are only worse than the Giants, Lions, Bengals, Dolphins, & Redskins (tied with the Cardinals & Raiders)

- No Bills' player made the NFL's top-100, the only team in the league without a representative.

- Lindy's Sports, which recently released its prediction publication and is widely popular, has us finishing less in the AFC East.  Yes, even behind Miami.

- Colin Cowherd has said in recent weeks that we're the least talented team in the NFL, albeit with "good coaching."  He also referenced us as a "garbage AFC team" when delineating the quality & depth of the NFC versus the easier path AFC stalwarts take.

- Sporting News released their 2019 NFL predictions yesterday.  The Bills?  5-11.

 

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/nfl-predictions-2019-patriots-jets-bills-dolphins-afc-east/hwa0fd8i8cc1o75f7dml9hbs

 

I just find all of this... curious.  And am more curious to see how these divergent opinions unfold.

Maybe it’s a NFL-wide conspiracy against the Bills because of the new stadium issue...it just seems too absurd to think Miami, who is literally tanking this year, is better than a 3rd year rebuilding team like the Bills...

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Media has rarely looked foolish over the last 20 years by dumping on the Bills. As such, it's easy to have a talking point on how they expect the Bills to be between 4 and 8 wins, as they have been very often right. They have two winning seasons in the last ten years, right? Until the Bills are able to make the playoffs with some regularity, it's going to be an easy narrative to spin.

 

Add on the fact that Josh Allen has also been an easy target to bash, talking heads don't really have to go that far.

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