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The Legend of Jim Overdorf


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If you’re a longtime Bills fan, you’ll remember the name Jim Overdorf.  His name came up quite a bit a long with Russ Brandon, Jeff Littman and of course Ralph Wilson himself for *allegedly* caring more about the bottom line and profitability than putting a winning product on the field for fans.  A very minor figure in the story of “The Drought” but one who’s name was dropped quite a bit publicly l.  

 

Overdorf was said to be the “bean counter” but an executive who had a lot of say in the types of contracts given out.  Once Russ rose to power he was promoted as SVP (Russ called him “JO.”  He gave nicknames to everyone like “Whales.”) and took over all contracts and cap situations.  To many, he was vilified for shelling out bloated contracts or making cheap signings of players and coaches.  
 

I was surprised to find that Jim Overdorf is still employed as SVP of football administration but haven’t heard anything about him in years.  It makes me wonder what his role is in Buffalo?

 

I do remember that Beane was asked about JO at his introductory press conference in Buffalo.  He didn’t commit to him either way, so I assumed he’d quietly be “reassigned” to a consultant role like longtime PR guy Scott Berchtold.   But he’s still working at OBD.

 

Does anyone know what Overdorf’s role is in the organization?  I feel that Beane is much more involved with contract negotiations and the cap than other Bills GM’s were.  
 

 

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He does the contracts, contrary to popular opinion around here he is not a decision maker.  He dots the is. crosses the Ts, little minutea that things like GMs should not waste their time on.  I recall people freaking out when once Nix said about maybe Mario Williams? contract something to the effect "I let Overdorf handle the contract" which people mis-interpeted that he negotiated the  general aspects of it.  He is akin a a lawyer/bean counter, a processor, that is it.

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I think he still takes part in contract drafting and he seems to be doing a good job.

 

He was vilified by association, in my opinion. I can't think of anything concrete that he did to draw the ire of fans.

Edited by MJS
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7 minutes ago, Limeaid said:

Overdorf’s role is an advisor.  Unlike previous GMs Beane does not need to take his advice nor need to keep him employed.

Then why is he still employed?  It seems that McDermott helped cut most of the dead weight from the previous regime but Overdorf and Russ’s brother Greggggggg Brandon are still there.  In what had to be an awkward family conversation, Gregg likely helped manage the PR crisis involving Russ’s dismissal.

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5 minutes ago, RoyBatty is alive said:

He does the contracts, contrary to popular opinion around here he is not a decision maker.  He dots the is. crosses the Ts, little minutea that things like GMs should not waste their time on.  I recall people freaking out when once Nix said about maybe Mario Williams? contract something to the effect "I let Overdorf handle the contract" which people mis-interpeted that he negotiated the  general aspects of it.  He is akin a a lawyer/bean counter, a processor, that is it.


I don’t think Buddy was embellishing.  It seems that Buddy and Doug Whaley weren’t as involved in contracts or cap management as Beane has been.  I could believe that JO had a bigger role.  Here’s a breakdown of his role from an old BR article.  It sounds like he was more involved than a bean counter.  Take it for what you will:


“Over the past 20+ years, Jim Overdorf has risen from team intern to one of the most powerful figures in the organization.

Due to his business acumen and like-minded thinking to the man in charge, today, anything financially relevant to the Bills runs through Overdorf; from his personal handling of player contract negotiations, the management of the salary cap, or the coordination of team legal operations at the Buffalo and Detroit offices.”

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https://buffalonews.com/sports/bills/analysis-mike-gillislee-dilemma-starts-with-jim-overdorfs-mismanagement-of-salary-cap/article_10f32ff9-1606-5025-a0f5-d2ace25dc194.html

 

The ire has not aged so well....he's a contract guy, CPA, and lawyer....very experienced too. 

 

BTW the more juicy obtuse behind the scenes meddler guy in Bills lore is Littman. That dude screwed us.

Edited by RichRiderBills
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2 minutes ago, JohnNord said:

Then why is he still employed?  It seems that McDermott helped cut most of the dead weight from the previous regime but Overdorf and Russ’s brother Greggggggg Brandon are still there.  In what had to be an awkward family conversation, Gregg likely helped manage the PR crisis involving Russ’s dismissal.

 

McDermott cut scouting (too much) and coaches (too much) but left the business / front office alone.

 

Gregg Brandon by all reports is a very good laywer.

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9 minutes ago, JohnNord said:

Then why is he still employed?  It seems that McDermott helped cut most of the dead weight from the previous regime but Overdorf and Russ’s brother Greggggggg Brandon are still there.  In what had to be an awkward family conversation, Gregg likely helped manage the PR crisis involving Russ’s dismissal.

He is probably employed because his bosses believe he does a good job. If not, they would probably fire him and find someone else.

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19 minutes ago, JohnNord said:


I don’t think Buddy was embellishing.  It seems that Buddy and Doug Whaley weren’t as involved in contracts or cap management as Beane has been.  I could believe that JO had a bigger role.  Here’s a breakdown of his role from an old BR article.  It sounds like he was more involved than a bean counter.  Take it for what you will:


“Over the past 20+ years, Jim Overdorf has risen from team intern to one of the most powerful figures in the organization.

Due to his business acumen and like-minded thinking to the man in charge, today, anything financially relevant to the Bills runs through Overdorf; from his personal handling of player contract negotiations, the management of the salary cap, or the coordination of team legal operations at the Buffalo and Detroit offices.”

 

I wasnt implying Buddy was embellishing, i think naive people (as i wrote) mis-interpeted when NIX said  Overdorf handled the contract, of course he did.  Nix was not a CPA or lawyer, you let those talks/duties to a guy like OVerdorf.  People were looking for villains to demonize at OBD and Overdorf was an easy target.  Your quote from BR substantiates that.  As i said, Overdorf is a "processor", he is not making personnel decisions.  I have zero idea of Beane is more or less involved than prior GMs...as far as Overdorf, there really is little point to Beane more involved with what OVerdorf does.  Beane is there to make personnel decision, Overdrof is there to papper up the transaction..

Edited by RoyBatty is alive
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I suspect that after a contract is hashed out JO fills out the paperwork, as said previously, he isn’t a decision maker, he is likely good at details so his roll is just that, crossing the “Ts” and dotting the “👁s” 

 

Wouldn’t it be somewhat ironic to find out he was one of the good guys all along...😱

 

Nah, no way... 😂

Edited by Don Otreply
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I remember Overdorf quite well and never understood why some Bills fans vilified him.  I certainly never believed 'he only cared about the bottom line.'  Those who suggest otherwise: how do you know what a man cares about in the deep recesses of his heart?  I assume Overdorf is a Bills fan who was simply doing what he was instructed & paid to do.

 

And for those who say he managed the cap badly...  maybe you're right.  But I never saw him as so powerful that he could act unilaterally.  He was part of a team of decision makers and never the ranking member of that team. 

 

I'll blame GMs for weak rosters.  I won't blame the soldiers who were carrying out the orders of their generals.  

 

 

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13 minutes ago, JohnNord said:

Then why is he still employed?  It seems that McDermott helped cut most of the dead weight from the previous regime but Overdorf and Russ’s brother Greggggggg Brandon are still there.  In what had to be an awkward family conversation, Gregg likely helped manage the PR crisis involving Russ’s dismissal.

 

 

Do you want Beane to spend his  hours meeting players and looking at film or hours upon hours  going through line by line on  a contract, something Overdorf was trained and educated to do?

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8 minutes ago, Limeaid said:

 

McDermott cut scouting (too much) and coaches (too much) but left the business / front office alone.

 

Gregg Brandon by all reports is a very good laywer.

He left the front office alone?  It seemed like a number of longtime employees either resigned or were “reassigned” when he took over. 

3 minutes ago, Don Otreply said:

I suspect that after a contract is hashed out JO fills out the paperwork, as said previously, he isn’t a decision maker, he is likely good at details so his roll is just that, crossing the “Ts” and dotting the “👁s” 

 

Wouldn’t it be somewhat ironic to find out he was one of the good guys all along...😱

 

Nah, no way... 😂


Haha this is what I would assume his role is like now under Beane.  It just seemed surprising how often his name was brought up publicly in Bills press conferences.  That’s why I could understand him having influence over contracts etc 

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1 minute ago, JohnNord said:

He left the front office alone?  It seemed like a number of longtime employees either resigned or were “reassigned” when he took over. 

 

So what if longtime employees left, maybe it was about time to get some new blood in there.  Honestly who cares what he does with the front office,. Does this really impact you personally or the product we see on the field?

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As mentioned, he was largely guilty by association, and likely a key cog that contributed to the drought... but likely due to the organizational structure.  I am sure he was relied upon to make more decisions when the football department was run by winner clowns like Russ Brandon, Doug Whaley, and Buddy Nix.  

 

Im sure he brings a lot of valuable experience in contract language and legal machinations.   That is valuable.  I trust that Beane and his staff (who are infinitely more capable and qualified than what was in-place elsewhere in the 2000s) provide parameters for Overdorf to follow as far as dollar amounts, term, bonus bux, etc...  

 

 

 

edit: still waiting on that genius Russ Brandon to get scooped up to head an NFL team as was promised if we were ever foolish enough to get rid of him.  Was promised it would take 5 minutes

Edited by May Day 10
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2 minutes ago, May Day 10 said:

As mentioned, he was largely guilty by association, and likely a key cog that contributed to the drought... but likely due to the organizational structure.  I am sure he was relied upon to make more decisions when the football department was run by winner clowns like Russ Brandon, Doug Whaley, and Buddy Nix.  

 

Im sure he brings a lot of valuable experience in contract language and machinations.   That is valuable.  I trust that Beane and his staff (who are infinitely more capable and qualified than what was in-place elsewhere in the 2000s) provide parameters for Overdorf to follow as far as dollar amounts, term, bonus bux, etc...  

 

Yeah it’s probably a good point.  That’s why I find the whole Overdorf situation interesting.  No one knows for sure what his role was then or what it is

now, but he was frequently blamed for the team’s issues during the drought.  Now that the team is good, his name never comes up.

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