The Buffalo Bills were one of the best-run organizations in the late ‘80 and ‘90s.
General Manager Bill Polian built one of the best rosters in football, and legendary coach Marv Levy molded them into perennial contenders.
Unfortunately for Buffalo fans, the Bills have fallen into total dysfunction, and now they’ve made an incredibly reckless move.
A mere one day after the NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills fired General Manager Doug Whaley.
From a Sports Illustrated column:
Three years after buying the team, it’s time that Terry and Kim Pegula, the not-so-new Bills owners, get around to actually building one. Because no matter how you slice what has happened over the last four months, or where you want to place blame for the firing of a coach in December and a GM four months later, it’s clear to anyone paying attention that the dysfunction inside that organization isn’t the work of one person.
GM Doug Whaley was dismissed less than a day after the Bills put the finishing touches on the first draft class to be integrated into new coach Sean McDermott’s program. Minutes later, Terry Pegula gave boilerplate answers to a barrage of questions as to how and why this went down when it did.
…He hasn’t done nearly enough to align his organization.
That much was on display to those inside the Bills draft room over the last three days. One source who was there described it as “the weirdest three days.” It was unclear who was carrying the hammer, and that affected the efficiency it takes in the high-pressure environment of the draft. Rumors loomed over everyone. Whaley couldn’t so much as sneeze without the feeling someone was hovering over his shoulder.
Micromanaging a lame-duck General Manager in charge of arguably the most important aspect of building a team (talent acquisition) is a recipe for chaos.
Not only was the draft process muddled, firing a GM this late of a juncture in the off-season makes the challenge of turning over the front office more difficult because a lot of people are already locked in with their current teams.
The Bills’ coaching searches have been equally confusing and desperate. After Dick Jauron was fired in the middle of the 2009 season, the Bills had trouble filling the head-coaching vacancy.
The Bills turned to retread Chan Gailey, who had been out of football. After three subpar seasons, the Bills fired Gailey.
Replacing Gailey proved to be even more difficult than replacing Jauron. The Bills were rebuffed by several coaches before finally settling on Doug Marrone, a coach who’d produced only middling results at Syracuse.
To make matters worse, Marrone exercised a clause in his contract and cashed out after just two seasons. It was a shocking move because coaches almost never voluntarily leave one of the most coveted NFL head coaching jobs.
Supposedly Marrone found the situation in Buffalo so unfavorable, he quit without having another job lined up; it was rumored he wanted the New York Jets job.
No other job materialized, and Marrone settled for Offensive Line coaching position in Jacksonville.
The Bills turned to another retread, Rex Ryan, and fired him near the end of his second year.
Former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott stepped into the head coaching job with clumsy ownership and a front office in flux.
The Bills made history by becoming the only team in NFL history to play in four consecutive Super Bowls, but lost all four, a miserable experience for a passionate and loyal fan base.
Now, Bills fans are begging for that type of “misery.”