16 Years & Counting......
This past year we expected more of the Buffalo Bills. A LOT MORE! Rex promised playoffs at his opening press conference so long ago, and I for one believed him. We had just come off a 9-7 season and had a defense that looked like a version of those great Bills teams from the 90's. While the year has been disappointing, and the playoffs are on life support, pulling the plug on the Rex Ryan era after one year would be a huge mistake.
Last week as the Cincinnati Bengals prepared to play the Pittsburgh Steelers, a graphic flashed up on the TV. Marvin Lewis head coach of the Bengals had a 108-89-2 record in the 13 years he has been their head coach. In those 13 years, the Buffalo Bills have fielded 7 head coaches (Including Interim HC Perry Fewell, and Rex). Their names are Greg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron, Chan Gailey, and Doug Marrone. The best season of all those coaches? It would of course be 2014 and Doug Marrone's 9-7 record. The last time the Bills were even relevant going into the last week of the season? That would be the debacle against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002, when Greg Williams' Bills, lost the final home game of the year against the Steelers second string players. The combined records of all those coaches from 2003-2014? Get ready for it..... 78-114 for a staggering win percentage of - .406%, and zero trips to the playoffs since the Music City Miracle.
So the question I pose to you is this? Would you take 108-90-2 (Lewis' current record after a rough loss to the Steelers) with 5 losses in the Wild Card over that period of time, knowing that you probably would never make a Super Bowl? Or, would you accept what we have had over the last 13 years or 16 years for that matter?
In my opinion one of the major things the Bills have missed over that period of time is continuity. Lewis struggled with the Bengals after early success. He began his first three years going 27-21 and losing in a playoff game when Carson Palmer went down and there defense surrendered 17 straight second half points. Lewis then struggled as the Bengals shuffled players in and out but still was able to move the Bengals into the playoffs in 2009, and then of course fell to 4-12 in 2010 as Palmer held out. Instead of firing Lewis which was the general assumption around the league, the Bengals brought him back and held onto the continuity they had. The result, is only a 50-25-1 with four straight playoff games since 2011. I'm not saying that the Bills should accept mediocrity, but lets all be very honest with each other....... WE ALREADY HAVE!!! And while Rex may not be the answer to all of our problems, he certainly deserves another year to try and get us to the promise land. Yes, there are things that need to be cleaned up, and yes they've been ridiculously undisciplined. I blame Rex, and his swagger with the players for the later, but to pull the trigger on him now would be a huge mistake. I mean the record speaks for itself, we pulled that trigger so often we became a punchline in the league. Coaches wouldn't give us a chance until Rex showed up in Orchard Park and started talking BIG.
So to recap 7 coaches and zero playoff experiences since 2003. Count it back to the Music City Miracle and it's 16 years and counting. Do you think TLC needs a new TV show?????????