by Pat Freeman
The Rumors are circling around the Buffalo Bills once again as many media outlets are reporting the inevitable firing of head coach Rex Ryan. This has been a continuous scene around this team for the last 16 years. The problem that I have with the firing of this head coach is the top of the organization that seems to remain unscathed from any form of criticism. Russ Brandon has been with this organization now for the close to 20 years and the mantra of this once proud franchise has been failure after to failure. The new owners I believe are starting to recognize the landscape of the NFL can be a slippery slope, and very misleading if you look at just attendance, and profit margin.
NFL attendance is widely driven by the make up of each team’s geographic location. The Western New York/ Southern Ontario region has very limited entertainment opportunities which are on the level of the NFL. So marketing a team in this area is far less demanding than bigger more economically diverse markets. The marketing strategy is based on off season hope of team improvement. The clock on Rex unfortunately has expired because of multiple miscues from the beginning of his hiring:
1. Defense went from #4 to #19 first year
2. Defense went from #1 in sacks to #31
3. Forced the resignation of Jim Schwartz because of his ego
4. Hired Greg Roman as offensive coordinator and blamed him for the dismal start of the season
5. Continued game day confusion on the defensive side of the ball despite having the largest number of assistants in the NFL
6. Following the Russ Brandon Manuel of Nepotism hired his brother Rob as a defensive assistant despite having too many coaches on the defensive side of the ball
7. Forced Doug Whaley to draft players to fit Rex’s defensive system rather than resigning proven veterans such as Nigel Bradham, and Leodis Mckelvin.
8. He cut Ross Cockrell and Arthur Moats and both have been starters for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
9. 28 Assistant coaches the largest staff in the league.
10. Time management during games is one of the worse in the league.
The problem that still exists that this organization has continued to change head coaches but have not addressed the area of mediocrity at the head of their front office. These are the head coaches since the hiring of Russ Brandon in this organization:
If you examine each one of them have a losing winning percentage except Wade Phillips who the late Ralph Wilson ran out of town. The owners would do themselves a favor, and recognize that Russ Brandon’s resume in the NFL and NHL begins and should end right here in Buffalo . He is not respected as one of the NFL’s top executives because he is not one. Since his tenure with the Bills the organization has benefited from the gains of the league and not by the contribution of our hometown team. This is why the NFL owners has demanded a new stadium but Russ Brandon has continued to lobby to stay in the rapidly deteriorating Orchard Park facility. This facility is about 25 years past its prime but Russ Brandon continues to convince our New York political structure to trust me. Let’s hope that the winds of change finally catch up with the head of the Bills organization that has overseen a structure of dysfunction.
Russ Brandon’s tenure will go down as one of the worse in team history because a football outsider has convinced many that he should be an NFL decision maker.
Pat Freeman writes for the Buffalo Criterion. If you enjoy talking about the world of sports tune into the number#1 sports show in the nation every Saturday from 4:00-5:00PM hosted by WUFO Sports Director Patrick Freeman on 1080AM WUFO radio, radio app., Periscope, or via the internet at www.wufoam.com. Or catch Sports Update for clbTV (ch.20 Buffalo) and YouTube.