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Well the Bills 2006-2007 season is in the books (and the name 2006-2007 is a misnomer since they never actually played in 2007). This year saw more ups and downs than Anna Nicole Smith’s bathroom scale, and like the adult film star-turned reality TV C-list celebrity, the ups were never really that up. Perhaps the best news is that many are saying the Western NY squad has a bright future. Well, what better way to prepare for the future than to understand the past, so here’s The John’s Year in Review (sort-of).
The year started off with fire, and by that I mean the firing of Tom Donahoe. Donahoe ruled with an iron fist and firmly believed that big names would draw a bigger fanbase, which would have worked if it wasn’t a terrible idea. Football isn’t like a lot of other sports where you can pay $50million and bring in a real good pitcher from Japan and expect him to carry your team. The big name players are only as good as the people around them.
Enter the biggest PR stunt in the history of the franchise, the Bills needed a change and Owner Ralph Wilson decided to bring some fresh young blood into the organization. Of course by young blood he meant young compared to him and thus 80 year old Marv Levy made his return to the Bills as General Manager. Levy’s philosophy was the exact opposite of Donahoe’s in that he believed it was better to be good than famous.
The fans, for the most part, liked the decision to bring their Hall of Fame headman back. However, there was one person who didn’t like the return of the former coach, and that was the current coach. Head Coach Mike Mularky (or MM for short, he’s the real slim shady) decided he didn’t like the direction the franchise was going (up) and resigned his position.
Evidently, MM doesn’t feel comfortable with teams on the rise, he left the Steelers because they were on the verge of winning the Super Bowl to take a job with the soon-to-be-a-disappointment-under-his-rule Bills, then accomplishing the demise of that franchise he jumped ship and took a job with the Miami Dolphins (who were on the rise until this past year). My cousin is a Dolphin’s fan (you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family) and he said it best when he said, “I don’t know why they (Miami) hired him (Mularky). The Dolphins play the Bills twice a year, so they must have known he sucked.”
The Bills found themselves in need of a head coach, perhaps a head coach that had actual head coaching experience (unlike the last several). Enter Dick Jouron. The former head coach of the Chicago Bears for a few seasons, and more recently the Detroit Lions for a few weeks, got the job. Sporting an image that resembled a lobotomized version of the He-Man villain, Skelator (“I’d get you He-Man, but I just don’t care anymore”), Jouron had to prove he was going to be the mind behind the new and improved Buffalo Bills.
Well the jury was going to be out for a while on “improved,” but things were definitely “new.” A bunch of new coaches, coordinators, and administrators marked a huge regime change in Buffalo. The front office refused to call it a “rebuilding year,” but I don’t know how else to define a complete regime, philosophy, scheme and player change.
The team then lost a couple hundred pounds when they went on the “No Mike Williams” diet, which was a huge success. But the team went a little overboard with the weight loss craze and slimed down the defensive line under the philosophy that smaller defensive tackles could penetrate into the backfield better. The problem with this was by the time the tackles penetrated into the backfield, the opposing team’s running back was no longer there, so the Bills were repeatedly gashed by backs you never heard of before, and will most likely never hear of again (see Detroit Lions).
The draft found the Bills picking strong safety Donte Whitner for their 8th overall pick. A decision that prompted Sports Illustrated to call Buffalo’s draft the “worst in the NFL.” Granted that was the same Sports Illustrated that picked Miami to win the Super Bowl so it’s clear they don’t really know anything about sports.
With the draft and free agency behind them, it was time to actually start working on football. JP Losman was named the starting QB after a very convoluted three-way QB competition that spanned most of training camp. Peerles Price returned to Buffalo after his “I’m a huge NFL bust” tour that spanned two cities, Willis McGahee decided it would be best not to lift any weights during the off-season and Takeo Spikes promised everyone through a T-shirt he was selling on his website that he was going to be a lot better this year (which shouldn’t have been that hard considering he couldn’t ever walk through most of the previous season).
So with camp behind them and a brand new season ahead the new Buffalo Bills were ready to prove they were no longer a laughing matter…
(To Be Continued…)