It has been very clearly shown that the Buffalo Bills plan on being AFC playoff contenders in 2012. They made a huge splash in free agency. They had a pretty good draft. Every move the Bills have made has seemed to improve the team and the fans are anticipating a show come September.
Ah, but predicting how Buffalo fares in 2012 is a bit premature at this point. Scratch that. Predicting exactly how Buffalo will do is plain silly at this point.
Though the Bills have obviously put themselves in position to compete for a playoff berth and perhaps win the AFC East crown, it's not even June yet. The roster is far from decided. There will be more signings to come. There could be trades in the future. There could be a surprising cut.
The thing about NFL football is it is a fast changing league and in the blink of an eye a franchise can change completely. So rather than contemplating what could be or trying to predict how things will turn out in over three months, let's just relax and have some fun.
Before the politics of football come into effect, let's just reflect on some recent news with the Bills and have some fun before the hard work starts.
Here are some fun facts and things to ponder heading into 2012:
- The Buffalo Bills signed defensive end Mario Williams to the richest defensive free-agent deal in NFL history with a six-year, $100 million deal. His $16.7 million salary in 2012 makes it the second-highest salary by a defensive player in a single season. The first? Chicago Bear Julius Peppers' $16.7 million salary in 2009.
- Williams has chosen to represent the Bills in uniform No. 94. But the Bills have two more Williams' in defensive back Aaron Williams and fellow defensive lineman Kyle Williams. At this point, it doesn't appear that any Williams will have a first name initial in front of their last name on their uniform.
- For those Bills fans who see big things out of Buffalo in 2012, history shows that it won't be a cake walk. The last time the Bills swept the AFC East at home was in 1999, outscoring the Dolphins, Jets and Patriots by a combined 44 points. The last time the Bills swept the AFC East outright was in 1988. That season was the Bills first AFC Championship Game in a run of five appearances in six seasons.
- One new addition that hasn't captivated and inspired Bills fans is wideout David Clowney. But there's no need to fret, Bills fans. Clowney is HIV free! Don't believe me? Look at the confirmation picture Clowney posted on Twitter. At least we can all sleep a little bit better at night.
- The Bills brought in a proven quarterback in Vince Young to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick. If Young proves his worth and Fitzpatrick comes out flat, it is possible for a quarterback controversy to occur. The last major quarterback controversy actually started the Bills' playoff slump (sorry to those JP Losman and Trent Edward fans. Maybe the "controversy" was to see who was worse).
Perhaps another controversy can end that playoff slump. Maybe Young stays a backup and is used in rare situations—almost as weird as when a backup quarterback took the field in some playoff game versus the Oilers.
- Trick-shot quarterback Alex Tanney, perhaps Division III's all-time best quarterback, has earned a tryout with the Buffalo Bills. Though his chances of making the team are unlikely at this point, maybe he can entertain fans with some finesse on his throws.
- The Buffalo Bills have extended their international tour in Canada. Maybe since the Bills finally won a game in Toronto the Canadians will warm up to the American game.
- Maybe the Bills are destined to reach the playoffs in '12. It will be the 12th season since their last playoff appearance in the 1999 season. The number 12 also happened to be worn by perhaps the best Bill of all time, Jim Kelly. No. 12 led the Bills to four Super Bowls. Even the great Thurman Thomas played 12 seasons for the Bills.
Maybe the 12th man inspires the Bills to reach the playoffs this year. Maybe Brad Smith is the difference in 2012. He was actually born on December 12. Hey, even if it's too early to worry about playoffs, go out and enjoy the 12th annual Kids' Day in August against the Steelers.
There are some intriguing story lines heading into 2012 for the Buffalo Bills. But let's remember that even though the season is right around the corner, there's a lot to happen from then and now. Hopefully Bills fans enjoy the opportunity to relax for a bit and enjoy some of Buffalo's past while preparing for the future.