I consider the Buffalo Bills head coaching job, and any gainful employment position on the team from the lowliest street sweeper to a player on the team to be one of the worst in professional football.
I'm sorry but there is just nothing good that can be said about a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 1999 and the "Music City Miracle."
A team that once defied the odds in reaching not just one or two Super Bowl's, but actually four straight-a feat that likely will never be dupicated in any major sport, now finds themselves as one of the worst in the league and for good reason.
Consider that they didn't just make it to four straight Super Bowl's but that they lost to all four opponents by varying margins when they were favored (1990) or when they were obviously the underdog (1992 and 1993). If there was a way to lose, they'd find it.
Now they can only long for those days and wish they were that good.
Consider them the Detroit Lions of the AFC.
The job No One Wanted
A job that was once probably the envy in all sports, Marv Levy's role as Head Coach, was held vacant for so long after the expected firing of Perry Fewell last winter that old hat Buddy Nix who returned to the organization after an eight year hiatus in San Diego basically had to re-enforce to reporters (or was it himself?) that the job "was a good one."
"This is a good job" he once screamed to reporters.
In the end, instead of hiring someone fresh, one of those new faces that the next generation of Bills fans might have rallied around, they continued to make the same old mistakes by hiring a re-tred in Chan Gailey who failed at both the college level (Georgia Tech) and professional level (Dallas Cowboys).
Gailey is an offensive minded coach as in a Charlie Weis. He's meant to be a coordinator, not a coach. If you try and confuse these roles as the Bills have done, nothing good can come of it.
But to be fair, the only reason the Bills (Nix) hired Gailey was because all those usual rising coordinators and ex-coaches (they actually reached out to Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan) smartly turned down this dead-end job.
He wasn't their first or second choice. He was probably their fifth at best. How can you put your heart into something knowing you weren't really the one they wanted?
Still you have to give the Bills credit, at least they tried to go after the big names however faint the chances of that working actually appeared.
But don't take my word for it, here is a good summary of the press conference.
Obstacles working against them
In addition to the 1999 "Music City Miracle" in Nashville that not only killed the last chacne the Bills had at a playoff run, the last time they made the playoffs, but in doing so, the play offically ended the tenure of many of the fabled Bills from their brief "glory days."
That 1999 team included defensive end Phil Hansen, kicker Steve Christie, punter Chris Mohr, Wide Receiver Andre Reed, Safety Henry Jones, Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith, and Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas.
That game was the last time Hall of Famers Smith, Thomas and Reed would play in Orchard Park, New York in a Buffalo Bills unifrorm as all left the team for varying detinations that offseason.
If there was ever one final gasp from an era that many people, regardless of location as I've traveled a lot of places and found Bills fans everywhere, who longed for the team they grew up following, that game was it.
They play in Orchard Park, New York a town of just 27,000 right next to fridgid Buffalo way in Upstate New York right next to the Canadian border.
When Terrell Owens went there out of desperation as no one else wanted him, the media (ESPN) joked that at least they knew he wouldn't get in trouble because A. its too cold most of the time to go out and do anything and B. there is nothing to do in Buffalo (but then they retracted saying they didn't want the fine folks in Buffalo getting upset and writing the show etc.
The Owens signing should be seen as the latest attempt at a desperate media grab by a desperate, once-proud franchise still trying to figure out when and where they went wrong.
Where they went wrong was not adapting to the current and modern NFL. Their problem is they are still living in 1991 when in fact, this is simply not the case anymore. They are the Baltimore Orioles in this regard, still thinking the calander says its the nineties.
The contracts that worked back then and kept players don't work any more. They are seen as one of the smallest of the league's 32 franchises one that already is splitting some of their pre-and soon regular season games in Toronto in a lame attempt to get more revenue so they don't have to move there or Los Angeles when their beloved owner, Hall of Famer and 91 year old Ralph Wilson passes on.
Most people appreciate Mr. Wilson for being the community bridge to the NFL that brought the team from the AFL during the merger in the early 1960's.
Owner Ralph Wilson and his age and relocation
A growing minority feel that he is also their last vestage to that era when the team was successful and when they were in Buffalo for when he passes away the teams' patriarch is the final string keeping the team in New York altogether.
The effort to play some games in Toronto is seen as a test-case for future games or possibly relocation altogether if it could be proven to be a profitable and feasable endevor for the good of the team and they could make more money than playing where they do now.
Still others feel that they are on a short list of teams that has been contacted for relocation to Los Angeles with the Jacksonville Jaguars being the other named team of interest.
Aside from the past glory days of Hall of Famers Wilson, Jim Kelly, Reed, Thomas, and Smith, all of that is gone and while they had a brief resurgence at least in popularity and intrigue when Doug Flutie formerly of the CFL signed on and won the starter's role and ultimately a few games with his comeback poise that earned him so well in Canada, it was never the same as the lost opportunities of the early 1990's.
That 1999 team in addition to the veterans also had budding stars in Marcellus Wiley, Pat Williams, Peerless Price, Eric Moulds, and Antoine Winfield. Today's Bills, which always start a surprising 4-1 to 5-1 by the way only to crash and burn to 6-10 or 8-8 (have you noticed?) include only Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish (and only because he can return kicks), Aaron Schobel, Paul Pouslozny, Jarius Byrd, Rian Lindell, and Fred Jackson as the only servicable players that belong on an NFL roster.
The rest, all 46 off the 53 man roster are junk in my opinion and should be scrapped.
Talent Shortage and bad drafts
Seven out of 53, right there is your problem. Lindell is on special teams which right away indicates when one of your best players is a kicker is your inability to get into the endzone. Parrish as mentioned is a situational but explosive kick returner, but so what? So is Terrance McGee and his few interceptions a year.
Schobel is an aging veteran who will need to be upgraded. The Bills thought they had did this when they drafted one of my projected first round busts, Aaron Maybin out of Penn State who didn't fail to disappoint (but when you think about it, he really did).
Maybin had no sacks his rookie year despite being a position of need and the 11th player taken overall last year but he's just the beginning of the misses that have been painfully obvious over the years.
What about 3rd round pick Josh Reed out of LSU or fellow bust-in-waiting, the declining Marshawn Lynch?
Or maybe the failed trade of former Pro Bowler Marcus Stroud who no longer starts or bust-of-all busts Leodis McKelvin, also drafted eeirily 11th overall in 2008 who was considered a reach at the time and even more so now that he is relagated to special teams.
Posluszny can be considered the only value pick, as the former 2nd round was drafted out of "Linebacker U" Penn State in 2007. Still because of this label, can we really give the Bills credit for doing the obvious especially after they went to the well one to many times in 2009 again with Maybin?
None of their later picks seem to work out and they miss more often than not in the first leading to perpetual ineptitude.
Insert Tebow the Savior?
This year they have the ninth overall pick, one that I would dred if I were Jimmy Clausen or any of their projected targets because its a sitation I don't think can be won and you have to play outdoors in one of the smallest, coldest, markets in the league and in a division thats improving all around you while you unsurprisingly sit still.
Clausen has bust written all over him as I think he's a product of Notre Dame, Charlie Weis and their hype but Buffalo desperate for the attention could look to him to sell tickets and hope for the franchise that needs it.
Still, it won't shock me when and if the scrappy Bills trade up to get back into the first round late in the day Thursday to take the most heralded quarterback (and Humanitarian) in college football history, the legend himself, Jesus re-incarnated, Tim Tebow.
Why would they do it?
Hype. Publicity, buzz, attention, intrigue, the pending media circus, anticpated jersey sales and endorsement deals with Harvest Hope Food banks, Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Children's Miracle Network, Make-A-Wish, and just about any other religious and social organization know to man.
Keep them out of Canada or California.
Regardless of whether the prodigy can actually play, the Bills could be that team poised to take him on hype and his mass following alone. They know they would be the talk of all of the three day draft weekend. They know that the base would be revitalized and that they'd likey get acceptable draft grades by the media experts (for once) based on potential alone.
I for one find it extremly ridiculous that his supposed achillies-heel, his ackward throwing motion is miraculously improve and fixed in just a few short weeks. I mean how do you correct four years of throwing a certain way, in a certain system, in a certain mindset in just a few short weeks?
That alone should raise questions about the college game and its systems and exactly who can run them.
The Bills would draft Tebow knowing, many of their games would be picked up on Monday Night Football, Sunday Night or by CBS in general simply because Tebow seems to be the kid where everything he touches turns to gold and the kid simply cannot and refuses to lose.
You have to like that in a competitor but come on, its not like He can turn scraps like Reed, TE Derrick Fine or Shawn Nelson (who are these people?) into Pro Bowlers?
Or can he? (insert Twilight Zone music)
If anyone can, He can.
Maybe that is the Bills plan all along?
So what would I do with the first round pick?
Draft a LB to pair with Posluszny, like Ronaldo McClain out of the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Most scouts and experts see him as can't-miss and the Bills need about five of these just to get caught up with the rest of the division, much less the league.
Or they could take the explosive C.J. Spiller out of Clemson to replace troubled runningback Marshawn Lynch and stick a fork in that failed era.
With the second round pick they could hope that a player like Tebow's team mate Maurkice Pouncey slips to them (or that they aggressively trade up).
What they shouldn't do is take a quarterback simply to do it based on need in what is seen as a weak draft anyway for the position, same with TE. If they can't snare the only intriguing QB prospect Colt McCoy, a winner in his own right (most wins by a QB in NCAA history) with their 2nd round pick (if Cleveland doesn't beat them to it first) they should resist any Tebow talk and go with the safer bet in McCoy who was projected to be there all along.
The last thing this team needs to do is continue to reach in the draft each year.
That hasn't worked since 1999.
But what do I know, if you draft Tebow, you might just get the inseparable Urban Meyer included in the deal too.
At least then Buffalo might have a coach, and with it, a fighting chance.
In the end, does it really matter? Mr. Tebow's destined to be a Saint.
Statistics, references, and information courtesy of ESPN.com, Larry Brown Sports.com, and ESPN most notably Todd McShay and his analysis on one of the noon SportsCenter broadcasts.