This coming Saturday, Ralph Wilson will turn 91 years old. If you think about the vast majority of 90-year-old people, they are enjoying their retirement years, have some hobbies that keep them active, but very few are running and owning an NFL organization.
I tip my hat to Ralph to be able to keep functioning as well as he has. Congratulations, Ralph, on your justly deserved election to the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio earlier this year. I also want to thank you for deciding to place your football franchise in the city of Buffalo, and for having the will and decency to not be lured by the big dollars to move the team out to the West Coast.
I am afraid that is the end of the pleasantries and well wishes for this column. The frustration level experienced after watching the dreadful loss to Miami, followed up by an even more embarrassing loss to Cleveland, seems to be a perpetual state of mind going forward. If you are any kind of a fan of the Buffalo Bills you were expecting a different kind of Monday press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium yesterday with respect to Dick Jauron and the media.
The expected press release would have been quite simply: Dick Jauron has been relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. (Fill in the blank) has been named as the interim coach for the rest of the season. End of the press conference. However, that did not occur yesterday, so we now get to experience a whole new level of frustration and confusion as to what is Ralph Wilson thinking about, and has he officially lost it or not?
Yesterday, Wilson attended the Monday Quarterback Club group. During the lunch he was quoted as saying: "Yesterday was so bad that it's hard to make a decision right now, I'm not going to make any decisions during the middle of the season right now. At least not right now."
He also added,"They can't do this to me much longer, there's not much I can say about yesterday except it was awful."
If you examine the above paragraph, that is all the proof that you need that Ralph has indeed lost touch with reality. Yesterday was so bad that it's easy to make a decision right now, Dick Jauron, you are fired. Continuing on.. They can't do this to me much longer. Yes they can, Ralph, and they will, as long as you turn your back on the situation and do nothing!!
At Jauron's press conference yesterday, he was asked about his job status. He replied with the following: "I understand why you ask it, I understand why you have to ask it, and I'll never respond to it. I just won't respond to the question. I don't see any reason for me to. It's not a decision that I make and what I think is not of interest for me to hear talking to you, talking to the media, so I won't respond to it. Again, I understand why you ask it."
He understands why people are upset. He finished up the topic with this: "That's the job, I'm in that position and I clearly haven't been able to reach (the players) to help them, particularly in these last three games, to get them over the hump to get us where we win. So yeah, I understand that criticism."
Ralph, your own coach is basically coming right out and admitting that he has trouble doing the job he was hired to do, and yet you still have confidence and faith in him? I think having patience is an honorable trait. But this is bordering on the limits of irrational.
The Bills will be traveling on the road over the next two weeks to face off against the Jets and then on to Carolina to face the Panthers. It is probably for the best that the Bills are on the road for the next two weeks, just to escape the cascade of boos coming out of the home field bleachers. If they drop each of those games (and how in the world do they give fans any reason to believe recently that they can win them) then they will be looking at a 1-6 record before the next home contest against Houston Texans on Nov. 1?
What if that game was played and nobody showed up to the game? Completely empty stands? What would Ralph say then? The fans can't do this to me much longer, there's not much left that I can say except that I was really counting on them spending a lot of money at the game, buying 50th anniversary memorabilia and pink ribbons and drinking buckets of beer. The fan turnout was awful!
Then you would know how we now feel, Ralph, about what your reaction to the last two weeks has been, standing still and doing nothing.
So, for Mr. Wilson's 91st birthday, I would like to begin the birthday bash by sharing with him several birthday wishes. Feel free to leave a comment and include your favorite birthday wish or two, and maybe some of these will make it to his in-box and he will realize that standing still is not the thing to be doing for Bills fans right now.
Birthday wish No. 1: That a top-of-the-line NFL coach will see the excruciating pain that the Bills fans are going through, and will step forward and say: I realize that these are hard economic times, Mr. Wilson, so I agree to coach your team for one third of my normal salary.
Birthday wish No. 2: That Mr. Wilson will be visited by angels and that they brought a message to him to clean his office out - not the cobwebs, just the personnel. Clean sweep. Bring on a tireless young up and comer that will lead and grow with the organization and work tirelessly around the clock to bring a winner to Buffalo. You know, someone like Bill Polian, back in the day.
Birthday wish No. 3: That Ralph would be allowed to go back in to time, and have a law firm and estate planners dedicated to making sure that when it is Ralph's time, that a clear strategy to keep the Bills in the Wilson family, and that the team remains in Buffalo. And that this strategy is orchestrated to comply with all federal and state family estate tax laws.
I can see that this list has the ability to get pretty long, so I will stop here and ask readers to pick up the ball and run with it. Have fun! Oh yes, and Happy Birthday Mr. Wilson!