05 April 2006

Undermining yourself to failure: the possible future of the Bills

So this is about the Bills, and really, who gives a rat's backside? Well, with all the hub-bub about the CBA, a little write-up on the most vocal dissenter wouldn't be bad. We'll exclude Cincy because the modern Brown family are idiots. How Paul Brown is the patriarch of that clan is beyond me.

Anyways, Ralph Wilson is crying to Pataki about the unfairness of the CBA. I wouldn't doubt that Pataki said, "We have a team in western NY?? Did the Jets move?" Obviously, Ralph Wilson is concerned about the viability of his club. Here's the deal:

You have to really admire Bills fans/taxpayers for keeping the Bills afloat in previous years. I'm being honest here. And this is important because the NFL should NEVER, EVER let another Cleveland Browns incident happen again. It was wrong when Al Davis did it. It was wrong when the Irsays did it. And f*** Modell. The Bills should not lose their team over money. They've funded renovations in the late 90's and will likely have to shell out for a new stadium at the end of the decade. IF Wilson is going to Pataki to plant that seed early, good for him. Otherwise, he's looking like a crybaby.

It's interesting that before the 1993 CBA was signed, the Bills led the league in attendance SIX STRAIGHT SEASONS, with those final four seasons being their Super Bowl seasons. Then it fell off. Afterwards, they still averaged +65K in ticket sales per game per season, with this past year having an all-time high of over 72K tickets sold per game. He obviously is making money on a losing team, but I'm sure in 1994 and beyond he blamed the team's failures on that CBA. Shame on the Buffalo fans for giving to the Ralph Wilson welfare fund. Yet in some ways you have to admire those diehards.

In team terms, Ralph Wilson cannot keep up with the NFL. That is fact. Since the CBA was first changed to the salary cap free agency model, the Bills only made the playoffs three years and only one of those sans Jim Kelly (who retired in after the '96 season). I'd be shocked if Wilson didn't oppose the 1993 CBA at that time.

"I don't understand this CBA." Granted, you can't learn a novel in 45 minutes, but these ideas were not new. You didn't get it because you didn't want to. Because it wouldn't allow you to keep your team $14M under the cap, lose, and you still make out like a bandit. I hope with the new CBA teams like the Bills, the Cardinals, and the Saints can't keep losing on the field and still win big on the money side.

Ralph, you're throwing up your hands and throwing a hissy instead of going out and improving your team. You've allowed only Nate Clemens to be kept, releasing DT Sam Adams and S Lawyer Milloy. You sign Andre Davis (who sucks) and trade away Eric Moulds (who sucks a little less). You've made NO moves. Your team sucks, yet you still have $14 MILLION left in salary cap money!!! There is NO excuse except you and your management when your team goes 6-10 or worse again (only 4-4 at home with a stadium full of your fans), and that in a powderpuff division. And the team will sell tickets, and Wilson will continue being the losing genius.

Wilson seems to be thriving on selling crap wrapped in gold paper. Each year he adds more and more crap into the box, and is now crying how "the system" will be the reason. Modell tried this. He really really tried to run the Browns into the ground, saying the team was losing money and couldn't stay with the league because of it. He ran the star QB out on a rail and hired several new coaches in a short time frame to try to make things worse. Yet the Browns kept winning, and Modell kept losing money. Without an excuse to hang himself with and as owner of the rope, he hung the city. Wilson though seems to be making sure the team continues its downward spiral. He'll keep making token moves to undermine himself until the team sucks so bad he can blame the system as the reason. Note his recent venture to take has-been from the Patriots. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and is a losing strategy in sports. I'd be pissed this season to see my team's owner take a sledgehammer to the car and try to sell it to me as new. But Wilson's already got his excuse ready: it's the CBA.

Ralph Wilson is making it sounds as if he has no control over the viability of this team. He'll be playing the song of "I did the best I could" upon his death/retirement, so he can be vindicated if the team is moved to LA after he is gone. Us non-fans and especially us Browns and old-time Colts fans can see through that, though. We weren't high school drop-outs, either, and even if we were, we ain't dumb. You are making your team a target for relocation. Maybe, maybe it's not intentional, but at best, you're starting a self-fulfilling prophesy by being so negative and not adjusting to the new rules.

And I believe I hear a fiddle being played in Buffalo.


At 10:52 AM, Blogger Dante said...

To be fair to Wilson, if you're going to sell tickets win or lose, then why try to win? If the people of Buffalo will settle for crap then I'd gladly serve it to them.

And don't forget that has-beens sell tickets. The Texas Rangers have historically been the best example of this and have carved out a nice position for themselves as a losing team worth watching. Buffalo looks to be taking the same angle.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Laddi said...

"has-beens sell tickets"

True. Why else would the Ravens bring "Prime Time" back.


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