So the Buffalo Bills have their long-awaited replacement for departed general manager Bill Polian.
You’re probably reading this thinking, “um, you mean Doug Whaley.”
Yeah, him, too. But he couldn’t do what Buddy Nix couldn’t do, which was what Russ Brandon shouldn’t have done, which was what Tom Modrak never did, which was what Marv Levy was supposed to do, but saw the depleted structure remaining that he and Polian built and bolted, after Tom Donahoe torched the organization with his paranoia.
Sure, there was The late John Butler, but he was only fired after he refused on six different occasions to extend his contract with Mr. Wilson. Given the aftermath, Butler may have been the smartest of post-Polian regime.
Now the Bills have Brandon Beane working with rookie head coach, Sean McDermott, as his hand – picked glorified talent scout. Make no mistake — McDermott is Beane’s boss. They worked together in Carolina for six years as McDermott led the Panthers’ defense to a Super Bowl, while Beane waited as an assistant GM and an interim GM for the big chair, while serving 19 years in (altogether now) every facet of the game.
Now he gets a bigger chair, but the final stamp goes to the head coach. This only happens in New England, Seattle and Kansas City.
And now Buffalo.
Will it work? Hopefully. Nobody really knows anything about any of the GM candidates the Bills interviewed, other than what’s been publicized and the on-field success of their respective teams, just like they didn’t know anything about Sabres GM Tim Murray before he got to Buffalo, but had to have him, right?
The only talent evaluator who came with an actual body of work was Donahoe, who lost a power struggle with Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh, and decided to take it out on everyone at One Bills Drive including interns and fans. This writer was both during that narcissist’s reign of terrible.
And he proved the Steelers were right and the Bills were wrong. And the Bills have been wrong ever since: five GMs, six head coaches (full – time), and over a dozen starting quarterbacks wrong.
Will Beane work? Supposedly, he’ll work well with McDermott, which is something Doug Whaley couldn’t do with either Doug Marrone or Rex Ryan, or the rookie-turned-boss for that matter. That’s a good thing for a change, padding the adage “it’s not what you know, but WHO you know.” But you’ve probably read that a few times this week already. Well, here’s something you won’t read.
Tom Donahoe, in the same vein, dismissed former Bills head personnel man, the lovable, folksy and successful Dwight Adams, in exchange for his buddy, Modrak. Both men have since passed away, but only Adams is remembered fondly by fans. Modrak actually threw his former boss under a bus like F. Lee Bailey did Robert Shapiro during the OJ trial to save his job — done remotely from Jacksonville, by the way.
Donahoe was served a dose of his own Abilify. You can make similar arguments about Bill Polian’s tenure in Buffalo, except for one thing:
Polian, Levy, Butler, Adams, AJ Smith and Bob Ferguson could actually work together. And they won.
McDermott and Beane plan on doing the same. And this plan has been part of McDermott’s vision since Whaley botched his awkward introduction to Bills employees before his big press conference. Go to buffalobills.com and check it out–if it’s still up.
Will it work? Nobody knows. But if we’re still looking for the next Jim Kelly, we should find the next guys with the magic abilities to land him, just like Polian and Levy were able to reel-in the gunslinger who didn’t want to play for Buffalo, who then came to town and put it on the map.
McDermott and Beane are firstimers and this is their big chance to do what even Polian, Levy and Kelly couldn’t do. Nobody has any true clue on whether they will. Well, nobody but the Pegulas.
Because if they’re wrong, again, then what?
Well, at least they can afford to be wrong. It’s the rest of us who have to live with the mistakes.