Leadership

by Ryan

Bill Walsh died.

I know this is old news in the blogosphere, but it is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Now I know how great a coach Walsh was, but that has been said by people more qualified than I many times over. What really got me thinking this past week was this story.

That article brought me to a shocking revelation: Marv Levy is old. He’s so old that he gave a head coach that just died in old age his first college coaching job. The numbers are there, plain and simple, and we have an 82 year old General Manager. It’s not so shocking when it is stated in black and white, but realizing what that number means by comparison takes me aback. While Brett Farve is busy tinkering with iPods in order to look cool, our GM is thinking back on former understudies who have died recently.

To be honest, that scares the crap out of me. Like most of you out there, the Bills are my team, and their future is very important to me. Remembering that our owner is just as eldery as our GM, and the fact that there is no succession plan in place God Forbid something happens and, well, it’s not fun in my head for a bit.

My fantasy draft was last night. That also has gotten me to thinking about things. Drafting for an imaginary team in an imaginary league has me realize that the Bills are not my team, I just root for them. I am a fan of the Bills just as much as a girlfriend or wife is a fan of your fantasy team. Sure, they may get upset when you lose, but for the most part they have no idea what is going on inside your head. We as fans have no way of knowing anything about One Bills Drive other than what we are told, just like a confused girlfriend being explained your league’s scoring system.

There is an interesting contrast between a real football team and your fantasy team. In fantasy football, you are in complete control of your own squad, a team that no one but you cares about. Let’s be honest, no one cares why I drafted RB strength first and settled for Vince Young as my QB because it’s just my team and nothing more.

However, in the NFL we have absolutely no control over anything, and care more than we’d like to. I couldn’t pay strangers to listen to my draft recap, but if I could have Marv Levy explain his thought process on draft day to me I’d take notes, record, and hire a professional cameraman to capture every second of it. Heck, I’d take his advice on how to cut my grass or make decent mac and cheese if he took the time.

I’ve read Marv’s biography, traveled to Canton, Ohio to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame, and watched four full quarters of preseason football just to hear him ramble on the local broadcast. Yeah, it’s a bit crazy, but I’m not the only one. Because it’s Marv Levy.

And he’s 82. Yet somehow, I trust him. I trust Darcy, too. I couldn’t explain to you why, but maybe that’s exactly the reason. Regardless of age, regardless of the past, you have to trust who’s in charge of your team. Life is not Fantasy Football, and to be a fan you have to give up the reigns and have faith.

Well, no, not always. But in the doldrums of August, with a fresh, crisp season on the horizon, you have to delegate yourself to the backseat and trust where you will be taken.

Hopefully it’s going to be a long, pleseant ride.