On Tuesday afternoon Western New York let out a brief cry of jubilation: Dick Jauron was no longer head coach of the Buffalo Bills. I, however, was a little less enthused. In fact, my exact words were something to the effect of “Why bother?”
Now I’m not one of those guys that blows this Bills off after Week Six. I still get excited about every Sunday afternoon, and I love football more than most healthy people should. The Bills are a bad football team, yes, but they are my bad football team and that means something nonetheless.
The importance the Bills have in my life makes my reaction to Jauron’s exit so interesting. Let’s be honest, I should be thrilled. Dick Jauron brought a level of consistent mediocrity to the Bills that few have ever matched. Three straight 7-9 seasons, a constant stream of defensive injuries, and enough blank stares to make you think Skeletor was on the sidelines. I mean I’ve only heard nice things about Dick Jauron as a person, but when you’re getting the head coach of your football team confused with the Nazi who got his face melted off in Raiders of the Lost Ark; you could probably use a bit more intensity on the sidelines.
Still, I can’t help but be puzzled by firing Dick Jauron even after a 41-17 dismemberment in Tennessee. Maybe it was Titans owner Bud Adams dual-wielding middle fingers that got Ralph Wilson going, but after what we saw over the last three-plus years I find it hard to believe that a fourth quarter implosion in Nashville was enough to put things over the top.
Let’s face it, Dick Jauron should not have been coaching this team all year. His contract extension back in December ’08 will probably go down as one of the stupidest decisions in Buffalo sports history, and it was clear after the first game that this Bills team was no different than the last three incarnations we endured under Dick’s tenure.
So if Dick Jauron was kept under the veil of “continuity,” why should I expect he get fired at all this season? He didn’t get the axe after an embarrassing 6-3 loss to Cleveland at home, and he didn’t get the heave ho during the bye week, so why did he get sent packing the week after the bye? Losing to Tennessee on the road is no less embarrassing or telling than losing to Houston at home, nor any other loss the Bills have had this year.
What makes the Dick Jauron firing so frustrating is that, as usual, the franchise acted far too late. Even when they do the right thing, the curious manner which they go about doing it makes it hard to get too excited. It’s a team full of conundrums and confusion, from the front office all the way down to the players on the field. The entire franchise is mired in a philosophical clusterfuck, and it’s not changing anytime soon.
So maybe that’s what is so maddening about Dick Jauron getting fired. A correct as the move is, nothing is really going to change. The interim coach is from the same staff, the players are the same, and the damage has already been done. The Dick Jauron Era may be over, but it’s just another name to add to the list of failed seasons and broken promises. It’s another quarterback thrown under the bus, another head coach chased out of town and yet another season without playoff football at the Ralph.
Just another long, cold winter in Buffalo.