Rearranging The Deck Chairs

by Corey

The same dance we did with the Sabres for years is now being reenacted step by step with the Bills. Accepting mediocrity. Always looking for second best. Never being in the same league as the other teams.

The Buffalo Bills will not improve as an organization until Ralph Wilson is removed from the organizational chart. The case as to why this is so has been made already. However, do to his steadfast dedication to his beloved toy, Wilson will remain with the team until his death. He has no intentions of selling the franchise. So here we are.

Wilson is clearly the problem. He has been the problem all along. Anytime an executive has attained even a remote level of success, Wilson gives them the heave-ho. Lou Saban (the only coach who ever won something), Bill Polion (An NFL mastermind),and John Butler (Not a mastermind but a damn good exec) were all ejected into deep space out of the airlock because Wilson is kind of an asshole.

This is their Pro-Football Reference statistic page. Let me sum it up for you folks – they are historically terrible. When they were legit good twice in their history – in the 60’s and in the early to late 90’s. Both times the people responsible for that success were told to kiss off.

This isn’t about a team not spending money, or not finding proper talent on the football field, or hiring lousy coaches. These are symptoms of a disease. That disease is called incompetence. The Buffalo Bills can use every parlor trick in the book to convince their fans that they are moving in the right direction, but unless Wilson is removed from the equation they will forever circle the drain.

We take a special pride in this team here. There is an ownership aspect to the franchise that citizens of this town embrace. The Bills are ours we like to believe. This cannot be further from the truth. Ralph Wilson is sole proprietor of the Buffalo Bills and alone controls the team. Follow along.

Wilson won’t sell the team while he’s alive. His family wants nothing to do with it. He will not set up any protocols to have the team remain in the hands of investors dedicated to keeping the team in WNY after his death, leaving the franchise open to all bidders in an environment filled with poachers. If he had an idea at all of protecting the franchise, and through that the fans, by ensuring the team would remain in the area, he would have expressed by now. Instead, he has steadfastly refused any notion of releasing control of the team.

He doesn’t care what happens after he is gone, at least not enough to offset his need for the control of the franchise. It is far more important to him that he be in charge than the Bills have a secure future in the city. Wilson has his finger in the dyke, but rather than find someone to keep it plugged while it is still safe, he’d rather leave and take the chance on the walls coming down.

In the end, that’s all you need to know about this franchise and your relationship with it. You are expendable. It isn’t about you, and it never was. The only question that remains is why do we get ourselves into this mess? Why do we care so much about something that takes no effort to return our investments of time, emotion, or money.

Ralph Wilson may be an incompetent and insufferable fool, but we are A grade suckers.


  1. PKB

    Totally agree. One additional point.

    Ralph Wilson is in the pro football hall of fame. I consider this a major insult to this region. I’d go as far as to say it’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to Buffalo since I’ve been alive.

    The pro football HOF is a big freaking deal to the guys who vote yes or no. I mean, the broadcaster who was just elected to Buffalo’s Baseball HOF was someone I had never heard of. That HOF is basically looking for guys to honor. It’s a sort list, if you get me. If Ralph isn’t voted into the pro football HOF, someone like Andre FREAKING Reed takes his place. For Wilson to get voted in, the football guys must think he did well, really really really well.

    That’s incredible to me since it seems quite clear he’s one of the worst owners in professional sports. So then what makes him deserving of recognition? Why is he honored? Because he made it work. He makes Buffalo sports fans give a shit, somehow. He makes this community, while downplaying its commercial potential, into a profitable locality.

    That’s why it’s such an embarrassment. It’s not about his success (obviously), he’s honored for building a franchise and a fan base in Buffalo. Poor, old, broken down Buffalo. Who would have thought! Against the extreme odds, he did it! Nevermind everything mentioned in this entry.

    One last thought. The only thing Ralph Wilson has going for him in terms of reputation is the fact that he chose football. The NFL is so big and the product is so great that just being a member at the table where cards are dealt is kind of cool. Suppose Wilson chose instead to try and build a pro baseball or basketball franchise and achieved the same results as he has with the Bills. What is his reputation then? Buffalo sports fans are searching for horcruxs then, right?

  2. My memory about this may be mistaken, but I think there are 2 major reasons that RW made into Canton.

    1) He’s the only original AFL owner to still own his team in its original city. Goes to PKB’s point that it was congratulating him on making it “work” in Buffalo. His plan “B” city, too. He wanted to be in Miami originally.

    2) He had a hand in keeping both the Raiders and Jets afloat in the early years of the AFL, helping the league stick around, gain some credibility, and eventually become an equal to the NFL. If I remember correctly, Larry Felser’s book about the AFL goes into detail about this. At the time he was voted in, one of the voters mentioned to Peter King that this point was a big factor in him (and others) giving Ralph the thumbs up.