Optimism surrounding NFL teams is at its highest at this point in the offseason. The inadequacies of the roster and the blunders from last season are in the rear view mirror. The Bills have just concluded their voluntary mini-camp, the draft is quickly approaching, and training camp and the preseason aren’t too far away.
At mini-camp, the buzz was all about the tempo. Practice was fast, with the expectation that the players will be trained to play at a faster pace than their opponents. Mario Williams even giddily laughed when he was asked to describe how different the defense would be this season than Dave Wannstedt’s vanilla 4-3 scheme.
The new regime at One Bills Drive, from the top of the organization to the coaching staff, has shifted the focus of the franchise to building a perennial contender.
Doug Marrone and his coaching staff decided to make a statement through the facility décor. A giant Lombardi Trophy hangs in the field house above an end zone along with championship banners from past Bills teams. Mottos such as “Don’t confuse effort with results,” and “know your role, do your job” are painted on the walls.
Everyone, from the players to the coaches to the executives, wants the Bills to win.
But that winning hasn’t occurred in Buffalo since 2004 on a 9-7 season that didn’t include the playoffs. The Bills haven’t played in a playoff game since the 1999 season, a game Bills fans know all too well.
Watching the Bills fall on their face after a 5-2 start in 2011 was a serious body blow to my psyche. Witnessing the Patriots score 45 points to Buffalo’s 14 firsthand in the second half of the September 30th game last season was embarrassing. Then the 49ers and Seahawks stomped our team in two more horrific games.
2011 and 2012 ended as two more Bills’ seasons without the playoffs. We were stuck watching other teams play through January and harbored that empty feeling of pain and frustration.
Enough is enough. This city and fan base loves its team. We want this team to win but have little to no control over the situation. All of our excitement, frustration, and energy are hardly put to use. We watch, cheer, jeer, and then do it all over again.
The energy I get from the Bills, positive or negative, will finally be put to use.
Starting today, I am running at least one mile until the Bills make the playoffs. This could last as little as eight months or another thirteen years. All in all, I’m pretty much betting on the Bills making the playoffs sooner rather than later.
The draft is next week and will hopefully make this team a little bit better. I believe they are a little better than they were last season already, and I have faith in the new coaching staff. I’m all in on these Bills winning. My legs are counting on it.
The Bills Playoff Run Streak stops for nothing but a playoff berth. How sweet it will be when they finally clinch!