Scouting the stadium last Tuesday night as U2 opened their show in Orchard Park, New York with the classic timeless anthem Sunday Bloody Sunday, only after a classic Waterboy’s tune, The Whole of the Moon, engaged the crowd. That show was the season prior to the “Almost A Dynasty” team winning their first division title and playoff appearance. Continuing that trend, that classic concert at The Old Aud was a season before Thurman Thomas, doubted by so many after a blown out knee on his Barry Switzer and Barry Sanders loaded college team, dropped to the awaiting Bills eager to grab him in the second round of that NFL draft.
Continuing my visual inspection of the stadium quickly turned to Buffalo Bills football introspection, knowing that as soon as the concert concluded, the conversion to the home opener turf was on deck. Many great memories right here back in the 80’s and 90’s defined my early days as a loyal fan. Unfortunately many Sunday Bloody Sundays have occupied this stadium throughout the embarrassing playoff drought this millennium.
Fans celebrated New England’s opening loss ruining any chance of a perfect season as well as giving Buffalo a chance at the division. This is easy to do before a snap of the ball has taken place. Winning the division would take much more than a poor season by Tom Brady and the Patriots. Buffalo would still need to figure out how to crush projections by winning double digit games. The five to seven win forecasts for Buffalo would need to be totally incorrect.
The problem that I had with Kansas City winning that game was that we traded for their number one pick and the one game I wanted The Patriots to actually win was the game against the Chiefs. One game in New England’s 15 plus years of winning seasons that I actually preferred a Pats victory and they came up short. I was hoping for the Chiefs to have an unlike Andy Reid coached season and finish with a losing record. With Buffalo holding that first round pick they acquired from the Chiefs, obviously the worst record that the Chiefs have, the better draft pick Buffalo has to choose a future player or use as a trade asset.
Putting aside the draft pick previously discussed for a moment, it was enjoyable witnessing the Patriots not able to pull off the comeback as Brady tossed zero TD passes while rival Alex Smith threw for four touchdowns. Smith is attempting to show his team that drafting a quarterback was not needed as he had lost his starting position in San Francisco and would very much like to refrain from repeating history. Four touchdowns against Bill Belichick, a college offense game plan. Halftime adjustments proved ineffective. Well done Chiefs, reward yourself becoming complacent, with a nice extended losing streak. That goes for both teams while I am distributing unrealistic requests.
Not too shabby. Join me celebrating the return of football with a little “shuffle step dance” routine only to be followed up by a classic moonwalk.
- The process of team captains has changed drastically. Rex Ryan announced new captains for each game based on players who may have played on the opponents team previously or went to college in the town they were visiting. Various ways a player had some connection to the particular game or opponent came in to play for the past two seasons. Moving forward, the players nominated the current team captains for the 2017 season. The captains are Tyrod Taylor, Kyle Williams, Eric Wood, Lorenzo Alexander and kicker Stephen Hauschka. Your guess is as good as mine as to how injuries or even a player being replaced as a starter would be handled. That will not be one of the biggest decisions management will have to deal with this season.
- Marcell Dareus, recently limited in action due to a hip injury, was confirmed ready to start by coach Sean McDermott prior to the victory over the Jets. Dareus was questioned after the Bills victory about his less than normal amount of snaps taken during the game. Dareus said he is onboard with whatever the coach needs of him for the ultimate success of the team. Looking back at others on the Bills as well as McDermott coached the defense in Carolina and he definitely rotates players early and often keeping them fresh. My initial thoughts that Dareus was being underplayed due to issues off the field or clashing with the coaching staff, do not appear accurate based on how he uses other players. Whatever McDermott did, he should stick to that plan.
- E.J. Gaines emerged as a solid starter at right cornerback opposite rookie Tre’Davious White. Gaines was in competition with Shareece Wright for that starting spot.
- Just 22 players from last year’s roster were still on Buffalo’s roster heading into the 2017 season opener against the Jets. Every change does not appear to have been easy to make, endure or understand. Coach McDermott and GM Brandon Beane do believe every individual change made was necessary for the betterment of the team as a whole. ‘The Whole of the Moon’ was not playing as part of introductions as our Bills rushed out on to the field this past Sunday. The players who were part of the greatest comeback ever game were present celebrating the historical game. The depth of that team was second to none, as Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett did not play and Thurman Thomas only played part of the game. It is very special recognizing those great Bills teams of the late 80’s and 90’s, but I am ready to celebrate current success finally and stop living for the glory days.
Next up for the first place Buffalo Bills is the coach, GM and some players former team, the Carolina Panthers. I could not resist saying first place knowing the situation with Miami not playing and the Jets almost not qualifying as an NFL opponent. Before you ridicule me keep in mind I did not call the Bills undefeated which was my first thought.