Ralph Wilson speaks as if he's the Great Sympathizer.
But Ralph Wilson acts as if his team's fans do not even exist.
By retaining head coach Dick Jauron, Wilson backhanded the Bills' fan base yet again. The 90-year old owner simply does not care at this point. He's emotionless. Out in Denver, a coach with two Super Bowl rings is fired. Across the state, a coach with two winning seasons in three years is canned. But Orchard Park, N.Y. continues to be a desolate, archaic shell where there is no accountability and no expectations.
Nine straight playoff-less seasons has made Ralph immune to losing. He has forgotten that wins and losses matter more than dollar signs. Every year, we must hear Ralph whine about Buffalo's small market. He says the team had no choice but to conduct the eight-game Toronto Series to generate revenue. The economy. The small city. Wilson boo-hoo's himself in a sea of tears every year. Wilson doesn't care about the Bills anymore. Through the Bills epic collapse of eight losses in 10 games, Wilson laughed to reporters after games. He's a corporate scrooge.
Oh sure, he says he "shares the fans' dissatisfaction." But it's merely more Ralph Nonsense.
How can you take an owner serious when he cries about the finances of his team while simultaneously slapping his own name on the stadium instead of a big-money sponsor?
Keeping Jauron as head coach was the last straw. The Bills lack talent, no doubt. But it starts at top. Three straight 7-9 seasons and the biggest collapse in team history should have sent Jauron back to the Coordinator Central. But Wilson refused to pay off the reported extension he haphazardly gave to Jauron earlier in the season. It would have been easy. It's what the fan base was screaming for. Anybody that truly believes Jauron is the right man for the job is probably also waiting patiently for J.P. Losman to develop.
You can count five distinct points just this season where Jauron could've been fired on the spot. The Monday Night Meltdown against Cleveland. Back-to-back three-point clunkers to San Francisco and Miami. His inexplicit decision to pass the ball with 2:06 left at New York. Last weekend's dreadful effort. Again and again, the Bills fell to new lows. The win at Denver was nice, but in retrospect that was a mere aberration. Buffalo finished 7-9, but it played like a 3-13 team. Winless in the division, Buffalo took advantage of an oh-so easy September schedule to race to 4-0. And reality set in from there.
From every possible angle, the decision to keep Jauron makes no sense. Who on earth is going to purchase season tickets when the owner is trying to drive the team to Canada, while simultaneously keeping a perpetual loser as head coach? Barring a trade, the Bills probably won't address their most glaring need this offseason --- a playmaker at wide receiver. Ralph is too cheap to even consider signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Buffalo won't draft a receiver high. Geez, if this team gives Jauron nine lives, who knows how many chances James Hardy will get to win the No. 2 WR job. Never mind that he's often looked like a basketball player trying to play football.
The Buffalo Bills keep running in circles and nobody knows why. Really, the answer's simple. Ralph Wilson doesn't care anymore. The team doesn't even have a proven general manager making decisions, merely leftovers from the failed Donahoe/Levy regimes that were promoted. Outside of Orchard Park, the Cleveland Browns have Scott Pioli on the mind. Wilson hasn't considered rebuilding his own team from the top.
The Bills need a full-scale overhaul. A new personnel man, G.M., head coach, every single important role must be changed. But that costs money. Costs time. A decade shy of 100, Ralph Wilson doesn't think about the team's future. Doesn't care, really. Because if he did, the Bills would be pushing hard for Bill Cowher, Eric Mangini, Marty Schottenheimer, Josh McDaniels or Steve Spagnuolo right now.
We'd be dreaming of a McDaniels-Cassel Era or Mangini's Revenge or Marty Ball 4.0 or Cowher being the new face of this blue collar town.
Instead we're left to wonder if Wilson will simply pay up for some free agents the Bills desperately need. Here's a hint: Don't count on it.