Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thoughts on the Rose Bowl and the future imperfect of the Buffalo Bills

So Vince Young, UT-Austin QB, put on one of THE most amazing performances of any athlete ever in a team sport in the Rose Bowl. USC and any every college football fan in the universe knew that stopping Vince was the key to winning this game, but it didn't matter. He was awesome.

Basically, he was able to outduel Reggie Bush, the media-annointed USC player in the "it's a battle of this guy vs. that guy (neither of whom are ever on the field at the same time)" because as a QB Vince had the ball in his hand every play on offense, while Bush had to rely on play calling that allowed him to get the ball in positions where he could (football cliché alert) "make plays."

He was simply awesome. 467 yards of total offense. That's a video game like performance. And for those of you who voted on the over for Vince's rushing total (it was fifthfuckingtwo, HULLO?), congrats.

Of course after his amazing game and his amazing season and his team's national championship, Vince is now apparently leaning toward entering the draft. Vince if for some miracle you read this -- STAY IN SCHOOL.

You don't want to be a Saint or Titan. The Saints are in absolute disarray and who knows who's going to be your coach. The Titans ... Norm Chow = great. Jeff Fischer = very good. But Kris Brown = horrible running back. You can do better. And i cannot even name one of their wide receivers.

... Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills have done a good thing and dismissed President and General Manager Tom Donahoe. Yay! His teams' record of 31-49 after five seasons, his horrible coaching hires, aloof attitude, culture of secrecy and my-way-or-the-highway-arrogance finally got him fired.

Unfortunately, the Bills did a bad thing, too. They kept Mike Mularkey as head coach. Let's pile on the bad news: Greatest Bills coach in history Marv Levy has been brought in as G.M. UGH? I love Marv, but he's 80. Admittedly, I hate old people, but I don't hate Marv, but what is going on? I know the owner Ralph Wilson wants a man he can trust, trust is love man, but Marv, who has been out of football for like 8 years? Here are some e-mails on that exchanged between my friend jon and i:

Jonathan H:
As for Marv, imagine how fucking bad that guy wants to win a Super Bowl.

you're right about marv, too bad it ain't gonna happen.

Jonathan H:
Ye of little faith. Come on. Don't you know?: When it's too cold for them,


OK, not sure what that has to do w anything - except that it is like 20 degrees today - but I like that Marv is back.

i love marv, but i do NOT like that he's back in this role. he's not plugged into the NFL that much anymore. he's not exactly a "fresh start." and how seriously will he be taken among GM circles.

and they still have mularkey so who gives a shit who they get. they have a coach who ain't that good on the sidelines and j.p. at QB. i still like JP's future honestly (even in light of my vince young wishes) but he's not in a good situation or with a good coach for him. mularkey's offense is a piece of shit. and since mularkey has to win to keep his job, he won't play losman meaning more mediocrity with holcomb, more flesh wasting by losman and tons of divided bitterness for the team.


go stallions/blizzard/wings/destroyers!

Jonathan H:
It's not like Marv has been dog-sitting in the Dominican for eight years. He's been calling games, and he's a smart dude. I don't think any other GMs would be disrespectful to him. It also doesn't matter that much - the NFL doesn't make as many trades as, say, baseball or hockey does. Interfacing w other GMs isn't that huge a percentage of an NFL GM's job.

I don't think that Marv is being brought in to be the prototypical GM, though. I think he's just supposed to be a stabilizing force. On paper, the organization has people who are good or adequate at their jobs/positions. Marv had a way, as coach, of making players/people who were good on paper ACTUALLY be good.

When Modrak suggests a personnel decision, Marv will ask him:
Will he fit in w player X?
Does he have the right (or any) character for this team?
Will Mularkey be able to coach him?

For whatever Marv doesn't know, he'd still know if someone were half-assing.

And when Mularkey decides to run Shelton or Shaud in third and goal - or any other of Mularkey's asinine in-game decisions - Marv will question him. His good personhood, or whatever, will help him to say some dicey things to Mularkey and yet keep the relationship working.

As for the QB situation, I don't want to see Holcomb starting, either. The team has lost a year at that position. Holding an 'open competition' in camp next year is the right thing to do. If Holcomb wins the job, then we get a new starter the following year. What a mess.

But who knows - Marv could tell Mularkey that if the team wins seven w Losman, he'll in a word for him w Ralph. I'd settle for seven wins w Losman. As long as Levy can win Mularkey's trust, the team will be in a good way.


it's weird how you and i have flipped on the bills. Coming into this past season, which ate my feces, you were more skeptical and i was drinking the Kool-Aid. Now i am bordering between EXTREME VITRIOL and apathy toward the bills.

Mularkey has lost the team to me. He doesn't get along with McGahee or seemingly Losman or Evans (all three questioned the team's playcalling this year). That's supposed to be the future. I am sure the team also really appreciated the HUGE tactical advantage we got by not naming our starting quarterback. Once a shitty coach loses his team, he won't get them back by dumping Eric Moulds.

And so if Marv isn't a traditional GM then what's the point? We don't want to become one of those organizations that has divided leadership. Yeah, it's good to separate business stuff from Football decisions, but there needs to be a clear hierarchy on football decisions. Granted I am an admitted agist, but two 80+ year-olds watching film and shit doesn't inspire tons of confidence. And not to be morbid, but how long
will Levy steer this ship? Is it any good to have a placeholder GM for a couple years. Will players want to get on board with an organization in a state of permanent flux. I feel like Wilson "settled" for Marv as GM, b/c Marv would go along with Wilson's decision to keep Mularkey. I think any other competent GM would never take the job b/c Mularkey eats ass, and the new GM would want to bring in his own coach, who doesn't suck/eat ass.

It pains me to say all this about Marv, b/c I love Marv. But the Bills are bigger than anyone individual and I care more about the Bills than Marv (in the professional sense, i obviously don't want Marv to have a coronary b/c he's putting in 90 hours a week). I just don't think Marv is a great fit. Sure he's not out-of-touch completely and there are fewer trades in football, but he said himself that he's got to get
more familiar with personnel. If he's going to have final football authority, which the News articles said he would, then he cannot solely rely on Tom Modrak, who, btw, has been very hit and miss. I wouldn't have minded him getting shitcanned in the least.

I feel like the Bills had really reached rock bottom and rather than jettison all the anchors who dragged them down they're trying to inflate them with hot air. Who fucking knows? It's all GINORMOUSLY disappointing to me.

Jonathan H:
Yeah, I dig. We have flipped. Makes for good back-and-forth.

Just for the record, in general I am not optimistic about next year, chiefly bc Mularkey is still here. I am trying to find the good points, of which there aren't many.

You're right about Modrak, too. He is no John Butler.

And the whole thing is pathetic in the sense of why Marv is here at all -- not that he's incapable, but obviously, he's pretty old and there are people who are more dialed into the league:
It's like Ralph broke up w his girlfriend and he's lonely and afraid and so he does what men do when they are being pathetic - he reached out to an ex bc it would be easy and safe and familiar. He and this organization have been burned that badly.


the ex-girlfriend metaphor is purrfect.

..... So my hope now is that Vince Young stays in school for his senior year and then the Bills go down in major infamy and score the perfecto 0-16 next year, thus guaranteeing the Bills the first pick in the draft in April 2007. Two things at that point. If we're 0-16, we know that J.P. ain't the guy, which I would be sad to see, but if you can get a better Michael Vick (way more accurate, basically as fast, much stronger, less arm strength, but strong enough), you get him.

Here's Jon's take on Vince:

As yr friend, I'm going to advise you to get off the Vince Young bandwagon before it crashes into a wall of preseason-caliber defense personnel who are going to expose him as Kordell Stewart part II. ..Eh, maybe I'm just being contrarian, now that I keep thinking about it.

So who knows what's going on in sports with me anymore.

Final Rose Bowl thoughts: For the record, I'm acknowledging my incorrect prediction. I had said USC 45 Texas 31. And thanks sincerely to USC and Texas for a game that honestly lived up to the game-of-the-century type hype.

1 comment:

krazybarrister said...

marv is good for the bills. donahoe was all about himself, and that does not a team player make. as for mularkey, i still have high hopes for him next year, and this off-season should be a good one.