A Plea for Patience

Please welcome Steve Brown to the Billsmafia.com blogger crew. Steve approached me (Del) yesterday with an idea for a post that was admittedly “not a popular opinion.” I agreed to post it and now it’s up to you read it and weigh in. Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts on Steve’s take!

Nix preaches consistency as the key to a turn around. (Photo by John Kryk)
“Nix preaches consistency as the key to a turn around.” (Photo by John Kryk)

The Buffalo Bills have been stuck in mediocrity for 13 years. They have not been good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to garner a top 3 draft choice. They never hit rock bottom but have barely sniffed the playoffs. Buddy Nix has asked for the proud fans of this team to be patient.

Buffalo Bills fans have been patient. If it wasn’t for their extreme loyalty this teams fan base would not have persevered. They continue to do well at the gate despite their failures to compete. Every state in the country seems to have loyal Buffalo Bills backers filling bars and restaurants every Sunday all hoping to see this team regain its previous glory.
In Nix’s defense he hasn’t been leading this team for the past 13 years, he has only had 3. The patience he is asking for is necessary. Nix has improved this team’s talent level and it is only a matter of time before it shows in the win loss column. That brings us to Chan Gailey.

Nix preaches consistency as the key to a turn around. My research shows that he just might be right. It takes time to turn around an NFL teams fortunes. How much time? Well, it seems 4+ years is a good estimate. Stability is a key ingredient to success in the NFL. However in a “what have you done for me lately?” league patience is not something that fans are willing to give.
Bills fans are calling for Gailey’s job as they did with the coaches before him. The last coach to complete a 4th season with the Bills was Marv Levy who combined with 4th year GM Bill Polian led that team to the Super Bowl in their 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th seasons with the team.

You don’t need to only look at past Bills teams to find the pot of gold after year 4. Jimmy Johnson took over a dismal Dallas Cowboys team and led them to the Super Bowl in his 4th year at the helm. Ex Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher made his first Super Bowl appearance with the Steelers in his 4th year. His Predecessor, Chuck Knoll, was 14-30 before enjoying his first winning season and then went on to win Super Bowls in his 6th, 7th, 10th and 11th seasons. Patience was paramount to the success of these coaches.
You can certainly find examples of coaches having success in years 1-3 but I assure you this is the exception and not the rule. Jon Gruden inherited Tony Dungy’s Buc’s and won a Super Bowl in his first year as head man. Gruden also kept Dungy’s defense staff in place. He simply provided the necessary ingredient to get enough out of that offense to win a Super Bowl. That team did not need to be rebuilt. The aforementioned Dungy had his best record with the Bucs in year 4 and with the Colts, year 4.

The examples are endless.

"Gailey has made mistakes and cost his team games. He has also made decisions that have won this team games." (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
“Gailey has made mistakes and cost his team games. He has also made decisions that have won this team games.” (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

It took Tom Coughlin 3 years in Jacksonville to have a winning season. His 4th year in New York produced a Super Bowl. Mike Dikta’s 4th year with the Bears saw his team do the Super Bowl shuffle. Jeff Fisher spent 5 years battling through losing seasons with the Oilers/Titan before their Super Bowl appearance in his sixth season. It took Mike Holmgren 4 years to reach 10 wins in a season and in his fifth he won a Super Bowl with the Packers. Holmgren then went to coach the Seahawks and in year 5 finally hit the 10 win mark, in year 7 he made an appearance in the Super Bowl. Bill Parcells went to the Super Bowl in his 4th year with the Giants and the Patriots. What did Sean Payton do with his 4th year for the Saints, he won the Super Bowl.

Patience.

When systems are constantly changing it is difficult to compete at a high level. This Buffalo Bills team is on the right track. The talent level is higher; the offense is competing with holes at WR and an average QB. The defense, in its first year under Dave Wannestedt, has greatly improved in the second half of this season.

Gailey has made mistakes and cost his team games. He has also made decisions that have won this team games. Give him more time and we will see more of the latter. Every coach makes bad decisions the ones who become great learn from them. If we start over again, the cycle will continue and this playoff drought may never end.

All we need is patience.

What do you think? Does Chan Gailey just need a fourth year? Or is it time for Nix to make a move at the head coaching position?

About Stephen Brown

Stephen R. Brown is a software developer from Buffalo, NY. He went to school for communication and media arts but transferred to Information Technology for the opportunities that it provided. Stephen has been published in the Tonawanda News and the Metro Community News covering High School football in the past. Growing up in the glory days for the Buffalo Bills, he enjoyed the highs and the lows of the Super Bowl years. His passion and love for the team has not wavered despite years of recent failures. Stephen is thankful for the opportunity to be able to contribute to BillsMafia.com and share his passion with an audience. Follow him on Twitter at @steve1974b.

9 Replies to “A Plea for Patience”

  1. Well, after that compelling case made, I can’t see how Nix can’t give Gailey a 4th season. Would be a shame if he cut him loose, never knowing if the magical 4th year proved to work once again in this league.

  2. i agree to an extent. consistency is a good way to prosper but when things arent showing much promise in the win column you cant keep going oh next year oh next year. look at the harbaugh’s both are good coaches haven’t been with the team an extremely long time. then you have the lions head coach. the lions broke their playoff drought last year. Also they have a franchise qb. Coaches come and go you need a leader who can motivate your team. since most of the pros dont have the mentality any more to want to win it makes it that much more important to find a coach who is willing to do what it takes to get his team amped for the game. We as bills fans deserve the best, we are some of the most dedicated fans in history. Then you can count on us being in those bleachers every game. 13 years is well past due of something great and something to cheer for. this organization was once something to be proud of. now it’s incredible how keep them in business. so whenever i hear the organization telling us to be patient i take it as a slap to the face. WE have been… DO your job! Dave’s 2nd half this year has been better from a performance standpoint but look at what teams we have faced the second half. We all see it too Dave’s blitz percentage is like 10%. Chan is struggling to make a logical call on 3rd and 1. then before half we dont try to get 7 points we concede to what we already have. how many times have you seen us not convert when passing on critical downs? Also remember when our almighty coach said we arent gonna rely on fitz and have him shoulder the weight? Isn’t that what your supposed to rely on most in your offense is the qb? wasn’t that a clear indicator that fitz cant handle the offense. when you can’t rely on him to even have a winning game when throwing over 30 times, and when your coach evens says we dont want fitz to shoulder the weight. Then we have one of the most productive two back system in the league but yet we go back to a majority of pass play calls over runs? i dont get it…..i hope someone can explain to me why this coach is “our coach”? why is fitz our guy at qb? we’ve seen him when we need him most to pull us out and make a drive. it ends up in the other teams hands 90% of the time. You know the quotes what have you done for me lately league and its a quarterback league. There is a reason for that. We are jaded to the fact of its pro football. We pay these people we give them our money. We deserve more!

    • I completely agree with you, Nick. As a Bills fan since the day I was born, I have been patient!! That’s all I know. Chan continues to belittle CJ every Sunday claiming, “He’s winded,” after just a single run for 13 yards. Please! Are you kidding me?! He’s a pro running back that has shown he is the guy that could probably win games unlike our QB that has perfect opportunities to win games for us, but instead he throws INTs to end the game. Don’t talk about having patience with this terrible coach. I would say 13 years is enough patience that we Bills fans have shown.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I will try to respond to some of your points.

      John Harbaugh took over a team 1 year removed from a 13-3 season. I will argue that defense was in place long before he arrived and point to Ozzie Newsome for their continued success. Not to take anything away from John Harbaugh, he has done a good job. As for Jim Harbaugh, I believe he is one of those exceptions to the rule.

      I don’t know what we as Bills fans expected from Dave W this year. It is technically the teams first year in this system and in the past 13 years we went from 3-4 to 4-3 to 3-4 and now back to 4-3. Especially on Defense system is crucial. Look at the Ravens, Look at the Steelers for examples. rookies can come in and dominate for those defenses because they have an established system and veterans that know that system so well and can be field generals out there.

      I don’t always like Chan’s decisions but I will tell you he is the first coach we have had over this span that hasn’t made me throw something(yet). Whenever a hard decision comes up in a game I ask myself what I would do so I dont fall victim to hindsight and I agree with him more then his predecessors.

      The fact is turning to a new coach again will lead to new systems and time to learn those systems. Lets continue to get the pieces in place, gain some stability and get this team back to relevancy.

      Positive thoughts produce positive results…YES WE CHAN!!!

  3. Our defense has definitely improved in the second half. I’m not even mad at it. We are actually seeing the results of the big contract deal with Mario Williams. Our offense, on the other hand, sucks and continues to do so!!! I am sick of being “patient” with Fitz and Chan. Chan continually decides to place our most explosive player on the sidelines during close games (Rams game, where he only touched the ball 8 times). If they gave the ball to CJ at least 14 times, we would have won some, if not all of our close games. Does anyone remember the Titans game? How about the Patriots game IN NEW ENGLAND ever? I would be patient if he did learn from his mistakes, but it’s the same story every damn Sunday! “Oh wow! Running the ball is working…. So I think I’m going to pass and let Fitz throw a game ending INT…. yeah yeah that makes sense,” said no good NFL coach ever.

  4. Hi,

    this would be all fine and good,only IF chan was a winning and competent coach!
    chan is TERRIBLE and needs to get FIRED like today! He is ruining our team
    and once again we are out of playoffs for 13 year in a row.

    REALLY good coaches like Jon Gruden, mike holgren, tony dungy are elite, and KNOW HOW TO WIN! They cannot even compare to chan’s lunacy!

    So 4th year or not, we are only going to slide into further black hole of oblivion and stay at the bottom of the barrel in AFC if we let chan stay around.

    The fans and players DESERVE to win, and WIN NOW! Kick chan to the curb, he DOES NOT BELONG as head coach of any NFL team.

    We need someone good, like Perry Fewell. Bring back Marv Levy or/and Jim Kelly to put their input into offense so we can finally get the glory back!

    GO BILLS!

    P>S> please get us a WINNING QB while you are at it.

    Thanks

  5. Pingback: Hard to Billieve | Bills Mafia -- #BillsMafia

  6. I am one who says be careful for what u wish for. I have grown up a Bills fan since I saw OJ run through the Jets in December 1973 while getting to 2003 yards. I will never say I hate this team because I never will hate them. But I do hate losing. Does it all rest with Chan? No this 2012 edition has plenty of blame to go around from bad defensive coaching, bad decision making on game days and poor execution by a back up QB who is starting. Yes Ryan provided a spark but that was all it was. When the players are as frustrated as the fans something is wrong. So it points back to the coaching staff. If Chan gets 1 more year he BETTER fire Dave W. and replace Fitzpatrick not with a has been (Vick, Smith, Jackson). A new fresh face. I would try and trade for Cousins in DC if possible but not likely. We do need a MLB (Teo) but I am all for firing Chan as long as we can get someone better (Chip Kelly, Gruden etc.)