If my inbox and voicemail are any indication, it sure seems like it. Every football fan that knows me decided to bombard my digital repositories with all sorts of unheard of accolades for our beloved football team after the preseason game against the Steelers yesterday.
Since the Super Bowl doesn’t happen in August, I’ll hold off on getting too far ahead of myself. However, truth be told it was a lot of fun watching all four Bills quarterbacks shred the Steelers defense with laser like throws that eviscerated them from start to finish.
It’s been a long time since the Bills have put that kind of hurt on an opponent in the manner they did, even if it was a preseason game. The Bills came to play, and delighted a crowd full of families with young children eager to see what a winning NFL football team looks like.
An entire generation of kids have yet to see what a winning team looks like at The Ralph. There are a lot of high school students in Western New York that have yet to see the Bills in a playoff game, let alone one at home. So when the Bills came out and dominated in a (meaningless) game the way they did against the Steelers, it brought out all sorts of great memories.
However, though memories do sustain us through tough times, the Bills are way past the point of sustaining us with visions of Jim Kelly dancing through our heads. When you look at the sidelines to see an older and wiser Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, and Jim Kelly, you know that even they want new faces for the Bills franchise as well.
Anyone with an ounce of football sense and an objective opinion that watched this preseason football game against the Steelers came away with one eyebrow raised. The offensive display that was put on without most of the star skill players on the field due to injury was remarkable, and the Steelers first string defense could not stop the Bills offense from moving the chains and scoring touchdowns, especially in the second half.
This just in, the Bills could be a really good football team this season. And if they do succeed in winning a lot of games, it will be because the ‘big uglies’ up front are making enough room for anyone under the age of 95 to look good in that offense. Whatever Doug Marrone failed to do with the offensive line last season has been completely rectified.
No doubt Richie Incognito and John Miller are a clear upgrade in either side of Eric Wood, but this line is now opening up holes the likes of which Bills fans haven’t seen since Kent Hull retired. Big, beautiful, HUGE holes.
It didn’t matter that the RBs who played after Fred Jackson left the field have only been on the team for a couple of weeks. The performance by this offensive line made them all look good. Even depth players look better this season than starters last year. What a difference a good offensive line makes!
Furthermore, if anyone is still wondering what a first class offensive coordinator looks like, look no further than Greg Roman. It’s cringeworthy when you compare this offense to the one that took the field the last couple of years. No offense to Nate Hackett either, he was clearly a ‘stoolie’ for Marrone.
Ahhhh… Marrone. I’m getting ready to put together some theme songs for the season and ran across one that I’ve used in the past, actually when Marrone was head coach for the Bills. However, this time it’s a theme song with a completely different context.
Here is what I will be playing in my head when the Bills take the field at Wembley Stadium in London facing the Jacksonville Jaguars in a sure to be fascinating matchup with Doug Marrone on the opposing sidelines later this year:
Why the fascination and feelings of revenge toward Marrone? Rationally, that’s a good question. As Bills fans, we should send him a bouquet of pretty flowers for abandoning his players without so much as a decent good-bye. I have a difficult time believing that song won’t be playing in the head of every player that he left for dead to ‘ski-daddle’ out of town.
Rex could take this team and win a Super Bowl, and I would bet a cup of Tim Horton’s finest that Marrone would somehow spin that into his being responsible for setting Rex up for success. Good old Saint Doug. Gotta love a guy that thinks Erik Pears could play guard.
But alas, Doug Marrone is no longer our nightmare. The Pegulas came along and saved us from a future with Bon Jovi or Donald Trump. So bright is our football future that we no longer have to suffer through second rate head coaches or worse, the team being ripped out of our souls and moved.
So, here we are on the precipice of what could be a season like one we haven’t seen for at least the better part of the last two decades. It’s such a foreign feeling that it would be understandable for skeptics to “not go there” and refuse to throw caution to the wind.
We’ve been burned by teams that looked good on paper from time to time. However, the part of the equation that changes this entire narrative has to do with a change in philosophy of ownership. The Pegulas are a different type of owner than Mr. Wilson was, and that is with no disrespect intended to either owner(s).
However, this team also has a few things going for it that has not been the case since the Super Bowl years. Both the offensive and defensive lines appear to be not only talented, but deeply talented. I completely subscribe to the belief that it’s what’s up front that counts on both sides of the ball, and we haven’t seen lines on both sides this good for many, many years.
Of course this talent all has to translate on the field when the games count. The AFC East is going to be a tough division for the first time since Tom Brady put a choke hold on the division a decade and a half ago. Every team in the AFCE is loaded on defense, which should make for some nasty divisional games this season.
As Bills fans, we have endured mediocrity at a level that would have made other fan bases dissipate years ago. Now we have a bunch of talented players to watch as they return us to our glorious destiny.
How many Bills fans can identify at least one member of their family and/or friends that died before they ever got to see the Bills raise a Lombardi trophy? “One for five before I die” is a legendary phrase in Western New York. I thought about my father and uncles after watching the Bills melt the Steelers, and smiled thinking how he would have reacted watching the game with me.
As we embark on what is truly a “new era” in Bills football, we should remember to enjoy this adventure for all those who could not be here to witness it in person with us. Don’t be afraid to go “all-in”, or you will miss the reason for the season. Our time has come.