New Buffalo Bills starter Tyrod Taylor wants to be an exception. There haven’t been many successes at the position he’s staffing. Buffalo Bills quarterbacks who have led teams to the playoffs or at least been exciting to watch are as rare as a Donte Whitner tackle. It’s not to put any more pressure on Taylor than he’s already withstanding. But he can join an elite group merely by leading his team to the round of 12. He doesn’t have to do it all at once: the Tyrod era only starts on September 13. The journey of 60,000 season ticket sales begins with a single scramble.
Fans with a comprehensive knowledge of previous Bills seasons can count off the franchise’s great quarterbacks without needing to use the other hand. There’s Representative Jack Kemp, Arkansas Rifle Joe Ferguson, former USFL star Jim Kelly, a brief glimpse at Doug Flutie’s magic show, and… well, at least the list is easy to memorize. Even factoring briefer fun times like watching Drew Bledsoe sling it around for a little while, rarity makes the big completions stand out. Taylor’s goal should be to flood our memories with pleasant gains so as to make the achievements less distinct.
For this team, playing quarterback competently is a historical achievement. On the verge of its 56th season, the list of those who propelled the offense forward is unsettlingly brief. The guy on deck gets the opportunity of a career to lengthen it. Taylor has the potential to make Bills-connected brains happy if he impresses like he did during the preseason. Fans appreciate success because it’s been so rare. Nobody said learning gratitude would be fun.
A Swiss Army knife of a quarterback can do anything you’d like with the snap. Taylor’s uncommon versatility is the latest possible upside enticing fans waiting for a passing savior. Someone check if actually doing it is the easy part. These for whom the term “long-suffering” seems inadequate should know what it’s like to confuse memories of fine seasons. Don’t feel bad for, say, 49ers fans who forget how many Super Bowl rings Ronnie Lott won. It’d be joyous to experience similar confusion.
Taylor will be fine if he’s half as good as promised. Many reports about his ceiling sounded like hyping a playground legend. But he looks like someone who could snap defenders’ ankles on the field instead of just in tall tales, whether those attempting to tackle him or trying to cover his strikes. The erstwhile Ravens backup spent preseason displaying the ability to heave the ball accurately at distance and run it himself if the defense tries to limit options by hanging back. Perhaps the Bunyanesque legends about evading dozens of tackles before throwing the ball out of Virginia Tech’s stadium have some basis in truth.
Sometimes, hopes don’t match results. It’d be fun if X-ray glasses worked, but ads don’t always conform with reality. By using his time before his first Bills game to correct his trend of overshooting wideouts, Taylor may validate astounding claims. Proving his present 47.2 rating is just due to a lack of chances would be fun for us all. It’d be nice for a slogan to finally be truthful.
Historical trends don’t have to affect the present. Sure, franchises may engage in identifiable tendencies either inadvertently or by design. But nobody is doomed to a miserable future because the recent past has been memorable for unpleasant reasons. Any club can alter its talent acquisition process and strategy. Defying precedent is particularly achievable for a team undergoing upheaval in the best way. There’s no reason to accept being weighed down by the most important position because it’s already happened frequently.
Bills fans savor the chance to hear what could a remarkable story where an obscurely intriguing backup comes to a team as an afterthought and fills their biggest vacancy with aplomb. But he still has to tell it no matter how much we’d like to skip to the end. Taylor should feel heartened by the supporting cast: he’s surrounded by as many proficient teammates as a team can stockpile, from an embarrassingly promising youthful receiver platoon and all-world tailback to an offensive line that actually blocks. The passer should ideally get lots of help getting the ball back, as well, as this defense seeks to make it a point of pride that they only play for a minute or two at a time.
A man who’s already won a contest of skill should feel less nervous knowing everyone will be helping each other. This complementary team could simultaneously boost the entire enterprise to unfamiliar heights. The staff is going with more than a mere manager. Taylor doesn’t have to be a passenger, as he can deliver gifts via ground and air transport. He only has to be partly as awesome as promised to start making a dream come true. It’s not just his, either.