It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many fans of the Buffalo Bills when ESPN.com recently ranked them 25th in ‘power rankings’ after making the playoffs last season for the first time in nearly two decades. Seems jettisoning quarterback Tyrod Taylor and drafting Josh Allen apparently put reasonable doubt in the mind of most pundits. Fair enough.
It’s not like most who follow the Bills don’t already get why doubters outweigh dreamers when it comes to anything relating to Buffalo sports. Most of us are still trying to adjust to the fact the Sabres won the draft lottery. Things just don’t go our way like this – ever.
The ‘McBeane’ twins have shown a tendency to be quite calculating when it comes to setting expectations, unlike previous regimes in the Bills’ front office. Thank goodness the days of Rex Ryan’s bloated promises are a fast-fading memory.
This head coach and general manager function much more like CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who know how to manage shareholder expectations. The lower the bar is set, the easier it is to meet or exceed said expectations.
Furthermore, when it comes to something as worthless as “power rankings”, one has to make the most of this useless data by at least bringing some humor into the discussion. The folks who pontificate and publish this stuff clearly despise the unpredictable, judging from where they currently rank the Bills.
Apparently Buffalo is being banished to the 25th and below tier, reserved for teams who dare to reinvent themselves, or draft a polarizing quarterback prospect.
I remember a time a couple of decades ago when the opinion of national media sports analysts meant something to me. Now? Not so much. There are several local Western New York sports journalists who have a much greater sense of the pulse of the teams they cover and are far more knowledgeable on the day to day operations of the teams.
We’ve also learned over the years there are other fan benefits from low expectations of success. Not only is it self-preserving in terms of sanity, it also makes the inevitable crash and burn less painful.
When you’re made of 90% scar tissue as famously mentioned by Steve Tasker when asked about the soul of Bills fans – the next burn doesn’t feel quite as painful because there’s no nerve tissue left to feel it.
So the next time you click on a sports page and see power rankings, let yourself have a good laugh at this exercise in futility. It’s only slightly more ridiculous than putting out a mock draft for 2019 in May of 2018.
But hey, we allow ourselves to get twisted up in all this meaninglessness as an escape from reality, so perhaps we should expect the ridiculous – heck – maybe learn to fully embrace it.
As for how the Bills may fare this upcoming season, your guess is as good as any at this point. Living at a time in sports history when an NHL expansion team is this close to winning a Stanley Cup championship in their first year of existence – anything’s possible.
Editor’s babble: The only ranking I’m interested in right now is how the Bills’ rookie draft class ranks after their upcoming ‘mini-camp’. The rest is just noise at this point and my elderly brain can only handle so much. If you haven’t had enough sarcasm, you can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.
*Views expressed by authors may or may not be necessarily shared by the owners of the BillsMafia.com website.