Second-guessing is the first hobby of restless fans. There’s no better way to spend the ghastly championship bye week dissecting just why a favorite team doesn’t have to fret about the possible burden of planning a parade. The Pro Bowl was typically useless as a time-waster, as not even Tre White can make pretend football thrilling.
Why not pass the minutes with envy? Buffalo Bills loyalists may have noticed one of the remaining quarterbacks was selected with a pick traded from their beloved side’s arsenal. It’s easy to shrewdly remember transactions when there’s double the usual time to fret. You don’t have to feel bad for followers of the teams enduring an excruciating interval to see if they’ll win a galactic championship in Miami.
Don’t you dare hurt Tre’s feelings. The aura of ingratitude among those upset at how life turned out casts a pall over the whole fanbase. Blame the sort of very appreciative folks who show up to the best cornerback’s Goalie Academy wearing soccer gloves.
Oh, right: the Bills got stuff back. It’s not like they just gave away the 10th pick. This isn’t Ryan O’Reilly we’re discussing. The Bills also acquired White’s fellow Pro Bowl attendee Tremaine Edmunds just in case anyone forgot half the exchange. That particular deal brought in a pair of virtually superhuman cornerstone defenders. And that’s before management followed the convoluted treasure map that led to discovering Dion Dawkins.
Did Buffalo end up with a quarterback of their own? I reviewed records from last season and one name kept popping up. Josh Allen offers the excitement of having the Joker as quarterback, and not the Jared Leto version, either. Grumbling makes it sound as if fans don’t enjoy chaos.
Swapping in a different passer is like presuming the game would’ve proceeded identically if a team had made a missed first-quarter field goal. Jeff Goldblum tried to teach us that there’s no way to keep dinosaurs from going bananas because it’s impossible to control what happens next, but we had to run for our lives because we foolishly didn’t heed the lesson.
You can spend this life wondering how it could’ve unfolded differently. But it’s healthiest to deal with what actually occurred. Don’t feel concerned about the timeline where Eric Stoltz stars in Back to the Future unless he can get to the past and alter it.
Mahomes may not have similarly impressed in blue. He would be in counseling after playing behind 2018’s offensive line, so neither him nor us should regret avoiding that scenario.
I want my Amazon package five minutes ago. I’m not blaming internet peddlers for society’s lack of patience: it’s Twitter’s fault, too. Everything needs to be known now. Letting a quarterback develop was for ancient times when phones were furniture.
There’s so much more ahead, which means we don’t have to reach conclusions now. That’s a relief of a copout. Proclaiming how careers will finish after two or three seasons is like predicting how the Beach Boys would’ve eventually sounded while Be True to Your School was a single. Nobody saw Pet Sounds coming. You may as well think a 16-point playoff lead is safe.
It’s tough to scoff at someone playing in the season finale. At the same time, we have to comfort ourselves somehow, so let’s pretend Mahomes has a limited future. Opposing coordinators could figure out his idiosyncratic mechanics. And customers could stop buying iPhones, too. But the continued dominance of present top quarterbacks is no more guaranteed than Microsoft’s one-time quasi-monopoly.
Fans should be discerning about which draft hindsight deserves indulging. The thought of Mahomes thriving in Buffalo is unlike, say, skipping Russell Wilson because they really needed T.J. Graham to not catch passes. But there’s all the difference between wondering and presuming.
Knowing just who would have drafted a potential franchise quarterback brings relief after shuddering. The AFC’s Super Bowl quarterback was selected before Brandon Beane was hired, as Doug Whaley was still ostensibly general manager. We would’ve been trusting the man who thought Sammy Watkins was worth it to choose the franchise’s intended messiah. Nobody should trust Michael Scott after he gives notice.
All it would’ve taken was a different draft pick to have the Bills playing this Sunday. And I’m only three years of law school away from becoming a lawyer. Disregard how frail this roster was at the time to complete the fantasy.
Magic bullet thinking doesn’t just plague sports: the notion that we were one grand gesture away was common in Buffalo while attempting to revitalize downtown, too. It was tempting to convince ourselves the next project would turn blight and vacancy into magical Gumdropland. But it takes more than a lone component to transform whether you’re giving people a reason to visit from the suburbs or assembling a roster.
Incumbent management wants you to believe a worthwhile plan takes a modicum of patience. There’s no certainty faith will pay off. But fans can see progress even if the pace feels relaxed.
We must believe waiting is rewarded as long as we’re doing what’s right. Attempts to speed have only slowed a franchise that’s often dashed backward. No, the Bills didn’t take Mahomes. They don’t have Travis Kelce, either, so envy of a Super Bowl participant can remain general.
Editor’s babble: Preach! The coulda shoulda woulda stuff drives me crazy. Thanks to Anthony Bialy, who always finds a way to drag us back into reality with a giggle. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.