Some people are fans of the Buffalo Bills. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Buffalo Bills. This 2016 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here. And buy Drew’s new book here.
Your team: Buffalo Bills.
Your 2015 record: 8-8, defending Stanley Cup Champions. Although your average Bills season is best measured not by wins and losses, but by parking lot fatalities.
I don’t even pay attention to the Bills on the field anymore. All the action is in the stands and the concourse, amigo. While Tyrod Taylor is uncorking a whopping 12 passes per game and the kicker is nailing himself in the fucking face, these fans are getting busy in the bathtub lab, manufacturing their own homegrown brand of Siberian excitement. We got hand-to-ass action!
We got slap fights!
We got cocaine, aka WHITE SNOW!
We got condiment orgies!
We got barf!
We got backyard rasslin’!
And, of course, we got straight-up fucking!
Short of winning the Super Bowl while playing in the nude, there’s nothing this team can do to upstage its own fans. Even LeSean McCoy getting in nightclub fights can’t gin up as much attention. This is a sad and hopeless franchise. What better way for fans to deal with it than by ignoring them and living inside their own drunken hallucinations? I salute these pathetic losers for finding an alternative outlet for their grief: hurting themselves on camera so that strangers on the Internet can watch. Sammy Watkins has you guys nailed:
The truth hurts, unless you’re already 30 Labatts into the morning.
Your coach: OW-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Yes, that’s right. The boys are BACK. Rex and Rob Ryan have finally joined forces to create the ultimate shit-talkin’, penalty-flaggin’, clock mismanagin’ team in football. Yes, you’re going to lose 10 games, but you’re gonna be loud as hell when you do it. Last year alone, this team was called for 18 penalties against the Patriots (14 accepted for 140 yards), and another 15 against the Eagles (105 yards). Playing for Rex Ryan means you gotta work twice as hard to get half as much yardage.
Like the fanbase that somewhat worships him, everything about Rex Ryan seems cool, but is not. It breaks my heart to tell you this, because I’ve loved Rex Ryan for a long time. But deep down, I know the truth: He’s a shitty coach, and he’s not THAT different from your average dipshit redneck football lifer. Here’s all the proof you require:
For every awesome thing Rex does, he does something else to negate it. He hires the first full-time female coach in league history, then gets in bed with Donald fucking Trump. He hands the offense over to Tyrod Taylor, then lets the front office lowball him all offseason. He gives the media great copy that they lap up like housecats, but then he forbids tweeting at practice. He supports his players, but then lets the team put out THIS ridiculous statement lighting into Marcell Dareus for his weed suspension. He trolls other teams by choosing gimmick captains, and then fucking loses to those same teams.
Rex’s only professional highlights come when he temporarily prevails over personal rivals: the Jets, the Patriots (although coming within 10 points of them counts as a moral victory to him), the refs, sensible timeout usage, etc. He’s that college coach telling you that your Rivalry Week game will redeem your 0-10 season. He’s a deluded retread, and I wish he were better than that. He can’t even beat New England when he gets a phantom whistle going his way. It’s sad shit.
Your quarterback: Tyrod Taylor, who just got handed the Kaepernick Escape Clause deal by his own team. They have about as much faith in him as I have asking my son if he washed his hands. Also, you’re only one bad snap away from THIS…
You know EJ will be back out there at some point. You’re destined to get a black QB like Tyrod hurt when you ask Richie Incognito to block for him.
What’s new that sucks: I hope you have a fetish for injured rookies, because Shaq Lawson has already had shoulder surgery, and Reggie Ragland just had his ACL piledriven through a folding table. Elsewhere, Karlos Williams got handed the same four-game snack break that Dareus got, which means the coaching staff will have even more excuses to grind McCoy into sausage meat.
You see how this works, right? The Ryan boys put up the illusion of good times while the team has already crumbled. They may as well be playing with one hand tied behind their backs.
What has always sucked: Doug Whaley! He’s still here! Jesus. Yes, the man who secretly cut Fred Jackson and openly admitted that humans shouldn’t be playing football is the man in charge of this mess. I find it odd that the Bills have a new owner that is adored by locals—mostly because he hasn’t had a chance to fuck them over yet—and yet that owner has left intact pretty much everything awful about the Bills: same shitty stadium, same shitty Buddy Nix protégé running the ship, same procession of failed recycled coaches. It’s like they were never sold. Trump would have at least added fake brass toilets.
One more thing that always sucks: Rex, on his old lady’s feet.
What might not suck: CARDALE! He’s here! Sure, he’s got the lumbering throwing motion of a Scottish caber tosser, but still! Tell me you don’t wanna see him out there. I’ll shit in my popcorn if he makes an appearance this season.
Let’s remember some Bills:
Hear it from Bills fans!
We’ve had more people fall from the top deck at Ralph Wilson Stadium than wins in the playoffs over the last 16 years.
Even Cleveland has a championship now.
The last time we had a home prime time game, two people died. Our home opener is a Thursday night game against the Jets. Shit.
A couple years ago the Bills booked a private screening at a theater I was working at. They called ahead of time and ordered 100 bags of popcorn. We spent the hour before they arrived popping a shit ton of popcorn and bagging it, so that when they showed up we could hand it out and get them into the theater as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, popcorn stays fresh FOREVER and this stuff was still warm when the team arrived. Sure enough, the very first player through the door dumped his bag out and asked for new popcorn because his wasn’t ‘fresh enough’. This led to THE ENTIRE TEAM doing this. I’ve never seen so much food wasted in my life.
They swarmed the concession stand wanting fresh popcorn and ordering everything under the sun (one guy ordered 5 hot dogs for himself). I got to argue with several multi-millionaires who tried to haggle over slushie prices, had a certain star player cut in line and demand that I drop what I was doing to help him, and saw a rookie give my 16 year-old co-worker his phone number. They left a huge mess in the theater, which I would’ve had to clean up on my own had Doug Marrone not stayed behind to help me clean. I don’t care what people say about him, that man is a saint and he was right to take the money and run. I have no idea why I’m still a Bills fan. It’s a sickness. Fuck this mediocre team.
Belichick is going to create a scheme that allows a struggling Jimmy Garoppolo to shred our defense a new asshole in week 4.
Western New York combines the brains of the South, the culture of the Midwest, the hospitality of New England and the climate of Hoth.
Our longest-tenured coach since Marv Levy is Dick Jauron.
Our longest-tenured QB since Jim Kelly is Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Relevant reminder: The 2014 Bills finished 9-7 with Doug Marrone - a head coach that was so in demand that, when he voluntarily quit with two years remaining on his contract, his next gig was coaching the O line for the Jags. Jim Schwartz led the defense to finish 1st in sacks, 4th in yards allowed, and 4th in points allowed.
Rex Ryan, lauded as some sort of defensive genius, showed up in 2015 and in his first news conference promised to, “build a bully.” The defense, with 9 of 11 starters returning, dropped all the way to 31st in sacks, 19th in yards allowed, and 15th in points allowed. The team finished 8-8.
What did we do to make sure 2016 would be different?
Bills 2016 Draft (* indicates pre-draft knowledge)
Round 1 – DE that needs surgery* and will likely start the season on the PUP list
Round 2 – Give up picks to move up and select an ILB that has an enlarged aorta*
Round 3 – DT that was arrested trying to pay an undercover cop $100 for a blowie*
Round 4 – QB whose ENTIRE college career totals are 11 starts, 15 TD, and 7 INT*
Round 5 – RB who got busted for DUI between mini camp and training camp
Round 6 – With two picks in this round, we take a WR and a CB despite having Watkins and one of the best young corner duos in Gilmore and Darby.
Post-draft, the right side of our O line remains a ham sandwich and a “look out” block. Oh, but the fucking cherry on top? The Wolfman/Fatter Twin is now here to make sure the defense continues to decline.
Every year my wife and I have a Bills opener party with our friends and family (Around 30-40 people attend). In 2014 the Bills opened in Chicago and ended up winning in overtime to start the season 1-0. I kid you not once the FG went through and Bills won, the celebration in our backyard might as well have been the equivalent of the Super Bowl being won. Champagne was being sprayed, people were running down our street with Bills flags it was crazy. To this day I’m not sure I have any other memory of my family being happy like that with the Bills. They finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. This was a good year by our standards.
Since the Bills last made the playoffs, I’ve finished elementary, middle, and high school. I started and finished college, was gainfully employed for four years after college, and am currently interning after my first year of graduate school. The other day I bragged that the Bills just had back-to-back non-losing season.
The Buffalo Bills fan-base is so stupid and drunk (myself included) that we think everyone is laughing WITH us about the table smashing and face planting tailgate antics. We are a caricature of all utterly ridiculous, pathetic fan bases. We have no hope, yet every year the Buffalo sports media convinces us that THIS is the year we turn the corner.
Last season, during a Patriots extra-point attempt, in other words, immediately following a Patriots touchdown, the Bills committed a taunting penalty.
When Buffalo played in Washington last season, my group and I heard a rumor that Scott Norwood was in the parking lot, so we drunkenly spent 15 minutes searching for him. We didn’t find him (nor could I have picked him out of a lineup anyway) but that was the highlight of the game: not finding Scott Norwood two hours before kick-off.
I can still remember watching the Music City Miracle happen before my eyes. I was a happy, somewhat unassuming 8-year old, watching the game at a friend’s house (the type of jerkoff who you feature on this very website for lighting himself on fire at a tailgate... he’s now in jail). As Derrick Mason crossed the goal line, my friend’s white-trash father finished his (probably fresh) beer, gently setting that empty can down, and walked out their front door without saying a word, his eyes staring vacantly into the abyss.
A part of my innocence died that day.
If you were to substitute face paint for Zubaz pants you would not be able to tell the difference between a Bills tailgate and a Gathering of the Juggalos.
Starting next season, Bills fans may have to specify which Clinton was President the last time they were in the playoffs.
Fuck Doug Marrone with a rusty, splinter-filled barrel. (And then send him over Niagara in it.)
I recently went into a Goodwill where I purchased a Doug Flutie jersey and “slightly imperfect” Hanes boxer briefs.
I have a box of T.O.’s cereal with Josh Reed’s autograph on it.
I actually went out of my way to buy one of those fucking chicken-wing hats the other day. Fuck me. Hopefully someone RKOs me into oblivion before I can get inside the Ralph and puke on my Zubaz.
They missed out on a golden opportunity to clear some serious acreage of dilapidated neglect and shame back when Ebenezer Wilson died. The mayor should have seized the team in the middle of the night and traded them to LA in return for their next devastating earthquake. With some sweet federal disaster relief cash and all kinds of One Buffalo love from the nation on Facebook, who knows what you could build? Maybe a grid-based infrastructure? Ever check out our streets on Google Maps? It’s Dark City, man. It looks like it was inspired by the web spun by a spider sucking Schnapps out of a bowling ball thumb hole and later given to Jackson Pollack to ink.
There’s no hope for Buffalo in its current manifestation. It’s such a total loss that its only humane and fully reasonable to root for a localized apocalypse to act as a cosmic Atticus Finch to put the mangy dog out of its misery and hope the bison phoenix that rises from those ashes is the long awaited and becharmed Buffalo 3.0. (It burned down once already.)
I say annex all the suburbs straight to and including Niagara Falls, condense it all into one municipality, build runways at the airport capable of landing something bigger than a damn jumpjet, and build a copy of Chicago’s CTA train system to unite it all. But what the hell do I know? I’m a Bills fan. My smoke detector is going off and I have a massive head wound.
After all that, why the Bills suck in 2016 has first and foremost to do with the simple fact that it’s helmed by a man with his head so far up his ass he’s chewing on his own goddamn teeth with a first mate who is a pear shaped glob of nepotism and molecularly rearranged crawfish corpses, both coaching a bunch of perennial Bad News Bears and Mighty Ducks rejects who are all perfectly and uniquely unqualified for the game of football. That’s why the Bills suck this year. Next year it will be because they ran the coaching staff out of town tarred and feathered after the inevitable trainwreck this year, leading to another 16 years spent twirling in the minor convection currents that spin off the main boiling mass of NFL parity. That middle of the road 6-10 record year in year out that alone guarantees a roster of draft busts, flameouts and misfires to keep them comfortably mediocre and shamefully irrelevant in the national spotlight for years to come.
Every time I think it cannot get worse, this team somehow finds a way.
There’s still a hole in the drywall at my dad’s house from the Music City Miracle. My preteen ears had never heard cursing like that before.
Orchard Park is pressuring residents living around the Ralph to waive their 4th Amendment protections against search and seizure. The town is playing the terrorism card in the NFL’s fight against the residents living around the Ralph earning some money allowing fans to park in their yards.
The one plus for living in the desolate neighborhood around the stadium is that eight days a year (seven during the years they were sleeping around with Toronto), you get to put a sign out front “Park Here $10" or whatever and take in some Christmas money from the fans before they pile drive each other and urinate on your lawn. Now the town, totally because of terrorism and not because the team is clamping down on lost parking revenue, is creeping on those residents’ constitutional rights. This dovetails nicely with the town’s stiff disdain for Bills fans and “those people”
And what about the terrorists? Based on Deadspin’s own reporting, Bills fans are the least likely group capable of terrorizing anything more than a folding table.
Also, Rex hired Rob after finding no other takers, which I guess fits in with the tradition of nepotism in New York. Fuck Doug Marrone. OJ Simpson’s name is still up on the wall.
Here is a comprehensive history of my memories as a Bills fan:
2002-2003: Bills miss playoffs. I’m really too doe-eyed and idealistic to remember much. They had a safety named Lawyer Milloy, which I thought was funny because his name was actually Lawyer.
2004: Need to beat the Steelers’ practice squad in a “win-and-you’re-in” scenario to make the playoffs. Still lose, and miss the playoffs. Think to myself that they will definitely get there someday, like within the next twelve seasons for sure.
2005: Kelly Holcomb might not be so bad!
2006: JP Losman actually might not be so bad!
2007: Trent Edwards might not be so bad!
Later in 2007: the Bills lost another must-win game that could’ve gotten them into the playoffs. This time, they lost 8-0 to the Browns. I don’t know how many other teams can put “lost a must-win game to the Cleveland goddamn Browns where the Browns didn’t even score a touchdown” on their resume, but I’d venture to guess we’re the only ones.
2008: At least Kevin Everett can walk again.
2009: Ryan Fitzpatrick might not be so bad!
2010: Trade a promising young RB in Marshawn Lynch to Seattle partly due to a rap sheet. Watch him become Beast Mode, but hey at least we have CJ Spiller, right? No way we can mess that up. At least we’re done with dealing with an enigmatic running back’s legal troubles, and this definitely is not a thing we will be dealing with six years from now, I reassure myself while rocking back and forth in a corner.
2011: The Bills put up a huge comeback win over the Patriots in which Tom Brady throws four picks. This remains the single greatest moment I have experienced in my lifetime as a Bills fan, because the only thing that has ever brought me joy with this stupid team has been the three or so times the Patriots haven’t totally crushed the Bills into the ground while pummeling them in the groin with underinflated footballs.
2012: FUCK YOU CHAN GAILEY AOIDYHVOSHIFIVOUHVODU I FUCKIN HATE YOU FUCCCCCCCJKKK
2013: EJ Manuel might not be so bad!
2014: Kyle Orton might not be so bad! And hey, our defense is good!
2015: Rex Ryan completely fucked up what seemed to be an unfuckupable defense. Also, the realization has hit that our fanbase’s biggest rival is inanimate objects.
Finally, here is a list of things I am looking forward to in 2016:
-The Ryan Brothers installing a defensive system that somehow manages to incur 100 yards in penalties before the opening kickoff even happens.
-Shady McCoy having a comeback year by leading NFL rushers in stats such as Cops Assaulted, Injuries Per Yard, and Orgies.
-That feeling as August rolls around of talking myself into Tyrod Taylor like the drunk guy looking around a near-empty bar at 2 AM.
-Knowing that once that fails, I’ll probably do the same thing for the QB that once boldly proclaimed about Ohio State that he “ain’t come to play school.”
-That through all of this QB hubbub, Sammy Watkins will run a perfect route and practically stand there wide open yelling “HELLOOOOO! THROW IT TO ME AND LET ME DO SAMMY WATKINS THINGS!” while we watch the ball sail some 10 yards over his head.
-Learning in Week 3 that Shaq Lawson’s knees are actually held together by a combination of popsicle sticks and lightly chewed bubble gum.
-Running out of running backs by week 10 because they’re all injured, in jail, or both.
-Knowing that there are only one of two outcomes to this season, as there has been every damn season I have followed this team: (1) the Bills start hot out of the gate and start looking like everyone’s dark horse postseason pick, capture the hearts and imagination of their entire fanbase, only to completely disintegrate by Week 9 and finish 7-9; or, (2) completely bumblefuck through September and early October, but then rattle off a ton of wins to be 7-6 and chomping at a playoff spot heading into Week 15. Then they lose 31-7 to the Browns and finish the season 7-9.
We’re a year or two away from reenacting the Battle of Carthage in Orchard Park.
It’s well known around here that the offseason is always a time of “THIS is the year!” positive thinking. Every draft pick is a star. Every contract signed won’t possibly backfire. That’s why the LeSean McCoy beating up cops thing was that much more hilarious. The story literally broke the morning after the Super Bowl, aka the first goddamned day of the offseason.
It’s also appropriate that Rex Ryan is this team’s coach. He’s the perfect mouthpiece for a delusional fan base, and he’s a Trump supporter, which makes perfect sense. Both are underqualified for the jobs they seek or hold, never shut up, have head-scratching support, and will ultimately fail miserably, but they’re such a trainwreck that one can’t help but tune in along the way.
While I’m thankful the Pegulas bought the team and kept them in Buffalo, watching what they are currently doing to my Sabres makes me feel like I’m being rescued from the Titanic by the Hindenburg.
We gave up a first round draft pick to draft Sammy Watkins without a real quarterback, which is sort of like a man with no arms splurging on a samurai sword.
Lots of teams could hire a coach, call him a “defensive mastermind,” then have the defense regress from 4th in the league to 19th or so. But it takes the Bills to then blame that entire slide on a single player who was being forced to play a style contrary to his own (Mario Williams, for those that don’t know) and follow that up with the hiring of another “defensive mastermind” who is, essentially, the 21st best defensive coordinator in football.
Lots of teams can make some contract decisions that push them right up against the salary cap. But it takes the Bills to spend that much on “talent” and end up at 8-8, forcing a massive player sale.
Lots of teams have shitty fans. But it takes the Bills to make a fan base so existentially nihilistic that they would rather give themselves alcohol poisoning in the parking lot than actually enter “The Ralph.” Speaking of which, after the game I would guess that 112% of all surfaces in Orchard Park will be covered in vomit.
Pretty much the only part of the Bills that isn’t the worst is the owner. Of course, that’s more a damnation of the NFL in general, because the owner is a self-serving asshole who made his money fracking before it was outlawed in New York. But the fans here love him because he “kept the team here.” Like anywhere else would want this shitheap of a team.
Fuck you to my parents for moving from Rochester to Buffalo three years before I was born. If I lived in Rochester I might have been spared and found a better use of my time than caring about professional sports in the Industrial Northeast. Fuck you to Jim Overdorf for being a fucking fraud and a tight ass who is afraid to spend any money. Fuck you to Ralph Wilson for being a cadaver with a football team for the last decade of his life and running Bill Polian out of town. Lastly, fuck you to me for buying season tickets this year. I can’t wait to see how the Bills turn this extremely talented roster into a 7-9 disaster. Black Tar Heroin is a wiser investment of my time and money.
If someone asked me if I would consider taking anyone under the age of 16 to Ralph Wilson Stadium on game day I would kindly tell them no fucking way.
Submissions for the Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: New York Jets.