Brady, Pats Have Big Edge Against Outgunned Bills
By Tony Farina
Here’s an interesting tidbit as the Bills get ready to host the New England Patriots on Sunday kicking off the 2013-14 season: when Tom Brady took over as the Patriots’ starter in 2001, Jeff Tuel, who as of press time could become the NFL’s first undrafted quarterback to start in Week 1 directly out of college, was the ripe old age of 10.
Just for the record, the Patriots with Brady at quarterback have won 9 of the last 10 division titles and they are heavy favorites to win again this year, even with the departure of top slot receiver Wes Welker to Denver. You see, the Patriots still have Brady and the Bills have an undrafted rookie and an injured first-rounder in EJ Manuel.
Another insight on what to expect is the fact the Patriots are coached by future Hall of Famer Bill Belichick and the Bills have a rookie head coach in Doug Marrone. And they finished the preseason with a blowout loss to the Detroit Lions, 35 - 13.
Let’s go a little farther with this pre-game story. While the Patriots were winning division titles and three Super Bowls, the Bills have been big losers and haven’t made the playoffs since 1999. That playoff drought is the longest in NFL history and the franchise that Ralph Wilson built also has the longest streak of losing seasons, having not finished .500 or better since 2004.
Had enough? Well, of course the Buffalo fans are hoping that a new front office and a new coach will begin to turn the tide and miraculously transform the Bills into a competitive NFL team. Maybe in time that will happen, but fans shouldn’t expect any miracles on Sunday.
Perhaps the worst thing about the hapless Bills is the incredible fan support they’ve managed to keep despite all that losing. Fans must surely have been tested sitting through the final pre-season yawner with the Lions, especially since they had to pay full price for a ticket. Now that’s loyalty, for lack of a better, more appropriate, word. What a joke. The NFL needs to rethink its policy, but remember, it’s all about money in this league, and the Bills, while lousy on the field, have done very well at the box office.
Speaking of tickets, fat-cat developers, or let’s say well-connected insiders, can view the action in comfort from the taxpayer-funded Cuomo suite at the Ralph which will be managed by local business leaders at the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.
The sweet suite deal was a part of the state’s new lease agreement ($130 million) with the Bills and now the state has tapped the BNE to run who gets in, but Cuomo’s local development honchos (see Sam Hoyt) will have final say for who gets the free tickets.
The Cuomo camp says it’s all about building the Buffalo economy, and not a way to curry favor with big shots who want to see the game in a nice environment for free.
Maybe it would help the economy if the Bills had a winning team and that might help inspire new business development in a city that sorely needs some exciting activity to lure potential companies to brave the cold weather and relocate next to ice cold Lake Erie.
I’ll join for a moment with the many die-hard Bills fans, hoping for a miracle on Sunday, but the reality is that it looks like the Bills are again undermanned and unprepared for the tough road ahead. But hey, miracles do happen, right? Maybe it would be enough to get Father Baker anointed.
Let the fun begin, and from time to time we’ll peek in and give you, our readers, our perspective on how the road back is going. No matter how it goes, we’ll have plenty to write about, I’m sure.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
SEP 03, 2013