I know many of you love to hate him, but Jerry Sullivan is easily my favorite Buffalo Bills columnist.
He’s a crafty writer and is almost always spot-on, even if it’s in a semi-cynical way.
You want to know why he’s seemingly negative all the time?
Well, the team he covers hasn’t made the playoffs in 12 seasons. I’m mad about that.
Anyway, his concise and accurate column that ran Tuesday morning in the Buffalo News on Buddy Nix delivering a strong message to the Bills locker room after a marvelous offseason, really got me thinking.
Everything that’s happened—from the Kyle Williams extension, to the Ryan Fitzpatrick extension, to the Stevie Johnson re-signing to the Mario Williams and Mark Anderson acquisitions and finally the extension of Fred Jackson—have legitimately made the 2012 season the most highly anticipated Bills’ season in a long, long time.
Yeah, I know.
That’s said every May, right?
“There’s always next year” is right up there with “you want another Blue?” as the most tired phrases used by Western New York sports fans.
And sure, there’s a natural excitement within just about every fanbase every offseason.
Each club has the same record—why wouldn’t there be?
I also get that in Buffalo, the town most thirsty to drink champagne after a playoff spot is clinched, this optimism may be even more apparent every spring and summer.
But the last three months have actually warranted the optimism and excitement we’re all feeling now.
Team flaws aren’t as many and aren’t as glaring.
The Bills, for the first time in what seems like forever, have made an overt attempt to field a team ready to win now.
They addressed the pass rush in a 6’6”, 290-pound way. The draft wasn’t a mess. They re-signed core players who have been productive in the past. C.J. Spiller enters the 2012 season after juking the “bust” label that was rapidly approaching him like a linebacker with a fine end to the 2011 campaign. Speed at the wide receiver position was addressed, although it remains to be seen if T.J. Graham can become a real threat.
The list goes on.
It’s really been an unprecedented few months based on typical Bills standards.
Say what you want about how you felt before the 2009 season that was sold to us by a gimmicky Terrell Owens’ signing.
The 2012 Bills are easily the most talented and well-rounded group of professional football players Buffalo’s had in eight to 10 years. On paper, they should be able to compete with the rest of the league.
Now, it’ll just be a matter of everything coming together, but who knows if it will.
That’s not the point.
For once, Bills fans truly have something to be excited about.
Even Jerry would agree with that.