John Clayton wrote these words in his ESPN mailbag in response to a reader email on why the Patriots have been so dominant in the AFC East:
“It’s not the ownership. It’s not the GMs. It’s not bad luck. It’s the quarterback. The Patriots have Tom Brady. Miami, Buffalo and New York don’t. The situation is no different than what was going on in the AFC South when Peyton Manning was in the division. We’re seeing the same thing in Denver now that Manning is there. To win the AFC East, a team needs a quarterback who can match Brady’s skills. Making it tougher for the AFC East is that while Brady is doing his magic on offense, Bill Belichick is doing more magic with his schemes. Look how many quarterbacks the Dolphins have been through since Dan Marino. Until Brady retires, it’s going to be tough for teams in the AFC East to catch New England.”
I wholeheartedly agree and disagree with Mr. Clayton. It is the quarterback position that holds teams back and moves them forward. The Bills have not adequately filled that position since Jim Kelly was under center (although one could argue that Bledsoe did the job). I hope that EJ Manuel is that man to break the cycle.
In the end though, it IS the GMs fault, which in turn means the blame can be placed on ownership that hired the GM. One man does not make a team, but it is tough to argue with what Clayton wrote. The last 14 years speak for themselves in the win-loss column.
What do you think Buffalo? Is Clayton off base here?