Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott Reaching Out to Franchise Legends

Jan 13, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott (left) speaks during a press conference as general manager Doug Whaley looks on at AdPro Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott (left) speaks during a press conference as general manager Doug Whaley looks on at AdPro Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buffalo Bills’ head coach met with some players from the famous 90s teams. It has more meaning than you think.

The Buffalo Bills started Phase One of their off-season program on Monday. For head coach Sean McDermott, that included doing more than just talking in front of the roster.

On Tuesday night, McDermott dined with iconic Bills’ legends Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Cornelius Bennett, Steve Tasker and Daryl Talley. That’s the same set of players who helped Buffalo reach four straight Super Bowls from 1990-1993.

It’s an accomplished group of players to hear from, noting that four of them are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For a franchise that hasn’t reached the playoffs in nearly two decades, it’s a run that looks even more incredible in hindsight. According to Buffalo News reporter Tim Graham, McDermott is the first Buffalo Bills head coach to do something like this.

Jim Kelly even posted a shout-out on Instagram about the dinner and captioned it:

"Now that the news got out about dinner last night. The gathering was probably one the most joyful nights I’ve had in years with my former teammates. Coach Sean did a lot of listening. He didn’t have much of a choice. The memories kept smiles on all of our faces throughout the evening. It was a blessed night. Now I feel we have a blessed coach. To be a fly on the wall that evening. Priceless .. GO BILLS."

Proving how detail-oriented he is, McDermott even asked if he could take notes on his phone during the meeting. Tasker said the purpose of the meeting was to help him understand “why our team was different, and still is.”

Of course, now is the time to point out previous head coach Rex Ryan reached out to iconic Kelly and Thomas two years ago. Everyone sounded optimistic then too, and that ended in back-to-back unsuccessful seasons.

But it’s encouraging that the meeting was decidedly low-key. In fact, outside of Jim Kelly’s Instagram post, no cameras were there to film it. Number 12 only posted that after the story on The Buffalo News was written on Wednesday.

It’s definitely a nice gesture on the part of the head coach, but does it even signify anything for the fans or the team?

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Right now, it means nothing for this year’s Buffalo Bills. Their accomplishments, or lack thereof, won’t be affected by what this franchise accomplished twenty-five years ago. It sounds redundant to say, but there it is.

But the get-together does say a few things about the type of organization McDermott wants to run. More importantly, it contrasts well with Rex Ryan’s glory-hog organization that was a comedy of errors.

First, the meeting proves that McDermott is willing to reach out to the city. It also proves he wants to understand why those teams won and if they have any advice this year’s team can follow. Ryan did this as well, but always sought out the cameras to capture it.

Second, it gives us a glimpse into the kind of head coach McDermott wants to be. He’s someone who speaks about being methodical and following a process. What better way to develop a successful formula than talking to winners?

That shows that McDermott is willing to listen and potentially change his approach. Combine that with his desire to have versatile players (Micah Hyde, Patrick DiMarco) and you have a head coach that wants to create a system that fits people’s skill-sets. That happens after he gets feedback from players and coaches.

Doesn’t that sound like the opposite of Rex Ryan forcing his system down the team’s throat?

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It shows that Coach McDermott seems serious about bringing a winning culture back to Western New York and will reach out to the right people. It also bodes well that he wasn’t doing it for the attention. Contrast that with Rex’s appearance with Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and it looks a lot more sincere.

At worst, this is an attempt to win brownie points with the Bills faithful. But at best, it’s a serious attempt to pick the minds of the most winning group the city of Buffalo has ever known.

I could be all wrong, and this meeting could mean nothing at all. Like I’ve said in previous posts, winning the off-season with good PR moves doesn’t translate to making the playoffs. But hopefully this proves McDermott is more concerned with creating a successful football team after consulting with others.

That sounds a lot better than insisting your team is “fully pregnant”.

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What do YOU think of head coach Sean McDermott meeting with Buffalo Bills legends? Leave your comments in the section below!